I spent the time I had in SoCal when I wasn’t going somewhere or needed to be somplace at x particular time as much as I could wandering around my old home town. It’s beautiful, but not the place I left. It’s like a dream of the place I left, because it’s “off.” The buildings are basically right, but not, the whole place just feels weird, it’s not my stomping grounds any more. I wouldn’t want to live there, but I do miss the feeling like I belonged that I had when I lived there.
Except I really didn’t feel that way. I didn’t fit the culture. But the place was mine and that’s what I was trying to recapture when I could on my trip; and I couldn’t. I didn’t want to “go home” as much as I wanted to see/feel/smell the place that had been mine even if it had never been “home.” When you don’t really connect with the culture or your family you attach to something. In my case it was the place. The view of the water, the smell of the beach, the eucalyptus trees weeping on the drive, etc. The views were still there, the smell was the same, the trees had contracted something and were all removed, and what I had noticed the last time was still true: the place has been “Disneyfied.” That it is polished, and prettified and not a real town any more. The local shopping center small market became a deli and cafe. The drug store is gone, the liquor store is gone, almost everything is gone, except the bank, investment firms and real estate offices. The on again off again restaurant is in operation again as a chi-chi French place. See? No one actually lives in that place. It’s an investment. You go OUT to dinner there.
Same place, when I was a very small kid, still had the counter in the drug store. Jack cooked the best hamburgers around. When the drug store finally took out the counter, Jack moved around the corner into the Bakery and still served the best hamburgers around, at Irene’s Bakery. Next to the bakery, by the time I was in high school was a real estate office,but before that, it had been the kids’ section and art section of the local bookstore. By highschool, that bookstore had folded, but another had taken up across the center. There was a “general” store that sold china and party linen and small kids’ toys and glassware. It’s a flower shop/bakery now, very chi chi.
I suppose you could still live in the place, but almost everything I could see was, “To be here, you need a lot of money! Let us help you spend it or invest it for you!” There was ONE gift shop and a flower stand; that’s it. Made me sad, no ballet school, no doctors, no advertising agencies, no drug store, no family cafes, no real market. Between that, the cost, and the crowding, even if I could afford it; I wouldn’t live there. Yeah, if I could afford it, I’d buy my Dad’s old house and stay there a week or two a year maybe. There were a few other houses I dearly loved I might do the same if I got the chance. But really live there? No.
Going home again wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to see home, to be in my home town again. That isn’t there either. As to the other part? Emotionally? I didn’t fit as a kid; I sure wouldn’t fit now!