But the dead and dying
In my little town
Neil Remington Abramson and I have fond memories of Saskatoon, where we grew up, living side by side. My mother never fully got over having to leave the city, and my own memories remain profoundly pleasant. Neil has described that particular time in Saskatoon as Camelot-like. Didn’t initially appreciate the analogy, but am inclined to agree, now understanding what it’s about. Have not been in Saskatoon since 1980, so maybe this is the “old country” sentiment. Things have certainly changed, while the memory of the old country remains unchanging.
Not all people have that hometown memory, or fantasy. Daryl wrote to me about his hometown, as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission, with preferred identification):
You were asking about my hometown. Well, to use metaphors: my home town was an unctuous priest, or a smarmy uncle. The one no one really liked. A know-it- all, smugly condescending. Always offering advice, and expecting it to be taken, because it was for your own good. Meanwhile, behind your back, he was molesting your sister.
My hometown was like a reverse vampire: giving life, and then sucking it out of you, because those who controlled it didn’t want you to live too much (or more than them).
That was my hometown. I haven’t been back in decades.
Some want to go back. At least to the memory of what one knew. Others never want to go back. How does this affect later life, when one has little fondness about where one spent one’s childhood and adolescence?