I love L..A. I go back to visit every year or two and it feels like home every time. I’m just back from a 5 day trip that included:
~dinner out at a fine French restaurant in Pacific Palisades
~a raucous football party between arch rivals USC and UCLA
~a book club party revolving around Sorority Sisters, with my sorority sisters
~a day long jaunt around the old haunts, the places where I used to live and work
I had no idea where I was half the time. Who knew you could forget so much? I couldn’t remember which freeway to take, and then when I stumbled upon it, I couldn’t remember which exit, so I just picked one that seemed familiar. Then I saw a street name that seemed very familiar and between the two of us, Big D was riding shotgun, we kinda sorta remembered that our first apartment had been on that street. We cruised, rubber-necking, and couldn’t recognize our old apartment building. I think they tore it down and built townhouses. There were a lot of townhouses on that street, and there used to be none at all.
Then I headed North, except Big D told me I was heading South. I actually wanted to go West. Many U-turns later and I was heading in the right direction. We drove by countless Target stores where no Targets had been before. I’m not overstating when I say that there was either a Target or a Starbucks on every other block. I think at one point I was near the old high school where I used to teach, but I couldn’t swear to it. I never did find it. I did find a Target (not hard) and used the bathroom. Thanks, Target!
I did find our old house, the house where my kids were born. It’s ruined. It’s a heap, a prison yard, a bleak landscape of bleakness. It used to be adorable. It sold the day it went on the market; it was that cute.
We also found my parent’s house, the one where we were married. When I took a picture of it, the owner popped open that front door so fast . . . after assuring him that I wasn’t casing the joint for a midnight burglary, we ended up talking in the driveway for an hour. Turns out, he’s the same guy who bought the house from my parents! That was fun.
I had no trouble at all finding my old house, the one where I was a little kid. I took pictures of that one as well, and no one seemed to mind. I even found my old elementary school! Big D was impressed at how far I’d had to walk, and in city traffic, too. I was a stalwart child. (Of course, my mom never made me walk in the rain. Stalwart girls have their limits.)
It was a fun day of exploring, of realizing that I’ve forgotten things I thought I knew, forgotten details that used to be such a part of my life that I’d never have expected to have to work to remember them, and a day to acknowledge that there’s no going back, that home doesn’t stay the same. Sometimes the things you remember are all you have and what you forgot was something you were okay with letting go.