Chuck's column: Kicking back at home as June comes to an end
I hate to start this edition of the View on a negative note. However, are you aware you’re likely reading this on the final weekend in June? Already? Makes me shudder. Something you don’t know is this week’s edition is coming to you from the kitchen of my sister’s home in Beaver Dam, Wis. My hometown. With no papers to grade, I’m quite content this evening.
It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday night. I’ve been here since Sunday. I’ll be returning to the metro by the weekend. The first four days have pretty much occurred while I was blinking. Never let it be said, however, that a Brooks didn’t make the most of a good thing. Those four days have been filled with laughter.Thomas Wolfe once coined the idea, “You can’t go home again.” On some level I agree, but on another, I fight that belief with all my might. Coming “home” is always filled with emotions. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not a bad thing. I always stay in my hometown with my sister and her husband. I have one brother in this town as well, and the other three brothers can be found in Portage, Hartland and Mad-ison. I’m the one who stra-yed the farthest from home. Mom and Dad have been gone for years now.
In any case, I generally see four of my five siblings at some point when I’m back. My sister and I, however, tend to see the world through similar glasses. Thus, I stay with her. I think part of it is she’s also the closest thing to Mother my four brothers and I have.I tend to make it back here five or six times a year. In the summer, I stay a week at a time. During the school year, it’s not that simple. I always run into people in the community who, to some degree, were a part of my growing up here. Sometimes, that’s fun. Other times, not so much.
Today, my sister and I drove around the area, and I took pictures of our lake and the home we grew up in as well as other landmarks in this city. The public library that is now the city’s museum. The parochial school I attended for eight years. The high school. The bank where Mom worked and the factory where Dad toiled.
I’m still Chuckie in this town to a lot of people. I hardly mind that. Actually, If I still strike them as a “Chuckie,” then, by all means! Call me that! Every once in awhile, I’ll see someone different I haven’t seen in years. That’s often fun. Visiting those years with an old friend can be a warm place to dwell for awhile.
Then there’s a point at which I realize that was then, but this is now, and it’s time to pack up and head back to Minnesota until the next visit. I always equate it with alumni returning to RHS discovering quickly RHS was their life once, but now, it feels different. Sometimes an unfortunate cold feeling. It is life as we know it. That’s the part Wolfe was talking about, I suspect.
Next summer, I return for my 40th class reunion. Definite therapy time!
Gotta go. The Cleavers next door have invited me over for s’mores. Later!