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Can you go home again?

SCV Voices (Echoes)

Posted: June 2, 2008 7:27 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Is the old adage "you can never go home again" actually true?

Nostalgia has a way of sneaking up on us at times, but recently, it knocked me over. I was compelled to do more than just reminisce about the "good old days."

Feeling a strong yearning to visit my childhood home in the Santa Clarita Valley, I packed up the kids and husband and headed west.

Now my husband has his need for annual road trips, so he was not too inconvenienced. However, this trek consisted of crossing three states.

(I won't even get into gas prices! That's another story.) Three small children, three large states, not much planning involved.

I just felt the need to listen to my heart - that yearning I was telling you about.

Street where you grew up
Arriving in the Santa Clarita Valley became a challenge when it was immediately evident there has been some changes.

There has been some growth in the 30 years since we moved away.

Miraculously, there were still enough landmarks to find my way around.

Like many a journey, one road leads to another and before long, you find what you are looking for.
There is something magical about revisiting the street where you grew up.

The houses have changed colors, the landscaping is different, most of the neighbors have come and gone.

Fortunately, not all of them. A dear family friend, Jesse, whom I had not seen in years, was kind enough to ride along on Memory Lane.

She encouraged me to knock on the door of a former neighbor - something I would have never done on my own.

"Do you remember me?" Hearing someone say they do and recount stories about you is a treasure. Mrs. Stewart remembered how I dressed up the neighbor's dog (we did not have a dog) and put poor Snoopy in my baby carriage.

Snoopy and I would walk up and down that street until the neighbors got home. They moved away before we did. I wonder why?

Jesse remembered stories about my brothers and sister, too. We spent the rest of the day traveling to places that made childhood memorable.

The Bunny Luv Carrots farm is no longer there but the baseball fields are.

We lived at those fields. I still have the scars to keep those memories alive. We were there day and night. My brothers played baseball, my dad coached, my sister cheered, my mom worked in the canteen, and I was everywhere, allowed to play and get as dirty as I could.

It did not matter how dirty any of us got - my dad would stop the truck under the water tower and all of us kids would get soaked. (You could sit in the back of the truck in those days). We loved it.

We stopped at Santa Clarita Park. Watching my children play in the same park where I did was pure joy (until my youngest son started to throw sand).

The robot slide was still there. Due to safety regulations, you are no longer allowed to play on it. But, thankfully to those with the good sense to preserve his significance, he is still there. He is just gated off now. I was still happy to see him. He will always be Clyde the Slide to me.

One memory I wanted to recreate with my children was eating ice cream at Thrifty. Of course, Thrifty is now a Rite-Aid, but they still have the ice cream counter in the same spot. Even though they were out of my favorite - chocolate chip - it still tasted sweet.

My children sat on the same ledge outside where my brothers, sister and I did, eating and/or dripping ice cream all over the place.

Home in many ways might just be a memory, but it is a good one. I can go home again, even if the only way to visit is to close my eyes and remember.

Thanks to those who give us the courage to knock on doors, thanks to those who answer. Thanks to those who remember what we never knew we forgot. And a special thanks to those who turned a road trip into a journey.

Debra Jones-Mazotti is now a resident of Arvada, Colo. Her column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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