Sometimes You Can’t Find Things by ‘Going Back’

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place.
We stay there even though we go away.  And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.
We travel to ourselves when we go to a place and we have covered a stretch of our life, no matter how brief it may have been.”
Pascal Mercier
“Night Train in Lisbon”

I recently saw this ‘post’ on a military brats FaceBook group I belong to.

A couple years ago I had an opportunity to visit Tucson, AZ.  The second night I decided to stay out at Davis-Monthan AFB (D-M).  We lived on base at D-M in 1956 and I thought it would be fun to walk by our old house.

PH38a159When I got back that Sunday evening I set out for the housing area.  It wasn’t that long of a walk from the VOQ (Visiting Officer Quarters) where I was staying.  Our address was 2336 Cass Ave. and I had a nice map to follow.

I could feel the excitement building as I neared Cass Avenue.  I also noticed quite a bit of construction along the way – new homes going up.  Finally I came upon Cass Avenue, and turned toward our house.  I was about half way there when I saw “empty desert” surrounded by a tall chain-link fence.  Intuitively I knew – it was gone.  And is was.

I finally reached the place where our old house used to stand and stood outside the fence; I just stood there, staring into the dessert.  Numb.  The house was gone.  And I just stood there, staring into the desert.

I then looked behind me at the “Boneyard.”  This is where we (the United States) store obsolete aircraft.  As a kid I could walk across the street and play to my heart’s delight on those old planes.


Now, another fence.  (You can see the tails of aircraft in the Boneyard just behind me).

I stood at the fence for maybe 20 minutes, then turned and walked away.  I felt as if a part of my childhood had been ripped from me.  In “going back” I found nothing – and that fostered an ’emptiness’ that remains with me today.

So, on most days, I ignore it; I bury it – as I have so many other things in my life – and it doesn’t bother me.  Or so I think.  I don my “Happy Bob” suit and go about my day, and no one knows the difference.  Or so I think…damn.

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One Response to Sometimes You Can’t Find Things by ‘Going Back’

  1. mari kay says:

    I understand, but I also don’t……Houses are just buildings, a home is the people in it. With Google Earth I can see some of my old houses, even with street view (that is actually rather big brotherish lol) Some stay, some are gone, some have become high value civilian properties while some have deteriorated. But they are just the backdrops for moments in our lives, and the memories we made while there have nothing to do with the structures that may or may not remain years later. I am grateful for all the rich experiences and people I’ve met over the years. And I don’t feel any more deprived than my civilian contemporaries- just different. But differences make the world rich. (and to be honest, most of the time I feel my differences make me superior )
    My favorite song is In My Life- the Beatles

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