Friday, June 02, 2006


There's an echo in the wind.
Makes me wonder where I've been.
All the years I've left behind
Faded pictures in my mind. -
by Elefante from the song Young & Innocent on the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack

I grew up in a small town north of the Adirondacks-- All told I spent over 19 years of my life there (if you add up the few months I lived at home after college before striking out on my own to the 18 years and handful of months I spent growing up there), but oddly enough-- other than missing the scenery and the proximity to Canada-- I've never truly felt homesick for that town. I was more than happy to escape-- a high school friend of mine and I once had a discussion about our town and he said something to the effect of, "this town just sucks the ambition out of people." And I think, to some extent, he was right.

I liked my college town (Albion, MI), it had a similar small town feel to the town in which I grew up, but it wasn't near as remote-- Detroit was only about 2 hours away, Chicago was just over 3 hours in the opposite direction. But-- much like with my hometown, I've never really felt "homesick" for Albion.

Due to my inability to get a summer job in my hometown in 1996-- in both 1997 and 1998 I opted to summer in Sandusky, OH at Cedar Point amusement park. I had a great time, that place really got under my skin, so much so that I went back for 2 more summers after I graduated college (the summers of 2000 and 2001). Even after I left Sandusky, I initially only moved about 40 miles east to Elyria (just outside Cleveland) so I was still close enough to drive and visit old friends and old haunts. After less than a year in Elyria I up and moved to Chicago... and other than a move from the city to the 'burbs I've been here ever since.

There are times when I get incredibly homesick for Sandusky. Despite the brevity of my time there, I felt more at home there than just about anywhere else I've ever lived (although when I lived in Chicago, before moving out to the 'burbs-- I felt quite at home there too). I recently found out that "my old radio station" (it's not really "mine" but I think you get my drift) now broadcasts live on the web (Mix 102.7 WCPZ). And oddly enough, just the other day I stumbled upon a T-shirt I'd won from that radio station in an on-air contest (It was a "Guess the Grammies" contest-- I tied for 2nd by correctly guessing 4 out of 8, the winner had correctly guessed 5 out of 8).

So now at work, I sometimes "tune-in" just to make myself fell more at "home." And I actually look forward to the ads more than the music because I hear mentions of businesses I used to frequent, I hear DJ voices that were once all too familiar to me and mentions of places that were once quite familiar to me.

Maybe I idealize Sandusky-- When I lived there I was 20, 21, 23, and 24. That's quite a transitional period in life-- that shift from adolescence into adulthood. Legally and responsibility wise I was an adult-- but inside-- emotionally, mentally, physically I was still making that shift. So maybe it's that I happened to "mature" in a very fun place so I can't help but be homesick for it-- and maybe it's not that I'm homesick for the place so much as the place AND the time-- the entire setting, if you will.

I remember, when my 25th birthday was approaching, I was dreading it-- 24 just seemed more youthful to me. 25 seemed like a threshold to be crossed. As if, magically at age 25 any spark of youth I still had in me would be suddenly expunged and not only would I be an adult-- not just legally-- but COMPLETELY. I didn't want that to happen. And maybe that's also part of the reason I hold on so tightly to my memories of my time spent in Sandusky.

And there's the other factor-- the big "L"-- before I met my wife, I'd fallen in love twice before and each time I'd been living in Sandusky. While those relationships didn't work out, I don't harbor any ill will towards either of the lasses, and I look back on my times spent with them quite fondly. They were the right people for me to be with at those particular points in my life-- and when life presented us with change we just took different forks in the road taking our lives in very different directions. Like the theme from St. Elmo's Fire said-- "We had it all, for just a moment."

But even as much as I'm enjoying the present, there are times where I'd like to do nothing more than...

Let's shut our eyes and pretend
And maybe once again
We can be young and innocent


The Phoenix said...

I'm the kind to dwell on yesterday a lot. Sometimes, it even keeps me up at night and I begin to relive stuff. Some good some bad.

The good makes me smile, though.

dragonflyfilly said...

yeah, i'm trying to imagine what it would be like to be young and innocent again....

SOMETIMES...just ever so infintesomely (sp??) briefly, i do catch a teeny tiny, microspic glimse...but it fades ever so quickly...perhaps we are not meant to go there for too long??? hmmmm...

dragonflyfilly said...

oh, i got side tracked,...i came here to see if i could get an explanation of your funny photo...looks like you are all "got up" to rob a bank or something????

Snooze said...

Very cool how Sandusky ended up having a special place in your life. I also very much admire the fact that you don't feel the need to be negative about past loves. So many people do.

Perplexio said...

Phoenix: One of my blogfriends over on my livejournal perpetually accuses me of being over-nostalgic and/or stuck in the past. He's right, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.

dragonflyfilly: The "young" part is much easier to hold onto than the "innocent" part-- I don't know that it's possible to ever get back the youthful innocence/idealism.

As for my new profile pic, I was just hamming it up-- joking around with my old digital camera. At the time that pic was taken I was still in Ohio and my then girlfriend/now wife was in Chicago. I'd send her silly pictures of me from time to time to brighten her day.

snooze: There's no reason to harbor ill will towards either of those past loves. They were an important part of my life even if it was for an ever so brief moment in time. I had some good times with them and I'd rather look back on the good times fondly than reflect on the fact that each of them did a bit of a number on me emotionally. The good memories outnumber and have thus far outlasted the bad.

Susan as herself said...

You are right about does sort of make you feel frozen and stuck after a while. That's why I went several hours away to college and then moved away also. I never was really homesick for that town either---nostalgic at times cuz of childhood, but never homesick.

ink said...

"Home is where the heart is," so the saying goes. It sounds like you had some wonderful and memorable life experiences in Sandusky and that a part of your heart will always live there.

I envy you that feeling (not in an evil "I want you dead" way or anything, though!), since I've never lived in a place where I've felt that much at home - and I've always longed to be a part of a community.

It's great that you have that place to look back to, and that you can get back there when you feel like it with the help of a little electronic magic.