This moved me to tears. Thank you.
I live in Northern California, quite a distance from my childhood home in Portland.
A few years ago, I met my sister, who lives in Portland and we revisited our three Portland childhood homes. Our family had little money so they were simple small houses.
We moved from the first home when I was eight years old. The second house was a little larger and took me to 12 years of age. The last of the three took me through college. My folks moved to a fourth home when I was 26 and living in Cincinnati.
I really wanted to ask each of the three families living in these three houses if we could take a look around. I was uncomfortable bothering them, so we just looked at the house and yard. Years later I found that realtor websites had picture of every room in those houses when they were put up for sale over the past 20+ years. That was nice and brought back wonderful memories.
We had a loving family with few large problems. So the memories of those visits and website photos were sweet. I copied them and added them to my digital photo albums.
My first job after I graduated from college in Oregon was with Procter & Gamble and was quite unusual. I traveled for three and half years and had no home. I lived in 26 different cities, all over the US (Boston, NYC, Miami, Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Denver, Midland TX, Phoenix, SF, LA, Portland, Seattle, etc.). I lived in each of these places for 4-8 weeks.
It was great fun experiencing those cities. I traveled alone so that forced me to socialize if I wanted to have any fun. I was in my early twenties and it was quite an adventure. My work involved helping introduce new P&G consumer products nationally.
I had so many wonderful memories about those 3.5 years that I decided that I would revisit each of them over six different trips. Using old written reports that I would submit to P&G, I would try to find the places (hotels, motels and apartment buildings) that I stayed in. I was able to locate most but others were replaced or completely gone. Google Earth helped a lot in planning the trip.
Each of the trips lasted 2-5 days. I would fly in, have an Uber driver meet me and spend half a day visiting where I lived and some sites that I had visited. I could easily visit two cities a day and would fly to the next location late a night or early the next morning.
I made sure to talk to people that were at the front desk or business office in each building. They were very friendly and loved the idea of my trip even though they had to wonder at the motivation to visit places that I had first seen 1963-67. My six revisits took place 2017-18, over 50 years later.
Each of the staff or managers that I spent time with had great stories about the hotels' history since my visit. One in Boston was now the girls' dorm for Boston University.
In each city I did meet people in those early years. They were normally women I dated. But they were long gone and I had not maintained contact over the 50 years.
So I thank you for this posting. Thomas Wolfe wrote that "you can't go home again". I know what he means. But you can go home again as I did and remember those early times, so long ago, when I was a very different person. In my case, the memories were sweet and, in some cases, surprising and/or very unexpected.
They caused me to go back in old address books that I still have and contact friends that I last saw long ago. I was able to find a surprising number of men and women and had some much appreciated conversations.
This follows two efforts that I made to recapture early friendships. One involved 20 college fraternity brothers (and their current wives) from 1959-63. The result is that we now have banded together and have done a lot of philanthropic work with kids and early schooling in southern Mexico, south central LA and on the Oregon coast.
We now travel together within the US and all over the world. And none of us had retained close relationships with each other since college. We are quite close now over the past 20 years.
I also did the same with two men that I worked with 1963-67 at P&G. For the past seven years, we meet annually at one of their homes in the midwest and spend 3-4 days together. We have become quite close.
It's funny but I am closer to men (and women) in these two groups that any of my other friends. So I found that you can go home again. I hate to think of how much I would have missed had I not made the effort.