Saturday, March 14, 2009

A love song about Meridian, ID

James Joyce couldn't get away from Dublin fast enough and then he spent his whole life writing about it. Something similar attracts me to my old home town. I left a couple of months after graduating high school and it took nearly twenty years to return. In the intervening years, Meridian and Idaho in general sort of haunted me. I felt like a child who wanted to reject his parents but who realizes that everything he is today is because of them. Finally returning didn't help assuage this aching sense of nostalgia I felt because the town had changed so much. Where there had once been a sleepy farm town, I now found a cookie-cutter version of the mall-filled cities you find everywhere in this country. Driving through the city was like looking at a series of double exposures where I couldn't help but see what used to be superimposed on what is. Now that I know it's gone forever, I feel even more attracted to the Meridian I grew up in.

1 comment:

Sarah Evans said...

Thoughtful post. When I finally returned to my hometown, my memory of it being a hellhole was only confirmed. I do have some good memories of the place, of course, but they really have to do with people and places that are long gone. So any nostalgia is, as you noted, for a place that no longer exists. Even if you went back to Meridian and found it looking much the same, it still wouldn't be the place you remember, because your notion of the place is tied so closely to the people you shared it with and the person you were at the time you were there.