Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

August 15, 2013

Gary's World: Magical history tour an epic failure

CROSSVILLE — On a recent, brief trip back to my hometown in Northwest Indiana, I was amazed at how much had changed.

My son and wife accompanied me and I told them I was going to give him the family heritage tour of Northwest Indiana.

Such a tour consisted of taking him past many of the memorable places and landmarks of the town and the Calumet Region. The tour was of the places that had the biggest impact on my life and contributed to the development of my being.

It was what I called a “Magical History Tour” or “Your personal heritage tour.”

Although the names of the tour sounded grand, meaningful and historical, I must admit, the tour was pretty much an epic failure.

Most of the places we drove past seemed so small now, they were buried behind trees that have now become so large they cover the streets. The traffic was a nightmare to navigate through.

The first stop was my childhood home.

As we drove down the street, I was amazed at how large the maple trees had become. The trees that were once so small I could fit both my hands around their trunks have become so tall and cumbersome the branches on each side of the street touch each other in the middle, overhead, almost forming a tunnel.

The neighborhood in which I covered frequently on my Schwinn Stingray seemed so much smaller to me. In fact, it had changed so much I nearly drove past my old childhood home.

I took him past my old elementary school, middle school and high school. The excitement for him was not much of the thrill I anticipated.

And then again, it wasn’t for me, either.

It was disappointing at best.

I took him past the first apartment my wife and I shared and Purdue University Calumet, where I learned about writing for newspapers. I drove through neighborhoods that were on my first “beat” of the first newspaper job I had.

All of it seemed as lackluster as seeing a pile of leaves being blown around, or as mundane as watching someone take their garbage out to the curb.

Normal stuff.

I will admit it was interesting to see Jean Shepherd’s childhood home on Cleveland St. in Hammond, IN. Shepherd is author of A Christmas Story.

It was also nice to go to the city — downtown Chicago — and see the buildings and wonderful architecture once again. And it was wonderful to once again eat a deep dish pizza at Gino’s East — my all time favorite pizza place.

Another highlight of the trip was taking my son to his first Chicago Cub’s game at Wrigley Field. He is a fourth generation Cub fan and going to Wrigley Field was a great experience for him.

It reminded me of all the times my father used to take me to Cub games in my childhood and teens. It was a great day and yes — the Cubs lost — blew the game in the 7th inning.

However, we still had a great time together and shared an experience we both surely won’t forget.

Which brings me to my point, Thomas Wolfe may have written the book and the famous expression, “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

And I guess you really can’t.

The trip made me realize you can go there, but everything may be different. You can’t experience or relive the same feelings, just by going to visit a building, driving in the traffic on the Dan Ryan Expressway, or driving past your childhood home.

What matters and what makes the difference is sharing your experience or event with a friend, family member and someone you love. Those experiences, no matter how great or small, are what make lasting memories.

It’s the people, relationships, love and friendships that create a home. The experiences in and around your home with loved ones then become memories that can last a lifetime.

• • •

Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014