Monday, June 3, 2013


Saturday, I was at a birthday party for one of E's friends.  I started talking to the dad and after we discovered we had a mutual friend and we talked about what it was like to grow up in Asheville.  He remarked that he thought that would be a neat place to grow up (indeed)... and then said, "Do you still have family there?  Do you get to go home often?"


Um.... yes and no.

I don't have parents who still live there.  My brother and his family live in Tennessee.  My other closest family members are in South Carolina.


But I do go "home" often.  Recently, I've been heading home to take care of my Daddy's estate and Mom's accounts.  Every time that I'm home now, it feels so strange to be in the house in which I grew up... without any of the key players from that growing up period.

It still feels like home.  My car can get there on auto-pilot.  It smells familiar.  I still have a "routine" of restaurants and stores that I visit on a regular basis.

At the very same time, it doesn't feel like home.  I don't get to share laughs with my Daddy and don't get to catch up with my Mom.  I don't worry about how I will fit in seeing everyone while I'm home- a struggle that used to consume my mind on the drive from Chapel Hill to Asheville.  And don't even get me started on the realization that I've now lived away from Asheville longer than I ever lived there.

So regardless of not having my family of origin in Asheville, I have so much of my heritage there.  And it comes back to me in an instant...
... as I share a High Life with my oldest friends on their front porch.
... as I pass the Middle School and remember the butterflies in my stomach during those years of dances and first kisses and working through the mean girl years.
... as I stop at Food Lion and remember that I drove there on my first solo trip in my Buick.
... as I enter my childhood church and smell the hallways of space where my faith was shaped.
... as I see the High School and remember the feelings of confidence and true love and best friends and spirit week.
... as I drive the Parkway and remember summer days with a hacky sack and Steve Miller Band on the car radio.
... as I pass other childhood friends' homes and think of sleep overs and Doritos and breaking some rules but following most of them.
... as I catch up with friends who held me accountable during the breaking rule period.
... as I see Pizza Hutt and remember so many Friday nights spent feeling "grown up".
... as I laugh at the Indian on the Hill and all the memories there.
... as I stand on my Mom's deck and remember parties and laughter and dancing and belonging.

Of course, I realize that "home" is wherever I am with Dan and E.  They are my home- the city or the dwelling is insignificant.  Even still, when people ask me where I'm from, my answer is "I live in Winston-Salem now, but I'm originally from Asheville."  The mountains are what shaped me... and I've yet to give that up as my response.

Is it everything that you were dreaming of?


Rachel said...

Love it! So true. I love that you are nostalgic like me!

Dawn Garlow said...

Hey Fellow Asheville Girl,
I KNOW exactly what you be talking 'bout here!!! I KNOW!!! Asheville was, is , and always will be the place I call "home."... it's where I'm from. :)

That Indian... Harry's Cadillac!! A forever etched memory in all the Asheville kids' minds!!! Patton Avenue... cruiseville! Law have mercy!!

Loved this post and the remembering...