A MinD in MoTown


They say “you can always go home,” but what if you don’t know where that is?
May 5, 2009, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Just whatever, Scrantonia, Such a quandry

Does there come a point where “home” is no longer the place you grew up?

I’ve always considered Scranton my “home.” It’s not just my hometown, but it’s where nearly my entire family is, where I spent the vast majority of my life and where I envisioned myself visiting every year, mulitple times perhaps, for as long as I lived.

That small corner of Pennsylvania is the place where I hold more memories than I could list, from my first kiss to my first car, my first job and my first love, the bestest of friends and the worst of them at the same time. I remain defensive of that place – i.e. The Office and one SNL skit in particular (::coughcoughJoeBidencoughcough::) – and yet proud of its accomplishments, regularly reading the news that streams from “The Electric City.”

And yet, the last few weeks have made me realize the detachment that truly exists.

Without spilling paragraphs of babble onto the page, in a nutshell, my parents are moving to Mooresville, NC. Yep, my mom and step-dad (I consider them my “parents” despite my dad and step-mom) will soon be relocating their lives to the place I settled into two years ago this month.

And with that move, I foresee fewer visits to Scranton. I can already sense less of an urgency to travel the 500 miles to see those familiar faces and sites, which is unfortunate because there is truly so much I love about that place. Yet part of me knows – not just “feels,” but undoubtedly knows – that very few of those people, sans my family (so I hope), will ever make the effort to venture to NC for me. It’s sad, but true, and as a result, I can’t help but think to myself, “why should I bother making the effort for them if they wouldn’t do the same for me?”

Maybe I’m being selfish. Perhaps a little juvenile as well. But that’s sincerely how I feel about the situation. I digress…

My mom is my best friend, hands down, and with her here in addition to my step-dad and possibly my brother in another year, my reasons for traveling north diminish. If they weren’t heading to Scranton for Christmas, would I go without them? Doubtful. Would I ever drive nine-hours for a holiday if my closest family was in my own backyard? Unlikely. And with all of those thoughts, I sense a strong disconnect to that “home” and an eagerness to share this new one with my family.

Is that strange? Is this temporary? Is my stance entirely skewed toward selfishness (especially considering the majority of my family will still be in Scranton)? Or is this all a natural, yet exceptionally unfamiliar, part of venturing away from the nest, creating a new home and growing up?

Someone, somewhere coined the phrase “home is where the heart is.” Is it possible that my heart is with my mom and home will forever be wherever she is? ‘Cause right now, that seems the most fathomable deduction.

Can anyone out there explain this emotional progression to me, because clearly I’m one confused 20-something.

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14 Comments so far
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Sounds pretty normal to me. My family still lives in my hometown, and yet it feels a little bit less like home to me every time I go back. It’s hard to call a place home when you’re only there twice a year. I go there to see my family, so if they weren’t there it would feel even less like home.

Since I moved away to college years ago, Scranton’s never felt as normal to me as it had. Always a bit strained and awkward, so I thought. I’m glad someone else gets it and understands. Thanks.

Comment by Ashley

I have this elaborate metaphor, and I was gonna drop it here, but I’m gonna blog about it instead!

I think most people have many, many different homes – places where your comfortable with certain ways of being and seeing.

Good point. And probably true.

Comment by [F]oxymoron

They have a Krispy Kreme that I went to once.

In Scranton? Well, NC – specifically Winston-Salem an hour north of me – is home to Krispy Kreme. How about them apples?

Comment by rs27

Sounds normal, people are different. I always feel my city now is my home, but that’s because I don’t know any better. I never stay elsewhere beside for travels. Sigh.

You seem very happy where you are though. Me? I always yearned to leave.

Comment by andhari

Home for me was never home when growing up. Home was any place but home. For me, it was an easy transition. That being said, I am jealous that you had a place to call home growing up.

Aww. I’m sorry that that was the case hun. =( Not sure what else to say…

Comment by phampants

You’re not being selfish at all. I feel the same way about some of my fam- like, why should I bother if they dont.

so I usually dont.

I’m afraid that’s what will happen to me. They won’t try, so I won’t, and then I’ll feel guilty because I never see them. Damn double-edged sword.

Comment by Matt

I’m feeling confused about this at the moment too. Although I live here in Spain…’home’ is my family home still…I can’t shake it.

That’s how I always felt, ’til my parents decided to move here. Now I feel like “home” is moving, too. It’s so bizarre.

Comment by pinkjellybaby

Home is where my mom is. 🙂 Definitely. I don’t see her moving to Chicago any time soon… which is okay.. she’s not far away..

But I did sort of feel the same way about efforts being made when I moved out for college. I told some of my HS friends that I probably wouldn’t see them much after graduation and they got offended. I knew that they wouldn’t ever take the 2-2 1/2 hour drive north to see me. One did, which was a shock, but yeah… The only time I’d see them was when I’d go home to visit my mom. They did however drive the same distance south to see another friend… And you know, I’m perfectly fine with the fact that I don’t talk to my HS friends anymore. (wow that was ranty-rambly..)

Ranting is perfectly acceptable here, for sure. And that’s how I felt. One friend in particular would give me excuses why she couldn’t visit, but would drive PAST MY COLLEGE two hours away to see another friend four hours away. Lame.

I’ve had one really good friend from Scranton (Pat from Engineering My Life) come to visit, and that’s it. Two of my high school bests and I are meeting up for vacation this summer at a driveable distance for all – Virginia Beach – so I know they’d make the effort, but who knows about anyone else. And it’s aggravating, to say the least.

Comment by rini

As a 20something who lives with his dad, I can tell you he and the rest of my family is a large part of what makes the house itself and the town into my home.

Perhaps having not yet moved out on my own, I haven’t experienced this feeling just yet…but I’m actually dying to get away from “home” to be on my own.

That’s exactly why I left home and Scranton. If I graduated college and went back to living with my brother and parents, I don’t think I would have accomplished anything. Even my mom would say I’ve personally grown a lot by living on my own, being financially responsible for myself, etc. and I am glad I left the nest. It was nice, however, having that place to return to.

Comment by omegaradium

::jaw drops::
I’m sitting here, wanting to type but speechless. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that you’ll have the parental units around. What’s going on with your brother? Are they selling the house? What about your grandparents, what did they say? I haven’t met up with you in over three years and now I’m wondering if I ever will :-p

Home is wherever you make it. Who says you can’t have multiple homes? For instance when you were at State College, you lived there and that was home but always had Scranton as home also. Unlike you, when I did move I got homesick and lasted three months but you know the aide story to that. Your new home is where you are at now, but no matter how much Scranton changes, you will always have the memories of 20 years here and it will be home to you as well. Even if you rarely or don’t ever come back, you know the city and have experienced the good and bad here. Stop looking at home as one place, you are forever tied to places such as Scranton, State College, and NC. They will always be your homes.

Maybe it’s time for me to leave this fruit stand again.

Let’s see if I can sum this up in a nutshell…

Grandparents are less than thrilled. You know my grandmother and she’s kind of like, “well, I guess we’ll have nobody here to help us now.” Etc. We’ll see what happens there. As for the brother, he’s likely waiting until next summer to move. His girlfriend won’t graduate from college until May 2010, so he won’t leave her, plus he passed the electrical union’s exam and had an interview. He’ll find out this summer if he’s been elected to an apprenticeship (that can’t be spelled correctly) or not. That’ll determine stuff for him.

My mom is staying for a while – Grandpa has cancer, so at the least until his treatments are over at the end of June – and then moving down when she gets a job. Brian will stay in the house, paying all the bills on it except mortgage, which my parents will retain. Once next summer comes, he’ll have the option to buy the house or leave so it can be put up for sale.

That’s the easiest way to sum it all up. Complicated, I know.

Comment by Jonathan

Maybe we can have multiple “homes”.

True. Did you feel as though California and “home” were your homes?

Comment by hautepocket

while you may not visit as much i’m confidant that you will still always consider scranton your HOME. whether you mom lives there or not.

and less visits will make the ones you do make that much more special

That is true. I’m always more grateful and excited to be back in Scranton when it’s been several months.

Comment by alexa - cleveland's a plum

Damn, lol I got all excited because you made this long post about ‘home’ and I had just sent you a picture of your home street. I thought it was a huge coincidence and pretty awesome. Then I realized that I sent that picture yesterday, and you posted this the day before. So you would assume I sent the picture because I read this, truth is I just read it now, and merely sent that picture on a rare chance. Pretty cool huh?

And don’t worry about people visiting you, I’m sure all of your important friends will make it down there =P.

I figured it was just a coincidence, as you practically announced that you were behind on blog-reading, ha. But I really loved that you sent it. No matter where “home” ends up being, Scranton will still put a smile on my face, without a doubt. And you’re right, the most important friends will visit at some point, or so I hope.

Comment by Patrick

I think what you’re going through is completely normal. I’ve often wondered the same thing, especially as I’ve grown up and somewhat apart from my family even though I’m still very close with my mother and sister. My childhood home is no longer home in my heart, and that makes me sad.

But maybe this move from your parents will make the time you spend in Scranton even more special?

Others have said that, too, and it’s probably true that the little bit of time I end up there will be way more amazing than simply going to see my family. Every time I have visited, I’ve felt like my friends and distant family end up on the backburner as I spend the majority of time with my mom and close family. With them here – or some of them anyway – I’ll get to see everyone else when I’m in Scranton. I don’t think I realized that ’til this second, but it’s definitely a good thing.

Comment by E.P.




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