Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thomas Wolfe was wrong

Thanks to internets, you can go home again. Don't ask me why I would want to. I left Danbury in 1969 and never looked back. I don't have a clue why I felt this sudden compulsion to recapture my childhood memories. Nonetheless in the last two weeks, I've become a woman obsessed. I started reading the old hometown paper on line. I joined their forum. I've spent hours reading high school class sites.

My own class seems to have disappeared but the class of 68 appears to have formed a remarkable bond and I've been in nearly constant email contact with Marc Catone, who's been invaluable in helping me reconstruct my high school years. It's funny, we didn't really know each other then but we knew a lot of the same people and he already feels like an old friend. He has an impeccable memory and the more he prods mine, the more I remember on my own. Two weeks ago I couldn't remember the name of my best friend in tenth grade. Now, thanks to Marc and the vigorous posters on the forum, I'm remembering things from when I was ten years old.

I haven't been on a forum board since I started blogging 3 years ago, but this one is such a trip. The active posters all grew up in or around Danbury but don't live there anymore either. Many are like myself and haven't been back in decades. We all seem to have gravitated to the forum for the same reasons. Partly nostaglia, partly curiousity, partly remaining family ties and partly looking for a connection to our past. They've formed a little family of ex-pat locals there and they welcomed me in so warmly, I think I'll stay.

It's odd. I always thought I avoided confronting my youthful past because it was somewhat unhappy. Now that I'm embracing the memories, I'm discovering I had a pretty damn good childhood after all. But then as I've often said, (despite the bad stuff that has happened along the way), I've always been luckier than I deserved.


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