Saturday, September 20, 2003

You Can Go Home Again

The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character
- Isabelle Eberhardt

I miss Denver. Part of this is because I miss the choices of big city life. I miss all the different kinds of restaurants. I miss being able to see five different movies in one weekend. I miss going to the grocery store and seeing more than one kind of lettuce in the produce section. I miss the Tattered Cover Bookstore- heck, I miss Barnes and Noble. I miss going into a library and knowing that no matter how many times I check out another new book the library will never run out of books that will interested me. I miss walking or riding my bike on the Highline canal. I miss the People's Fair, Cheesman Park, the King Soopers on 9th and Corona, Capitol Hill, and downtown

I miss the energy of Denver. I miss the trees and the parks. I miss the color green. I miss the mountains. I miss the way the early morning light colors the foothills pink and how that light reflecting off the windows of the homes up there make it look like a hand full of diamonds has been carelessly thrown across the hillsides. I miss the way the air is clear and crisp and how colors are brighter because of this. I am homesick.

I think this is because when I was in Denver last week, for the first time I was not haunted by the ghosts of my younger self. Every day I drove my niece to and from school. To and from the same school my brother, sisters and I attended. It is now called Morey Middle School and covers grades six through eight (ages 11-13). When I went there it was called Morey Junior High and the student body was made up of seventh though ninth graders.

I was a student at Morey for three years but I did not actually go there for that amount of time. By the time I reached junior high I was slowly dropping out of school and by the eight grade I was mostly not there. I figure during the three years I was a registered student at Morey (adding up the days I was physically there) I put in one year. Disappearing was easy. I never really belonged. By the time I reached Morey I had been to eleven different schools. Each new school left me feeling more and more disconnected from the whole school experience until finally I no longer was a part of it at all. Dropping out was easy but it made me feel ashamed and stupid when I got older.

But last week each time I pulled up to Morey to either drop or pick my niece up those feelings never came up. I was feeling nostalgic but that feeling was never tied to feelings of shame and remorse. I think I am learning to accept the past and the fact that I cannot change it.

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