. . . "back East" as we say out here, and too concerned with rejuvenating the memory cells and updating the visions of the place, putting superhighways next to the old state routes, adjusting for the remodeled houses and the railroad tracks that had been torn up and replaced with blacktop bicycle paths, and realizing, with finality, that the universe of a very young child is merely a spot on the map and had always been, no matter how large it seemed.
And there were other moments, seeing old friends, experiencing the neighborhoods I used to roam around in as a young man. You can go home again, but of course the home is not the same and people you knew have gone away or died, and very few people want to welcome you into their houses just because you used to live there, and only passing by the open screened doorway in the dusk confirms that yes the kitchen is still where you remember it to be , and some of the signs over the old drugstore are still there, faded and referring to no company that exists any longer, and the old post office has become a duplex apartment. What remains almost the same is the ocean and the water and the sand and the wetlands, the marshes, and the beaches. The ravages of time happen over a longer period than half a century. What happens over fifty years is replacement and shabbiness and development.
So I welcome myself back to California and for the most part I am satisfied that I saw the people I wanted to see, Elsa and Phil, Sharon, Michael and Connie, Lida and Gideon and Elana, Susan and Larry, Suzanne and Jerry, Margaret and Roseann and Anna and Maria, Gayle and Harris, Susan and Steve and Jeremy and Benjamin, Charles, Harvey and Astrid and Grant and Martha, Dottie and Billy; and a good collection of their friends and their pets and their homes and their neighborhoods and the texture of the East Coast, of its radio programs and music and shorelines and green thick woods and forests and highways and ferries and lakes and rivers and ponds--though I had no idea that Walden Pond on the Friday before Memorial Day would be jammed with swimmers and cars, but Concord Bridge would be almost deserted. Who would have thunk it?
And so I will crank up this machine once again and get to work. Already I can feel my hackles rising at the news in the Los Angeles Times for Sunday, yesterday! More on that later.