Still, after a massive fight I had with a friend last weekend (which has since been forgiven), followed by being sick all week (I am getting better), and then a former classmate posted pictures of my old home town.
"How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves. You can never go home again," spoke James Agee in his 1956 novel, "A Death in the Family." I have to be honest, I am not pleased when I see McLean. I only see McLean once every few years, and the changes seem to try and further erase my mother, which makes no logical sense at first. Unlike a lot of small towns in America which always seem to be frozen in time either through distance or the fact they are slowly dying, McLean is still a thriving upper-middle-class haven. It morphs and changes. The old town is erased, and the new generic structures cover the memories with diffusing lines and manicured lawns. I tried to see my childhood home through Goggle street view, but it doesn't go up my street. Instead, I looked at a corner that was my bus stop from kindergarten through 4th grade. One house had barely changed. Another looked about the same, but they changed some of the landscaping. But the house in front of our stop... looked like an entirely different home.
It wouldn't surprise me if they had knocked down the 2-story suburban chunk that used to be on that property and put in the new, 2-columned mansion that sits there now. Maybe they just redid the entire front to look slightly more modern, and less 50s rambler. I remember that corner had a GIGANTIC willow tree that covered half the plot. It rose 3-4 stories into the air and came down like a sheet of beaded curtains. The firework of foliage was so dense, grass had trouble growing in the shade, and their lawn was always mix of scrub and willow leaf litter. The long, rope-like branches dropped on the house in places, and us kids would swing from the new growth over the sidewalk where our bus stopped for us until we tore off almost anything within hand's reach. It took a summer to regrow.
There was a stop sign there where Pat Carlton (who lived across the street) drew funny faces. Those faces were still there years after we graduated high school; their faded cartoon eyes the only thing still visible after a decade and a half of weather. I bet that stop sign has been replaced. The tree is gone, which disoriented me for a bit. As you drove down Rupert toward the north, when you crossed South Ridge, the giant dark green pompom dominated the intersection like a mountain of the Old South. Now it's just a flat lawn with a small landscape accent of mulch surrounded by rocks. A few unobtrusive pine trees dare to poke out from the memories, obscuring the lines of a giant root system that probably took a week to fully remove. Maybe the willow tree died. Or maybe the owners didn't want to be in the shade anymore. Or wanted a lawn that didn't resemble the leaf litter of a bamboo forest.
I used Street view again to go down the main drag of Chain Bridge road. Much had changed. There was a lot of abandoned places I didn't expect.
Anyway, it makes me sad.