The title is the title of a book written by Thomas Wolfe. This book was not published until after Wolfe’s passing in 1940. I have read parts of the book, and have concluded that the author wrote of his feelings of anguish. He was a German ex-patriot in America during the early 1900’s and he agonized over how the Nazi movement changed his family, friends, and all German people. I don’t know that he ever intended for the book to be published. He got the idea of the title from journalist Ella Winter.
It is the title, and not so much the book, that has entered the American psyche. Now, the title essentially means that you cannot return to your childhood. Not everyone wants to do that, but those of us who were fortunate to have a loving family and a beloved childhood miss it especially when our adult life is unhappy and when the circumstances of life has moved us geographically far from our childhood home. It is part of growing up for all of us, to realize that when we leave home to make our own way, we leave the close contact of the family that bore and raised us. With modern advances in communication and transportation, the physical separation is easier to endure, but we still cannot stop being an adult and return to being a pampered child again.
Many parents take solace by repeating the love that they experienced as they bless their own children with love, creating the new bonds in the succeeding generation. Still, even for them, it hurts to see parents age and pass on and when the family home is sold to someone else. We are compelled to see our home as where we are, not where we grew up. But, take some comfort, for the memories, the stories, and the photographs remain, and you can relive your joy of home once more by sharing them with the generation that follows you. That is the way it must work. We are all part of nature, and the natural world is reproductive. When we stop producing, our lives turn toward an eventual passing. It is sad, but it is logical and necessary.
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, make a home for yourself and for those who depend on you. Love them. Make your home a welcome place for friends and those who will become your friend. You can’t go home again, but you can be a good person, someone who embodies the light and happiness of a home where everyone wants to be.