• 66°

Howard Coop | An important truth

Since my high school days, the words Thomas Wolfe wrote in 1940, “You can’t go home again,” have haunted me, and I have refused to accept them. I have always thought, “I can go home again! I know where home is, and I remember Hegira Ridge so well. Walking around that ridge every day to the old Hegira school imprinted the neighborhood upon my mind. I will never forget it!”

Sunday, June 26, 2016, will remain in my mind as a special day. My high school class reunion was Saturday, and I decided to spend the night, and Sunday morning go to Rose of Sharon, the church that meant so much to me during my childhood.

After breakfast at the Lodge at Dale Hollow State Park, I drove about two miles north on State Park Road and turned right on Hegira Road. Many years ago, when I lived on that road, our house was the first one.

That morning, when I approached the old house, the first thing I saw was a large sign that said, “Down Yonder Camp.” As I drove on around the road, the old houses I remembered were gone. Beautiful new homes were everywhere. Change made everything strange.

When I arrived at the church, it too, had changed. The old building I once knew had been gone for many years, and a beautiful new structure replaced it. But change was more profound. When I entered, there were only two people who I knew. Then, a third person entered who I had only met once. All others were total strangers.

During the service, I heard little the pastor said. Instead, memories flooded my mind, and I recalled the names of people long gone. I remembered an old song we often sang, “Precious memories … how they linger, … and the sacred past unfold.”

It was an unforgettable experience that beautiful Sunday morning, but it was a melancholy one for me.  It may never be repeated, but it was a poignant reminder of an important truth: “You can’t go home again.”