I just spent the last two days up at Dartmouth College. When I was last in Hanover, it was the summer of 2001 and I was there as a master teacher for the Summer Enrichment At Dartmouth program. What struck me was how much development had happened. I felt that the cute small town I lived in and around for ten years had changed for the worse and I was sad at what had been lost.
Strangely enough, on this trip I felt the exact opposite. Maybe the four years I lived in the Washington, DC area have changed my perceptions. Maybe I’ve finally been away from Dartmouth long enough for the nostalgia to take root. On this trip, it was once again the cute small town I remembered. Ok, it was somewhat more built up than before, but on the whole, it felt familiar and a part of me felt like I was coming home.
Unfortunately, I did not make it into Phi Tau, my coed fraternity. The house I lived in was torn down a few years back, since I last visited, and I hoped to visit the new house and check it out. But I was too busy with the consulting work I was up there doing and I only had time to quickly drive by it. I’ll make it there on my next trip.
Being up there again brought up a lot of old memories, many of which were long forgotten. It was nice to revisit my past but I have to admit that my reaction to many of those memories were one of relief that they were memories and not current reality.
No, you can’t go home again, but if you stay away long enough, you can visit without the baggage. And that’s even better.
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