Stepping Back in Time

Deep breath!

Today I'm not here.

Instead I'm visiting a small community north of Los Angeles.  It's a community nestled in the foothills near the Angeles National Forest.

I'm stepping back in time to visit the place where I grew up.

In reality, it's only about seventy miles from where I live now.  

In L.A. drive time that means an hour and a half … or much, much, longer.

In my mind, it could not be further away.

For many of you, a day-trip like this would be no big deal.

I haven't been back to visit the home I grew up in for over twenty years.

There are reasons I haven't been back to visit.

My body tenses at the thought of returning and my stomach clenches in knots.

For me, this is a Very.Big.Deal.

It is something I've been saying I would do, but putting off, for several years.

Logically, I know there are many good memories left behind.

But there are painful ones also … very painful ones.

Why is it the painful memories always supercede the positive ones?

I left for college when I was 17, and I never came back.

Oh, I came back to my family (they moved), but I never came back to the place.

I've never gone to any of my high school reunions.

I, intentionally, never listed my high school on Facebook so there would be no chance of anyone from my past finding me.

I don't want to be found.

I've worked very hard not to be reminded of the past.

I've stayed in touch with exactly *one* person I knew in high school.

I left, and I made a new life.

No regrets, no looking back ….

Except, today, this is something I know I need to do.

I'm not sure why, but I know I need to go back ….

I'm scared …

In fact, I'm terrified.

Have you ever faced down painful memories from your past?

© Twenty Four At Heart

17 Responses to “Stepping Back in Time”

  1. Jack

    I have been face to face with more than a few of them. It hasn’t always been easy, but has been cathartic.

  2. Cate

    This is so similar to my story, it is weird -right down to leaving for college when I was 17, then my family moving, so I never returned to where I originally grew up. Like you, I’ve never been to a highschool reunion, and have kept very loose contact with only one person from that time…….

  3. Michelle

    Yes I have. I hope you find release today, even if you don’t know why.

  4. Kristan

    I haven’t *really* done this… only *mentally* returned to face certain parts of my past, and that was hard enough. Good luck!

  5. Kelly

    Of course I’m now dying to know WHY you feel this way. What happened? I know it may not be something you want to share with all of us. Now I will be thinking of you all day and worrying about you!

  6. Liz Tee

    Yes indeed, although mine are related more to my family than the place. Once you face things like that, they lose some of their power over you. I’m guessing that seeing the place with your adult eyes will help quite a bit. Hugs, and good luck!

  7. Tami

    This is hard. Good luck! You know what struck me? You are FAMOUS and yet you “don’t want to be found.” I wonder if people from your past read you and don’t even know it’s you? Its entirely possible. Big hugs to you today!

  8. Siren

    I did this about a year ago. Went back to a physical location where things had been kind of awful when I was younger. I had friends with me this time. It was actually very empowering, especially to see these good people in my life against the backdrop of what I’d always associated with badness. Sort of like reverse cooties.
    I hope your visit helps something inside shift in a good way.

  9. Anne Gibert

    I have revisited bad parts of my life in various ways. It’s hard, but I think it’s worth it. I’ll be eager to know how it turned out for you. I am always surprised at how small things look that I haven’t seen since I was a child. And how none of it seems to relate to me anymore.

  10. Momma Sunshine

    I have, yes. It’s a difficult thing to do, and requires a lot of bravery and strength.
    Good luck.

  11. di

    I returned to the house I grew up in. Had not been there in decades. I didn’t go inside, but did photograph the outside. So many memories there. The death of a brother, the emotional problems of my mother, the childhood playmates, memories of pets, family get togethers, our first color TV set, strapping on old roller skates, arguments with my mom as a teenager… It felt weird to step onto the property. Hope all goes well for you.

  12. Linda Tustin

    Oh Suzanne- no matter what is in your past- You are here now in the present with all of us who love you. I also have some really “hairy” memories from my childhood. I went back to the condo where some of these memories were from and the area around was so built up it no longer looked the same. really weird. ((hugs)) to you and a toast to your bravery.

  13. Christi

    I think many (most?) of us have parts of our past that have been painful. I hope today brings some peace to the memories of your past.

  14. Poppy

    Oh I so hear you… Hubby and I grew up in the same town and now live 6 hours away. My family has all moved on, most of them in the same small city I am. Unfortunately hubbies mom and sister (and family) still live in same small town.
    I have good memories of that town. And a hell of a lot of bad ones. Growing up was mostly good (save awful first love experience) but after I left I came home to bury my brother, not months later my beloved aunt/friend.. On one visit my MIL suffered a stroke and has never been the same..
    The friends I used to have are either long gone or still there but I have little desire to see them. So I go, enjoy visiting his family. Thankful that it is a rare event and I stay pretty close to their home save visiting the grave yard.
    Last summer was my 25th HS grad reunion. Did I go? No. Sort of regretting it in hindsight but the thought at the time completely freaked me out.
    I understand..

  15. Pseudo

    Whatever it is that happened there, I am very happy to know the woman you became after. I have never gone to a reunion either. Nothing really bad happened in HS, but nothing worth returning for either.
    I’ll be thinking of you.

  16. Jason

    Wow, Suzanne. It sounds like you’ve got some stuff to grapple with. Whatever it was, I’m so proud of you for making your life into what it is instead of letting it bury you like what happens so much with people, it seems.


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