Bucks County Herald

Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

Going home

Last week we talked about the lady on the gluten-free aisle, whom I met while shopping.

A few days later, I had another chance meeting – same supermarket, different lady. This gal I’ve known for decades as she was an educator who taught all but my oldest child, right here in town.

Our relationship was always of a more professional ilk, but when we meet, it’s like family. She’s smart, sincere, and I think she’s really cool. We talked about kids, school, education, what we pour into our children hoping it will all work out for them, and how different life is for young people today in America. We discussed what kind of retirement years, if any, our children and theirs will have and how prepared they’ll be for it.

We also talked about where so many of the kids we knew from school moved to, and how there’s a comfort in the camaraderie and common experiences among their peers that brings them all home again, over and over. It does for all of us, regardless of the years.

Chatterbox, this past March 15, talked about the human need to belong. Participation in group activities ground us, anytime, throughout our lives. In school, things like drama, art, band, or sports teams are the parts of life that give us something to go home to, as we grow older. As parents, as we involve ourselves in what is important to our children, we not only show our own children we value them, but we do that for, and forge bonds with, the other kids we work with as well.

Many of us are fortunate enough to have lives rich in family, friends, and good experiences. With that, sadder memories and disheartening experiences seem to dissipate as we expand our horizon, while the good lessons and experiences remain a resource.

Conversely, many Americans still live in situations which don’t make it easy to go forward in a positive way. The sadness that is the life of a child devoid of the socialization into factions with positive motives and lessons is seen every day, highlighting the importance of inclusivity. For us, it’s why doing our best, not just for our own children but for other communities, and modeling that for our kids, is paramount. The spirit which is that volunteerism has an impact on others and will, hopefully, encourage them to be positive influences too, making home a cozy welcoming place return to for someone else.

The cumulative and collective influences on us all when we are looking for a soft place to land is a powerful, not to mention necessary, part of life. While there’s a lot out there in the world which isn’t good, we each have a bit to give, and that starts where we get it and is why we come home to it, over and over.

We’ve all heard the expression, “You can’t go home again.” Its origins aren’t carved in stone, but we can accept the common theory. “Don’t you know you can’t go home again?” Ella Winter asked Thomas Wolfe when hearing the premise of his new book. He then asked to use it for the title.

The muddy waters of the posthumous publication of the book are also debated and, even as it was being asked, destined to become a colloquialism, the question opened just as much debate. I’m going with a defiant, “Yes we can.” The things we love, the friendships we forge, the return visits home even with decades between them, all support that.

I chatted a while with the pretty teacher from the local high school like no time had passed since last we spoke. We are fortunate; we live here. Many of the kids who travelled through school here do too. They meet at their own children’s back-to-school nights and tee-ball games.

For those who moved away, the roads and times do bring them back for heartfelt visits, because, “Yes, you can go home again.” Some things change, as do we, but it’s always home.




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