Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sometimes, you can't go home (or at least you shouldn't)

So I had a doctor's visit yesterday. Nothing too serious (some stomach thing), but really, that is not the basis of this post. So let me explain.

My family doctor moved his practice out of state a few months back, so we have been on the hunt for a replacement. My mother suggested her doctor, so I made an appointment with him. His office is located in Evergreen Park, so I headed there after work. As I said - no biggie, take these pills, see you in a month, blah, blah, blah.... I left and headed home. Being where I needed to park, I found myself at 99th and Crawford, so as I live south of 99th street, I turned left. I called home to let me wife know the baboon heart transplant was not needed at this time (we had surmised either that or I would need a partial lobotomy - insert your own joke). As I was driving, I was commenting on how the neighborhood had changed (side note - I grew up in the area. Maybe I should have told you that before. Sue me.). This place was gone, this place had get the idea. Well, I hit 115th and Crawford (Alsip) and comment "Hey - I am near my old house, I should drive by" which my wife returns with "go for it". So I turn down 117th heading for the old digs. Small talk as I drive ("The ball fields are still the same. Man, the trees are big. There's my grammar school that we used to climb on top of the roof."). So a jog here, a turn onto Rosemary and then a right onto Howdy Lane (yes...Howdy Lane. If you want a story on the name, you will have to ask). So the chat continues - "The Grant's lived there. I forget the name of the people there. These peop....". I stop. For I see the house. The house I grew up in for the first 17 years of my life. The house I threw a rubber baseball off for hours each day in the summer. The driveway I rode my skateboard, minibike, bicycle on and shoveled in the winter. The bushes I would dive into when the neighborhood kids would play "war". The garage that I still remember the day it was built - there is a 1972 penny embedded into the concrete. The sidewalk that was the ramp for many an Evil Knieval bike jump over numerous Tonka trucks. There was my house.......and it was ruined.

For hanging from the awning....... was a Cubs banner.

I felt ill. I felt my entire childhood just ripped from my soul, thrown to the ground and trampled. "What evil incarnate life form would do such a thing", I thought. Are we truly in the end days? Is there a forecast for fire and brimstone in the near future? How can such a thing happen? I almost pulled over and ripped that offending flag from the house, in an attempt to save it from further embarrassment. But I drove on, knowing that I must. I am no longer that 5 year old, with the clubhouse in the crawl space. I am no longer that 8 year old, sneakily watching TV after bedtime by lying on the hallway and peeking through the space between the stair runners at the basement television. I am no longer that 10 year old, playing "running bases" along the sidewalk and tearing up the grass when we slide. I am no longer that 12 year old, sledding off the garage roof into the huge pile of snow from the blizzard of '79.

But I do have an appointment back in the area in 4 weeks. That could all change.