No way we could know
at this playful reunion,
it would be our last.
Notes: While there may be a later photo of my brothers and I all together, I do not know of it. Less than four years after this shot, Bill (third from the bottom) would perish in a scuba diving accident in San Diego bay.
John (second from the bottom) was an electrician who would touch the wrong wire in a Colorado coal mine many years later.
Larry (at the bottom) would die after a stroke in 2010.
I’m the last leaf on the tree.
The old hometown is aging, as am I,
The once wide streets grow narrow with the years,
As night descends, you all but hear a sigh,
For what once was has gone, and twilight nears.
Now friends and kinsmen number fewer, too,
And memories fade like the painted sign
Proclaiming that the city “Welcomes You!”
Strange how one’s soul and place so intertwine.
Life used to bustle round our stately square
‘Til commerce shifted to the edge of town.
The grand facades are now much worse for wear,
Some landmarks have been torn completely down.
The business of my life took me elsewhere,
Cracks grew in walkways of both man and town.
Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again,” but last year I made a couple of trips back to my childhood hometown. My high school class held a reunion, and there was the lingering matter of tidying up my late parents’ estate, which seemed like it would never get resolved.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my old classmates, and re-igniting long dormant memories. But, not all my classmates are doing well. Not all of them made it back. Not all are still alive.
The visits led to reflection, and that led to poetry.