Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Homeward Bound

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Homeward Bound

Article excerpt

I didn't realize how hard it would be to go home the first time.

When I first moved to Washington, I was homesick. I'd lived my whole life in St. Louis.

By night, in my dreams, I'd wander through my St. Louis home like a ghost.

By day, I'd think about my friends and family. How was Rich doing in his new job? How was Joan doing in her new apartment? Did Joyce's youngest still get those terrible earaches?

When a favorite aunt had an operation, I learned what it was like to worry long-distance. When I called, my family assured me she was fine. But I wouldn't believe it until I saw her myself.

I was living well in Washington, but I didn't always enjoy it. Washington can be pompous and overpriced.

I listened to the pretentious talk at an expense account dinner. The food was exquisite. But I'd trade it all for toast and eggs and a good laugh at Uncle Bill's Pancake House.

Finally, after four months, I made my first trip home.

I couldn't wait. I dreaded it, too. What if I saw the place and couldn't leave again?

I arrived home at the worst possible time: In the golden fall, when the city looks its most beautiful.

I'd forgotten St. Louis was so livable. The traffic jams are jokes by East Coast standards a few cars slow down at a stoplight, and St. Louisans complain.

The streets are so clean. Some Washington streets have snowdrifts of trash.

I'd forgotten how good St. Louisans are at making you feel welcome. My friend Ann picked me up at the airport and took me to Uncle Bill's 15 miles away. I had my toast and eggs and laughs that first night.

I was happy.

But it was different. Your first visit home is pressured. There are so many people to see and call. I made lists of names and still forgot some favorites.

Even on the way to the airport, I was still thinking of people I should contact. I should call Debbie. I should call Karen. I should call . . .

As the plane took off, I thought of more names. …

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