En route to Chapel Hill, Katie, Max, and I stopped in Huntsville, Alabama, where I spent the first 10 years of my life. It wasn’t too far out of the way, and it warmed my soul to see some of my old stomping grounds for the first time in many, many years.
Huntsville made a name for itself when it led the rocketry efforts to put a man on the moon. I arrived there almost exactly a decade after the moon landing, but there was still a sense of trying to achieve great things which has stuck with me throughout my life.
Over the course of two days, I took Katie on a tour of the Huntsville of my past. We visited houses where I had lived – which, of course, looked quite different 20 years later – schools I attended – which had expanded and modernized – and places I used to frequent – many of which were no longer there.
The saying is that you can never go back home, that the home you remember will no longer exist. If you judge by buildings and neighborhoods and landscapes, then that is true. However, I found that it absolutely still existed due to the people we saw while we were there. We stayed with good family friends who used to keep me when my parents were out of town. We had lunch with several other family friends and even caught up with the parents of some of my elementary school friends and classmates.
My mom has a plaque that says:
“A house is made
of brick and stone.
A home is made
of love alone.”
I think that applies to towns in addition to houses; it’s the people who make it a hometown more than anything physical. While Huntsville is now missing many of the people – one above all – whom I associate with fond childhood memories – there are still plenty of great people there: smart, fun, good-natured, accomplished people. After all, it takes great people to accomplish the great feats for which Huntsville is known.
This brief stroll down memory lane reminded me not only of that put-a-man-on-the-moon spirit but also of how blessed Katie and I are to have such wonderful people in our lives.