Do You Ever Try To Revisit Your Youth? In What Way, And How Did It Go?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 5:14 AM GMT
    In 1978, when an Army Captain Company Commander, I decided to try to visit the boys summer camp I attended in New Jersey 20 years earlier, 1957-59.

    I drove out from my parents' home, never having driven to the camp before, my Mother always having taken me as a child, before I could drive. And I managed to find it by memory, not listed on the map, located about 90 miles away.

    The place was desolate, every single building I knew gone. Only the concrete foundation slabs confirmed for me this was the correct location. I could identify the mess hall we had, and the common latrine building used by over 200 boys. Which had no hot water, open toilets, no showers, no heating, no sinks, just a single round fountain spray device to handle us all, for washing faces and brushing teeth. Very Spartan accommodations, why my later Army career seemed like merely another stint at summer camp.

    I made my way down to the lake, where I had learned to swim. The big dock was gone, only a few rotting pilings left. Likewise the boathouses and sheds, all collapsed and overgrown. The sandy white beach had eroded away, only a few traces of the sand that had been trucked-in to create it remained.

    Nor a trace of the floating paddock where we stripped to take baths in the open (no showers at the camp latrine), using bars of floating white Ivory soap. I wonder how many thousands of soap bars dissolved in that lake over the summer, in the days when the word "pollution" was a scientific term largely unknown to the general public.

    And at each step of the way I got teary. And began to realize, for the first time I think, my own aging and mortality. But still not 30. I wrote a little essay about it some years ago.

    So what are your own moments of revisiting your past? Have you had them?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 5:23 AM GMT
    I used to consider it, but a quick trip to my 20 year high school reunion reminded me why I shouldn't do that...not to mention the bible camp I went to is long gone. While I do enjoy reminiscing about the fun times I had as a kid, I prefer to continue making new fun times as life goes on.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 5:27 AM GMT
    Nah, I like to reminisce about that past sometimes. But only by swapping stories with old friends. I don't think I could "revisit" my youth.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 5:39 AM GMT
    xrichx saidNah, I like to reminisce about that past sometimes. But only by swapping stories with old friends. I don't think I could "revisit" my youth.

    Well, by "revisit" I didn't mean to pretend I had become young again. Just to see those places again, refresh my memories.

    In the case of this summer camp it was very sad. All gone, desolate, deserted. My memories were all that I had left of it. And it had been a significant part of my youth. It very much formed who I was to become as an adult, who I am today.

    It wasn't like a simple summer vacation, of which I had many others with my parents as a kid. It was a more forming and fundamental experience. At least for me, if not for others who attended camp with me.

    So anyway, have you guys had these kinds of returning to your youth? Were they happy, sad, poignant, what?
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jun 15, 2014 5:44 AM GMT
    I had a similar experience a few years back. When I was a youngin, my father took me to visit his mother and brothers and sisters that lived in a small mountain town. The town was maybe at most 50 to a 100 people. We stated about a week and I got to know and visit a lot of the people in the little town. A few years back I went back up to that same small town, it was completely deserted. The main road that went down through the center of the town was over grow with weeds as well as the houses and the side roads had completely disappeared. The mountain had begun to take the town back and there were trees growing all around the houses practically obscuring them from site. It was cool to imagine that this would similarly happen to the rest of the world should some major disaster occur. The earth and nature will take the land back.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:02 AM GMT
    I wear ripped jeans that are too tight with no underwear and date a high school teacher.

    It's not quite the same now as it was back then...

    icon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:11 AM GMT
    Cash saidI wear ripped jeans that are too tight with no underwear and date a high school teacher.

    It's not quite the same now as it was back then...

    icon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gif


    Yeah, I'll bet it's even hotter and nastier now that the "Skittles and Wild Turkey" recipe is perfected. icon_twisted.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:15 AM GMT
    owl_bundy saidthe closest i've ever done to that is either drive past the old neighborhood, town, street that i grew up on 20 years ago (irvington, nj) or foods, things or songs that i liked as a kid that i stopped messing with eons ago. it's not the same. as a kid, i was happy, unaware, carefree and most importantly ignorant about a lot of things where i could fully enjoy most things. my imagination as well so i could have fun just daydreaming or with nothing but a pencil or even just paper. now, it's like i'm too deep into life where that shit is long gone. the town i used to live in is mostly ghetto, rundown and hood as hell now where in the last decade, the violent crime, gangs, drugs and etc got out of control to the point where the state police had to hold it down for a second. i don't go there unless i have to.

    and to tell you the truth, i wouldn't want to relive my youth. it wasn't bad BUT at the same time, it's nothing that i would want to relive especially certain things that i wish never happened.

    I understand. You know I'm from New Jersey? From Montclair (that my Dutch ancestors founded 350 years ago, originally named Speertown, after my great-great-great-ad finitum).

    But I didn't say "relive" your youth but rather revisit it. Just go back and see it, and discover what memories & emotions it may bring.

    Though I suppose for some it could mean relive. I dunno, I guess as I'm reaching the end of my life I'm kinda getting tangled up with memories, that seem to increasingly consume me. Trying to still move forward but feeling the tug of twilight nostalgia. Which lately takes way too much of my time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:16 AM GMT
    Cash saidI wear ripped jeans that are too tight with no underwear and date a high school teacher.

    It's not quite the same now as it was back then...

    icon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gif
    Kinda sucks that they don't have corporal punishment anymore, huh.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:18 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    xrichx saidNah, I like to reminisce about that past sometimes. But only by swapping stories with old friends. I don't think I could "revisit" my youth.

    Well, by "revisit" I didn't mean to pretend I had become young again. Just to see those places again, refresh my memories.

    In the case of this summer camp it was very sad. All gone, desolate, deserted. My memories were all that I had left of it. And it had been a significant part of my youth. It very much formed who I was to become as an adult, who I am today.

    It wasn't like a simple summer vacation, of which I had many others with my parents as a kid. It was a more forming and fundamental experience. At least for me, if not for others who attended camp with me.

    So anyway, have you guys had these kinds of returning to your youth? Were they happy, sad, poignant, what?

    I visit my old friends in my home town once in a while. That's about as much revisting I care for these days. I do want to visit Northern Virginia some time soon, where I had some fond memories after college. Oh well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:39 AM GMT
    xrichx said
    I visit my old friends in my home town once in a while. That's about as much revisting I care for these days. I do want to visit Northern Virginia some time soon, where I had some fond memories after college. Oh well.

    I'm never sure what I feel when I revisit old memories. Jarring, comforting, reassuring, regretful, I never really know.

    What I am sure is that I'm very happy today, and don't want that to end. I have a loving husband, great friends, a comfortable life (if not luxurious) in a wonderful community. I have no discontentment, don't wish for anything better than what I have.

    But these old remembrances, when they happen, give me pleasure, too. I don't wanna turn back the calendar, but neither do I want to erase it. I'd like to think I can keep my memories, and make new ones, too.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 6:55 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    xrichx said
    I visit my old friends in my home town once in a while. That's about as much revisting I care for these days. I do want to visit Northern Virginia some time soon, where I had some fond memories after college. Oh well.

    I'm never sure what I feel when I revisit old memories. Jarring, comforting, reassuring, regretful, I never really know.

    What I am sure is that I'm very happy today, and don't want that to end. I have a loving husband, great friends, a comfortable life (if not luxurious) in a wonderful community. I have no discontentment, don't wish for anything better than what I have.

    But these old remembrances, when they happen, give me pleasure, too. I don't wanna turn back the calendar, but neither do I want to erase it. I'd like to think I can keep my memories, and make new ones, too.


    For me, it's partially regret and partially reassuring. Yeah, it's weird. But I really do need to make that trip soon.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 10:10 AM GMT
    My adult years have been so much better so I'd rather forget my kid and teen years than revisit them.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 11:57 AM GMT
    I had an amazing childhood, and I visit my hometown and grandparents's village at least once a year for a family "get together". The feeling I experience is amazing, the places are not very much changed, it's been only 8-10 years afterall but I would give anything to be 14 again at least for a day.
    I prefere to keep only positive memories, got over all the bad ones.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 15, 2014 2:19 PM GMT
    Buckyou saidI had an amazing childhood, and I visit my hometown and grandparents's village at least once a year for a family "get together". The feeling I experience is amazing, the places are not very much changed, it's been only 8-10 years afterall but I would give anything to be 14 again at least for a day.
    I prefer to keep only positive memories, got over all the bad ones.

    I can guarantee I have my share of bad memories, too. My Mother's hyperthyroid disease in the mid-1950s basically caused her to go nuts for over a year before it was diagnosed, constantly screaming and beating me, an out of control monster mother.

    And blaming me for everything, unable to comprehend it was a medical problem inside her, nothing to do with me. And then telling my Father to beat me some more when he came home, which he'd obligingly do with his leather belt.

    Or the usual assortment of childhood bullies (which I handled fairly well for a little runt), some serious accidents that put me in the hospital, unhappy elementary school experiences, including abusive teachers who'd get fired today. I could give you a laundry list that would have most people boo-hooing for me.

    Yet all of those get eclipsed by the good memories, and on balance I think I had a great childhood. And parents who actually cared for me and loved me very much, in spite of whatever faults they may have had. They spoiled & pampered me in ways that in retrospect today make me astonished, if not also a little ashamed. So that among all the things of my childhood I miss my parents the most, but that's something I can never revisit. icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2014 11:46 PM GMT
    Driving to Miami from college I discovered my rideshare went to the same summer camp I did and we were practically passing it so we stopped by. We were twice the size that we were when we attended so the camp seemed a quarter the size. In the mess hall, all the vintage 50s camping memorabilia (fabulously un-pc American Indian accessories like tomahawks) had been removed and presumably sold. Last year I looked the camp up online and learned that it had been turned into a year round RV camp with electric and water hookups carved out in the woods and a lakefront in-ground pool installed. User complaints centered mostly around how none of the RVs parking sites had lake views. Come to think of it, neither did our cabins.

    THAT googling got me real nostalgic so next I googled a place I worked briefly after college, a Palestinian-owned youth hostel outside Jerusalem's Damascus Gate run by liberal French and American Jews frequented by Europeans constantly smack-talking Israel even as they enjoyed the safe, easy access and modern amenities that "Israeli Occupation" provided, and trying to get the Palestinian and Jewish staff to argue politics (we refused, and the fact that we were friendly with each other and tried to deescalate their diatribes infuriated them). Researching it online I found that it had evolved into a well-known clearinghouse for European pro-Palestinian sympathizers transitioning to the West Bank and Jordan for terrorist training. For all the anti-Arab sentiment in Europe apparently enough Europeans preferred them to Israelis and given that sentiment the hostel had really deteriorated. I don't think an in-person revisit would go particularly well - I'd be Robert Shaw to their Marthe Keller.

    You can't go home again.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2014 3:38 AM GMT
    judgingyou saidI'm still youth.


    And still ignored.

    Except by those Guys who say, " Hey son - need a ride..."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2014 4:31 AM GMT
    You boys crack me up.....