It’s often been said, “You can never go home again.” While people have attributed that saying to various sources, or attached different meanings to the phrase, I think it’s safe to say most people find themselves, at some point, wanting to revisit their childhood home.
Such was the case with my maternal grandmother. As we saw from the news clipping I mentioned yesterday, my grandmother did indeed make that trip late in her life. While it entailed driving from her home in Ohio to Florida after she and my grandfather were well into their retirement years, their journey was, in essence, no different than anyone’s visit to an old hometown might have been. After half a century, things are bound to change.
The difference with this visit was that it inspired some small town newspaper columnist to write a bit about it in the local paper. All it took was a childhood friend’s willingness to clip the mention out of the paper and mail it back to the one who initiated the whole event. And voilà! I have a story preserved by another ancestor who liked to keep records.
That record then touched off a chain reaction. True, for the most part, it lay dormant in the Little Brown Book for decades. But once uncovered, it got me started writing. I wrote a post about my grandmother the very first month I started this blog.
What’s significant about that bit of information is that someone happened to do an online search on my great-grandfather’s name just about the time I finished that post. That post led someone to connect with me who had news I would definitely want to hear: the old McClellan home was being refurbished. The building that narrowly missed being demolished was now to become a bed and breakfast!
Restored to the appearance it once sported in the early 1900s, the McClellan house now has its own entry on Wikipedia as well as a berth on the list of properties included in the Fort Meade Historic District.
While my grandmother never got to really go back home and see the place as it used to be, if I ever get a chance to travel to Florida, I will be able to go back and see her childhood home. In the meantime, evidently, so will everyone else.
Photograph above: The R. C. McClellan house, Fort Meade, Florida; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain through a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
Disclaimer: While the old family house has been converted from residential to commercial use, I have no connection to the business nor to the current owner, and received no compensation for this mention. However, don't let that stop you from ignoring that old Florida call to "Come on Down" if you can.