I'm back from England and the first leg of my home pilgrimage. In fact I've been back for some time now. To say that I'm still digesting would be a bit of an understatement. I have photographs, notes, and diagrams that I'm still putting together into....something.....but mostly a lot of churning recollections that come into focus fleetingly and then they're gone again. The good news is that I was able to visit both of my first two homes, meet the wonderful people who live in them now, and through their incredible generosity wander freely through the rooms where I first opened my eyes, took my first steps and, according to one unverified report from a family member, where I peed on the floor a few times as well.
One of the biggest happy surprises of the adventure was the discovery that one of these two homes is still owned by the people who purchased the house from my parents almost 50 years ago. They told me that when they came to look at the house, they saw me playing footie in the back garden. It was a bizarre sensation to see myself, as I'd been such a long time ago, innocent short-pants barely-in-school Colin, kicking a ball around on the grass. I expected my habitation of those old spaces to trigger thoughts and memories -- and it did -- but I hadn't anticipated a distant, tiny image of me as a little boy, in someone else's memory, to unleash such a cascade of feelings.
I'll have more to say soon but I can't rush this. I want to savour it.