You can’t go back.
The old trope is true, of course, but you don’t absorb its meaning until you are confronted with the reality of it.
I visited my old high school today. Only it’s no longer my old school. It’s a 100 percent new building, built on the same piece of property as the school I attended to replace the structure wiped away by a tornado in 2011.
It hasn’t had the name of my alma mater for years anyway. I attended Wadena Senior High School. A district merger and the addition of younger grades has transformed it into Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School. Even the mascot has changed. I rooted for the politically incorrect Wadena Indians. Now the Wolverines are meant to strike fear in the hearts of our geographic neighbors.
But it wasn’t the physical changes in the building that struck me so much as I walked the new smelling hallways of the new school — it was how different I felt about the psychic weight of the place.
I remember high school as a big, scary, important place. When I walked those hallways 30 years ago, it was. Today, even though the physical building is bigger, it felt like a much smaller place, not at all scary.
I should have known, of course, it would feel that way. It’s like one’s parents; they feel so formidable when one is a rebellious teenager, but they shrink to human size when one has children of one’s own.
Sometimes, it’s good to exercise one’s perspective.