Today, I found the school of my childhood. I have visited San Francisco several times but I have never tried to look for a place I once called home. In fact I rarely look back too far. To look back too far is to find a past riddled with questions and pain. I like the life I now live. So I don’t run with haste to revisits those spaces. But with enough time and years today I went looking. I knew a few landmarks and my partner says I have a microscopic geographical memory of places. Looking for my old apartment, I stumbled upon my school. And both joy and sadness filled me to find the school I attended when I was only 7 years old. Ironically, I arrived at the exact time of drop off. Muddled with my own memories I saw kids still flooding a place that impacted who I am today. Memories were chasing me as I felt both a need to laugh and cry. It was there, miracle of miracles, with a fresh coat of pain but pretty much everything was the same. It was proof that I had once lived here. No one around me knew the world was spinning around me at that moment. I saw my classroom and the cafeteria. A few kids were eating. Parents were rushing to get their kids to classes; I can relate to that feeling. But for me, it was like being on a hover board transported back to 30 years ago. It was proof of a short time when life was incredibly wonderful for me as a child. And yet a reminder of an abrupt change in my own life that would drag me all the way to the east coast.
Painful memories will find you. You can push them away. You can run from them. You can remember but not really remember. You can dust the service and keep it moving. You can even let them push you not fully realizing their power. You can feel like you are drowning still be standing. No one knows how much a human spirit can take. Trauma suggest we are reaching beyond a point we should have been taken. Or you can look at them for what they are/were. You can stare them down hoping that they will release the power they have over you. Today I embrace them. I look into them deeper. I remember and let those memories flow through my veins. I was once here. I once had a very different life. It is okay.
I am so glad the places my feet traveled as a child are still standing and providing haven for others. I even got to talk to a few people and share. I went to the school office luckily because they had already seen me on camera snapping pictures. I talked with the lady cleaner at my old apartment. I felt silly and yet it felt so good. They asked questions and I gladly answered. The pool I snuck to, the one thing as a child I did and got away with, is gone but the delicious memory is not . I wished I could have lived the rest of my childhood here but all I am is because of all the places I have lived. And I like who I am. I’m glad I am here about to celebrate another birthday. I’m glad my blurry memories helped me find my way to another home. As I approach my birthday it’s kind of cool to be here