I left Baltimore 10 years ago.
I remember my hometown so clearly. I lived there for 27 years after all. I remember the shortcuts and side streets. My favorite snowball stand and the restaurant on the corner where we always went to celebrate something special. I remember sledding down our favorite "big hill," trekking through the snow to the pizza restaurant and walking to the swimming pool every day in the summer.
There's so much I can envision and sometimes it feels as if it's still home. I still call it home anyway.
But, recently I've found that I don't quite recognize the place where I grew up. The stores have changed, and so have the restaurants. There are more houses and offices and shopping centers.
When I talk to my friends about Baltimore, (all still live in town) I find that I don't know at all what they're talking about. We met up for a girls trip last weekend. They were incredibly sweet and bought me a plane ticket, and arranged for Scott to take off work to watch the kids. It was an amazing bonding weekend, but whenever talk drifted to Baltimore or Maryland, I found I didn't have a thing to contribute.
They talked about the best restaurants and bars, and fun places to take the kids. I didn't recognize anything they were talking about. It was a realization that my hometown isn't really my hometown anymore. Most likely we won't move back. (We've moved too many times and can't move the kids again.) We've been away so long, that it really isn't home...at least not the way it used to be.
While this makes me sad, I feel grateful to have grown up in such a diverse area with a wonderful family and amazing friends who I still see every so often. We made some great memories, and that's how I'll remember my town.