Monday, January 9, 2012


I went back to Ohio
But my city was gone

     "Did you know my house is gone? It's been sold." 

There was no train station
There was no downtown

     "I don't think I'll ever get to go back there again."

South Howard had disappeared
All my favorite places

       "I never got to see it."

My city had been pulled down
Reduced to parking spaces

     "I don't know what's left."
     "I don't even know where my things are."
A, o, way to go Ohio

Well I went back to Ohio
But my family was gone

   "What is my bookcase doing here in your house?"

I stood on the back porch
There was nobody home
     "My Mother and Dad bought that. It used to be in my room at home."
     "That's where Grace got it. It wasn't hers to give away."

I was stunned and amazed
My childhood memories

    "Is that the table from Pippy?"
    "He always said, "That table goes to Laura when I'm gone.""

Slowly swirled past
Like the wind through the trees

    "Oh, this is my old bird book! I loved this book when was a kid!"
     "I didn't even know it was still around. I had one about trees, too."

A, o, oh way to go Ohio

I went back to Ohio
But my pretty countryside

     "I guess we are moving to an apartment."

Had been paved down the middle
By a government that had no pride

     "I haven't ever seen it."

The farms of Ohio
Had been replaced by shopping malls

     "I  don't even know where it is."

And Muzak filled the air
From Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls

     "I don't know what we will put in there."
     "I had some nice things, but I don't know what happened to them."

Said a, o, oh way to go Ohio*

     "Did you know my house is gone?"

Photo credit: Heather Hopkins

*copyright: The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde
*Need to hear it live ?


  1. The sadness and confusion. Agonizingly beautiful post.

  2. This makes my heart bleed with sadness.

  3. NOOO, and then you end with that photo and break me in two?

    I have spent the last decade brought to my knees by the relationships and gradual diminishments of Byron's grandparents (all four of died in the last three years). That they managed to be generous and gracious with handing away their life's treasures is something I'm only starting to fully realize now. We have his Norwegian grandparents' coffee tables. We were just glad to get coffee tables. In no way did I realize the agony behind their decision to offer up their stuff, as they downsized and moved from senior home to assisted living to memory care. I was just glad to get coffee tables.

    Now, though. I'm growing up enough to get inside their experience. What you are witnessing and living through right now is helping at least one person (outside yourself) develop a much-needed empathy. Your writing is making a difference.