life, thoughts

Missing Twenty-Five Years


Imagine you lost memories of part of your life. You remember being a child and growing to an adult age, and you remember the last three years of your life, but you have no memories from twenty years in between.

My neighborhood in Florida with Spanish Moss

That’s sort of how I feel. No, I wasn’t in a coma, didn’t have a stroke, and do not have amnesia.

I moved away.

Many of you know that I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, especially if you read my short story anthology. I lived there until I was twenty-five years old and then moved to Florida. I made twenty-five more years of memories in the sunshine state. Then a few years ago, I moved back home.

Now that I’m back where I grew up, when I drive around neighborhoods, walk the dog, visit with family and friends, or even run errands, I sometimes have flashbacks. I have no memories of living in my hometown for much of my adult life, so every flashback is of when I was young. It’s as if I skipped from age twenty-five to fifty. Does that make any sense? Since most of my adult memories were not made here, when a memory surfaces, I recall being twenty-one, or seventeen, or twelve!

These long ago memories that surface for me are sometimes powerful. One warm summer breeze might have me at age ten riding bikes with Nancy to the public pool, bathing caps tied to the handlebars. A Journey song on the radio while driving might transport me to a high school party with the faces of all of those friends. I wrote about this time machine phenomena when I first moved back, and it continues three years later. Sometimes It makes me melancholy. Sometimes it makes me forget my age . . . until I step onto my arthritic right toe and buckle over.

Street where I grew up

Those days when I lived here before, most of my grandparents were still alive, my parents were still married, and I socialized more often with my many friends. Those are the things I get nostalgic for. On the other hand, I was a different person then . . . a person with a lot of insecurities and hang-ups. I’m glad I’m not that person anymore, and moving helped me to change. Strangely enough, because I’m a different person, on other occasions I’ve felt completely detached from the life I lived here before.

My next post expands on the detachment.

Do you feel attached or detached from your past? Do you have any powerful flashbacks that make you feel as if you’ve traveled in a time machine and have gone back to earlier years?


20 thoughts on “Missing Twenty-Five Years”

    1. Hi Joy. I have memories from my quarter century in Florida, there’s just very little that reminds me of it here, unless it’s 90% humidity and 93 degrees. So, my mind goes wayyyy back to when I used to live here.

      Hope the weather is getting nicer by you and that you don’t get Michael coming your way.


  1. I moved a lot (still am although I own a house in the Okanagan Valley) and home for me is wherever my M and I can be together. It’s really nice to get together with old friends though which I do about once a year. That’s a type of home too.
    Great post. 🙂

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    1. So true. I always feel home when I’m with my old friends, even when they visited me in Florida. Didn’t you say you lived in different places growing up? Those places you share photos of look like beautiful locations to call home. 🙂

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  2. Hi, Lori, how interesting to read this. I’ll bet it does feel like an odd gap of so many missing years. And to be there now as a changed (and yet not changed) adult… I used to miss my hometown in lower Michigan so much. Would have some sort of longing for it, and a sadness that I couldn’t live there. Nowadays that seems to have disappeared. I can hardly remember childhood or who I was back there before the age of 18. The nostalgia or longing may come back when my mom is no longer around to visit. Then there might be a sad feeling that it’s not possible to go home anymore. 😦

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    1. It’s probably good that the longing for where you grew up has disappeared. Mine didn’t disappear until I finally got back. Florida was such a huge change from the Midwest. No seasons just felt wrong to me. I’m sure the woods are a big change from where you grew up, too.

      I have memories from Florida, but those flashbacks are rare because not much reminds me of it here in Chicago . . . unless it’s humid and 93. 😉

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy.

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  3. Although I live in a different state from where I grew up, I’d say I’m still attached to those younger years. I think staying in contact with friends and listening to music from that era serve as my time machine. Oh and also looking at old photographs.

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    1. Music is definitely a time machine. My girlfriend and I always text each other when a song comes on from a cover band we used to follow. Thanks for sharing, Jill.

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  4. Lori, a plethora of emotions and experiences blended together in your ‘time travel’ – you capture them perfectly. Visiting where I grew up I feel strange – a sense of the younger self, memories, yet at the same time rather detached and remote. It can be disquieting but usually I shake myself out of it … but I wonder what it would be like to move back permanently? I look forward to your next post.

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