Not too long ago I took my boys out to Long Island to visit some law school friends of mine. Coming out from our house in New Jersey we gave ourselves plenty of time for the trip; anticipating the traffic. To my surprise, the traffic wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. We made such good time that we were scheduled to arrive before we were supposed to. In order to kill a little time, I suggested we make a stop in Little Neck, my childhood hometown. We pulled off the LIE, made a couple of turns and there we were — the hallowed ground of the place where I grew up. The schools, the playgrounds, the dead end where we played all our sports, the town pool, the pizza place where a buck got you two slices and a small Coke. We drove past the childhood houses of my friends. I pointed out this is where Rob S. lived, this was Charlie C’s house, I had a crush on a girl who lived over there and so on.
When we turned the last corner before approaching the house I grew up in, I told my sons of the time my dad and I took seven shoe boxes filled with my baseball card collection and plastered the garage walls with all the cards. Painstakingly, we pasted thousands of cards to the walls; cards that are collector’s item’s today, cards that are very valuable. I told my boys that that garage was probably worth more than the entire house. But when we pulled up it was gone. The garage, the house, the yard I played in…all gone. Ripped down and replaced with an ugly monstrosity.
We drove a bit more and I showed them a couple more sites but my heart was no longer in it. Some things are better left alone. Sometimes you can’t go back. Sometimes it’s better to just visit in your mind.
Ofer Aronskind is a single dad living in New Jersey with his 3 teenage boys and is the author of kids adventure books.