…because Nick Carraway was correct when he told Gatsby he couldn’t ever go back to the way things were. We might be able to re-create the past to some extent but it is never the same. Though I believe wholeheartedly in what Nick says, I ignored his advice as well.
A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Burlington, VT. I lived there until we moved away prior to my second grade year in school. Then I visited each summer until I was about 16 and started working. The years I spent in Burlington have always remained idyllic in my memory. Lots of my time was spent outdoors playing. It’s a beautiful place in my mind.
Then reality set in. I expected things not to look the same but, boy, they really didn’t. What was once a shining and golden place to me looked dingy and tired. Yes, the Church Street area is pleasant with its pedestrian-only access, shops and eateries. But if I’d seen one more college student, it would have been far too soon. As one who works each day with high school students it was not my idea of fun to be surrounded by a slightly older, but similar, population.
The old neighborhoods looked, well, old. And small. The streets were narrow and crowded with parked cars and leaves. The city has taken on the messy look of a giant dorm room. For the prices that are charged in Burlington for everything, the place should look far nicer.
So I’m gradually letting go of that past. I should have done so long ago. Time to be more anchored in the present, cementing new memories. And for that former neighborhood playmate of mine whom I wrote to say I would be in town…it was so nice of you not to respond to my letter, even to say, “Yeah, thanks for writing but I’m not interested in traipsing down memory lane.” That was the unkindest cut of all.
I’ve learned my lesson, Nick Carraway. If only Gatsby had listened to you, too.