Jay Gatsby should have listened…

…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.


About thequarryschild

A self-described forensic junkie, Beth Anderson spends her days shaping young minds to ask critical questions and wonder “whodunit.” Beth resides in the Capital District of New York and spends her free time reading and solving the great mysteries. Her love of swimming, tennis and sports provides the basis for one of the lead characters in her new book The Quarry’s Child. Beth is one of the founding members of the Upper Hudson Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime (aka Mavens of Mayhem), a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a survivor of a visit to an active aircraft carrier while it was at sea, and a published poet in Soundings, a literary journal. Beth continues to instill a love for mystery fiction in her students as she has for over twenty years. Photo credit: Quinn Mulvey
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5 Responses to Jay Gatsby should have listened…

  1. I should have listened, too.

  2. Amy Gardiner says:

    What a great post! Really resonated with me. I too, recently discovered that you can’t go back.

  3. Sarah Longley says:

    Hit a nerve with me too, Beth. I’ve been feeling that way every time I’ve gone “home” to England, but it’s changed so much, it’s barely recognizable to me. I rarely go back now – preferring instead to hold on to the memories of how it used to be. Sad, but true.

    • Thanks for your reply, Sarah. It’s hard to accept that things aren’t the same as they once were. However, it is more that we have changed as people…maturity and all that. So we are seeing things through vastly different eyes. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit England once and would love to go back. I’m a big fan of British mystery!

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