Friday, July 23, 2010

Longing for Home

I continue to write about Mary and Nicholas, but I keep thinking of Jane. She's in limbo, hanging out at Holme Pierrepont, feeling really out of place. It was all well and good there when it was Frances, Mary, and Jane dealing with the occasional Henry. But now Henry and Frances have a love match and Mary is away... Jane is left alone. She is both longing for the past and longing for the future. Something has to change. Dreams of the past haunt her, but there is no going back. Is there?

For three years of my childhood/adolescence, my family owned and operated the Vienna Woods Hotel in Co. Cork, Ireland. It has gone through multiple owners since then. I am the only one of my family that has not been back. I dream about the hotel and our home there. The woods. The trek down the hill. It is all so familiar yet so distant.

I know that the hotel has undergone some major changes. I know that one of the many owners saw fit to dump all the debris from the construction along the old carriage path through the woods. I'm not the owner's daughter any longer -- I wouldn't be allowed to wander through the back halls and wouldn't be physically fit enough to climb out the window in the pantry, scale the wall of the keg yard, and leap the distance between the wall and the cliff face (if that section is even still there). I won't be able to sneak into the walk in fridge and steal an eclair or practice my piano in the bar. I know if I ever go back the changes will be so extreme it won't be any sort of homecoming.

And yet I long for it.

So does Jane.


mary said...

I think you'd be surprised by what you'd take away from going back. The big stuff may have changed, but it's the details that leave their impressions.

Raquel Byrnes said...

You have an amazing memory. It seems the ones we form in childhood tend to stay with us the clearest. I remember playing in the snowy woods and hunting for blue crabs on the beach of Whidbey Island...I loved living there. Never been back.

Lindsay Gage Natale said...

Another great post, Erin. Excellent description. I really hope that you write something like a memoir-esque modern story sometime, you are really talented at bringing a place or experience to life through words.

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