“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
In my last post I stole a lyric from The Smiths which asks “Has the world changed, or have I changed?” That was partly trying to be clever, but partly a serious question. I approached coming back to Germany like the anticipation of meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for a very long time and had a lot of the same thoughts running through my head: Will we still get along? Have the paths our lives have taken made us such different people that we no longer know, or want to know, each other? Was I going to be able to move past my idealized, nostalgic version of Germany and be able to accept the reality?
Something I felt
Or maybe something I thought
Like yesterday’s over
Something I took
Something I sought
Like yesterday’s gone
— The Cure
I’m preparing to go on a trip that I have been looking forward to for some time. We are going to visit Germany (specifically Berlin, Dresden and Munich) and the Czech Republic (Prague). We will be extending our trip for three days to visit the place I was stationed in Germany for two years in 1986 and 1987. From time to time I have looked in on where I lived via the Internet, and I know that there have been changes and that some places are essentially the same (or at least are still there). I have no illusions about what I will see when I get there. But while I intellectually know what is there, I’m not sure that I’m prepared for what I’ll experience emotionally. Even though it was only two years out of a lifetime, the experience has had an abiding affect on my life.
Well I’ve finally gotten around to updating this blog, and have another in my series of ‘travelogues.’This time I was out to see Gene Wilder who was signing copies of his new book “The Woman Who Wouldn’t,” and anything else he’s written as well.