The Secret Knitter took a trip back to his hometown, and posted a moving, bittersweet photoessay on what he found there. It's been haunting me ever since I read it. We have such complicated relationships to the places we grew up. Popular culture often reduces the emotion to nostalgia, but I'll bet it's more mixed for most of us. On the one hand, we owe our very selves to that place and those people -- a debt we can never repay. On the other hand, it's often a place we're guiltily glad we escaped, a small and limited place that may have grown even more insular since we said goodbye. Or perhaps it's fallen upon hard times, the institutions that once sustained us in ruins, rats fleeing the sinking ship ... like we did, back when. We may feel angry or sad, because whatever its faults, our hometown never deserved this.
Or maybe there are other emotions, more positive, more poignant. Read the Secret Knitter's post, and then tell me about the last time you went back to your hometown.