My earliest semi-adult trips away from home without my folks were two-night overnight camping trips in scouts. I have very specific memories of riding back into town in some other kid's dad's car and seeing the movie theater and the Amoco station and wondering how they could possibly still look the same, after I'd been away.
Driving back into that same town after a couple of months away this past weekend, it's flipped: I feel exactly the same, and the Amoco station is a KFC and the theater is a row of doctors' and accountants' offices. And I stick around for a couple of days, then leave town, and see that the bookstore is a dance studio and the Gap is a toy store. How does a farm become a Gap and then become a toy store all within my own memory?
I'd like to report that driving back into THIS town after the weekend away I couldn't believe everything had remained the same, except that while we were gone someone opened a sushi place and they hung a help wanted sign on the new burger joint and all the rest of the leaves fell and the whole place is covered in yellow maple and rainwater, and sometimes the new town, more than a year old, still doesn't quite feel like home.