Every week it seems I get a number of email forwards from retired friends sharing all kinds of things from the past. Often they contain pictures or videos of old cars, planes, trains, movies, television shows, etc.  Very interesting stuff, but truth be told, I much prefer forwards that demonstrate new innovations or discoveries. While I still appreciate seeing images from my past, expecially my 1956 red chevy, I would not trade it for my current SUV. As seniors, we’ve often heard the phrase, “You can’t go home again.” It’s absolutely true.

This was clearly illustrated on a recent road trip I took with my wife Trisha. We traveled from northern California to southern Arizona visiting family and friends, and concluded the trip at her high school reunion weekend in Southern California. As always when we travel, we took time to do some sight-seeing along the way.

In my first example, let me first explain something. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I’ve always been a big Dodgers fan. In fact, our son Michael is a senior producer with Fox Sports Net and he produces the Dodger pre-game and post-game shows. (Here is a picture of Vin Scully the Dodger’s long-time Hall of Fame announcer talking to Mike, that’s the top of his head, as they flew home from their final road trip)

 My point is, I’m a devoted, but now disappointed fan. Here’s why. As Trisha and I drove through Arizona, we first decided to stop and visit the Dodger’s new spring training facility shared with the Chicago White Sox. Having visited the original Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida on several occasions, and getting a special behind-the-scenes tour on our last visit, we were anxious to see their new location. Ugh! What a complete let down. The first clue we got was the absence of signs on the highway leading to the camp. Finally, at the last exit, there was a sign proclaiming, “Glendale Baseball Complex.” Are you kidding me. One of the premier baseball franchises in baseball history and the sign doesn’t even mention them. When we arrived, once again no mention of the Dodgers. Here is a picture of Trisha at the main entrance to the camp. Do you notice anything missing?


Finally, as we snooped around the facility, we found one small sign on a gate that said “Dodger Clubhouse.” Big Whoop! This place was nothing more than a glorified civic recreation center, designed to be low-cost for the city of Glendale, and a field for rent for the Dodgers in the Spring. Gone are the traditional streets named after Dodger legends, gone are the historic living facilities that housed some of baseball’s most revered players, gone is any sense of pride and history. All sold out for the almighty buck. I’ve got an idea. Our local high school has a pretty good field. If Glendale Arizona can make a better deal renting their field to another team, maybe the Dodgers could come here in the Spring. All they have to do is take down that one small sign. By the way, if you see the Dodger owner, I’ve got a great place I’d like to put that sign.

I know, I’m supposed to be positive. I just hate to see such a great tradition become like every other team that moved to Arizona. It’s as though your favorite restaurant just became a McDonald’s.

In my second “you can’t go home” example, after a wonderful week of being wined and dined by great friends and relatives, we arrived in our old home town for the high school reunion. Trisha and I took one whole day to spend by ourselves visiting our old homes, neighborhoods, etc. Being the oldest, and a California native, we first went to my childhood home. Oops! It’s now a block of small commercial buildings. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the time capsule the neighborhood kids and I buried a long time ago. It reminded me of that wonderful Lonestar song, Everything’s Changed. Remember the words, “they put up a plant where we used to park, the old drive-in is a new Walmart.” We did find a number of our former homes, but of course they seemed much smaller and a bit run down. In one case, a freeway now loomed above the street I used to call a playground. As I stopped my car to look at one of my former homes, a man came out and I explained I used to live there. He didn’t speak English very well, but did smile at this foreign traveler from long ago.

The good news is, we did run into our dear neighbors who lived next door to our last home before we left town twenty years ago. They were happy to see us and we had a nice visit. But can you truly go home again? Not really. Places change, we change, and the times change. It reinforced our philosophy of not dwelling too much on the past and consciously trying to value each new day while counting our many blessings. Interestingly, when the formal reunion started on Saturday night, the disc jockey began to play songs from the sixties. One of our friends sitting next to me turned and said, “No Bruno Mars?” I smiled and we did a fist bump. Of course, the rest of the night was filled with “The Twist,” “Runaround Sue,” etc. We had fun at the reunion and loved catching up with old friends, but I think in most ways we’ve all moved on. You really can’t go home again, but I can’t wait for the rest of today and look forward to tomorrow.