Even when I was a student, returning to Dayton, TN surprised me. I always forget how familiar I am with this place. I suppose I did live here for 4 years…but I forget. The result is like a half-forgotten dream that sharpens into memory the longer I am around. ‘This is the road the school is on…that is the insurance place that employed me during fall break that one time…there is the dollar store I shopped at…the Taco Bell I ate at after every pay day.’
However, it isn’t just Dayton. I feel this way visiting Chattanooga and Crossville too. ‘There is the Japanese place I first had sushi…there is the turn to get to my first roommate’s parents’ house…this is the road where the police catch speeders.’
Weird memories because they come back to me so clearly here but fade when I leave. And of course things change too. Elizabeth and I swung by Delia’s (best Mexican in Dayton) tonight and discovered…they moved locations!
I experienced this as a student and yet once again I can’t help feeling like my college days are a strange, segmented thing that happened in a different world. Wisconsin seems so far away. Yet once I go home, won’t Tennessee once again feel equally distant?