A Place to go-back-to

by Jerry Richardson   8/29/14

We all need A Place to go-back-to.

Let me describe 5114 Stevendale.  What is it?  It has been for forty-plus years A Place to go-back-to for meIt is a house on a corner lot, close to a small city.  For privacy reasons, I won’t tell you where.

It is a special place for me.

Let me describe my requirements for such a place.

A Place to go-back-to is purchased with time, lots of time, not money.  You don’t even have to own such A Place, and in a real sense it is more like it owns part of you.

Time spent there
is never lost.
The memory of it
lingers, close
always part of you
integral, powerful
to emerge and trigger
a smile and a tear
in an unexpected
pensive moment.

A Place to go-back-to is described as go-back-to because it provides, in the mind and in the emotions a return to the past.

Your past
travels with you.
Do you return?
Did you ever leave?
No, it is not rewritten.
It is rethought, re-felt
revisited, re-understood
re-enjoyed, re-cherished.
It is your personal

  A Place to go-back-to is not a place you simply visit.  It has to be a place where you feel deeply welcomed and feel that you deeply belong.

You walk in
and know you belong.
There is no out-of-place
no fear of being
a burden.
You are a guest
yet not a guest.
In spirit, family
permanently there
even if only for a short-while.

A Place to go-back-to is a place where you don’t have to wait for an invitation; you can, without giving offense, invite yourself.

“We’re coming down
next week
for a few days
if that’s OK?
Yeah we need
to get-away
for a little-while
and lounge on
your “piazza”
in the still
of the afternoon.”

A Place to go-back-to is a place where you go to get away from the pressing concerns of everyday necessities.

The mundane
provides a comfort zone
and stress:
A mixture of must-do’s
and boredom
that often begs for a break—
not an escape
just a reprieve,
a momentary breather
in the life-is-work

 A Place to go-back-to is a place of graphic familiarity, and sufficient fond memories.  You can see and remember, with your mind’s eye, times and togetherness.

Don’t have to knit brow
to recall
A Place to go-back-to.

Smile!  Yes, the front-door
is avoided
for the default
garage entrance.

See there!  Situated
on the east side
is an outer-sanctuary:
a back-porch
the “piazza”.

Study!  The rooms
the furniture, the doors
the draped windows
the beds
each with a unique
in a coordinated comforter
or a colorful stitched-quilt.
Scan!  Those Walls
with prints and portraits
some slightly atilt
chosen with
unknown purpose.

Relax! In the den
with its couch
obviously selected
as a facilitator for
a leisurely, non-power, nap.

Drum roll!  Meditate

for a moment
on the heart of
A Place to go-back-to
the unforgettable
look and smell
of the kitchen
and its food-laden bar
where conversation
both main and aside
flourished with
quips, teases, questions
chuckles, and belly-laughs
all punctuated
with pauses and gestures;
sort of in-group

And now it all echoes
silently echoes
reflecting, reverberating
a diverse nostalgia
bringing memories of
joy, regret
affection, fulfillment
then shared and mirrored
now preserved and treasured.

I can go-back.
Even if only in memory
as long as I have
A Place to go-back-to. 

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2 Responses to A Place to go-back-to

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    One disadvantage of being an Army brat is that I really have no such place. We lived in a variety of places over the years, most of which I couldn’t even locate, and the rest are no longer available due to new ownership (though one time, when Elizabeth and I were in the Churchill Downs area due to a sad errand, we went by where Grandma Basham lived half a century ago). Elizabeth, as a Missionary Kid, has a similar sort of problem. (She figures that commonality is one reason we get along well.)

    • Jerry Richardson says:


      I am sad that you have had no such place. I realize full-well that many people have not. That’s one of the motives I had for writing about it. I also realize how blessed I am to have had the experience I described.

      In life, we all have a variety of different life-experience. So, necessarily, we have different blessings. Some better and some worse and some just different.

      The blessing that I recognize that you had in growing-up as an “Army brat” was a wide exposure to different people and places and ideas. I see, and am blessed by your broadness of experience in the things that you write. Blessings come in many guises. I’m thankful for all of them.

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