Get back to where you once belonged
– The Beatles
You can’t go home again
— Thomas Wolfe
The Beatles had more memorable lyrics – ”Ob-la-di, ob-la-da” notwithstanding — but Thomas Wolfe (and here we mean the ”Look Homeward Angel” one, not the modern-day, white-suited “Right Stuff” one) is probably best remembered for that one phrase, which also served as the title of one of his fine books.
“You can’t go home again” — meaning, of course, not that you can’t physically return, but that, if and when you do, what was there then isn’t likely to be there now, or how you remembered it isn’t how it is now, or maybe even how it was then, or that time has a way of erasing your past, just as it will one day lay claim to your future.
Whether one can go home again has been a recurring theme of Travels With Ace. In our journey, we’ve revisited the places of my youth — in Houston, in Tucson, in New York, and in Raleigh. (I had a lot of homes, both in my youth and since — 28 in 16 different towns.) Sometimes the reconnection has been strong; sometimes it has been faint. But you can go home again.
And I am.
A week from now I’ll be settling into the modest little apartment unit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in which my parents lived when I entered the world — not with with a bang (though obviously that occured at some point) but with a whimper.
Now, in the denouement of, if not life, at least this blog, it’s back to John: Chapter One, Verse One.
(Note: At 57, I’ve found I prefer my metaphors mixed. So I run them through the blender, on puree, sometimes with an added pinch of Metamucil, ridding them of the hard to digest lumpy bits. They are both tastier and easier to swallow that way.)
In the beginning was the word — and I was born of two wordsmiths. I followed their footsteps into the newspaper industry, put in 35 years or so, then — as newspapers became glimmers of their former selves — jumped ship to write a book, and write these blogs, and find a new identity to replace my old one.
Now, I’ll be stringing them — words, I mean — together in the same room where I once rattled the rails of my crib, documenting the denouement, or the final resolution of the intricacies of my plot, if indeed I have either plot or intricacies.
It will be — at least for a while — the somewhat circular ending of my year on the road with my dog Ace, who has helped me reach the decision.
We came here to spend a couple of months close by my mother, and to reconnect with my own roots, much like I sought out Ace’s several years ago.
It was on the way home from one such reconnection, a family reunion, that my mother showed me the house she and my father lived in when I was born. In the window was a “for rent” sign. There was only one step up to enter.
I signed a lease — as is my style, and given my lack of a plot — on a month-to-month basis.
So next week, given my birthplace is unfurnished, it’s back to Baltimore to reclaim my stuff, now nested in a storage unit on Patapsco Avenue.
Then we’ll lug it all back to College Village, a spanking new apartment complex when my mother and father moved in 60 years ago. Now, it’s far less upscale than its surrounding neighborhood, a collection of mostly squat brick units that look like something you’d see on an Army base.
I, having only lived there one year, and it having been my first, have no real memories of it, but it was interesting to see, when I brought her over for a visit, how it triggered some for my mother.
Ace, too, seemed to like it better than the basement. When we dropped by to sign the lease, his tail was up and wagging. He visited the tiny kitchen, then sniffed out the two bedrooms, paying far more attention to the front one. Did my baby smells still linger after 57 years? Only then did he walk up to meet the landlord and his daughter.
As the landlord ripped the “for rent” sign off the front window, I think my dog and I came to the same conclusion — that one intricacy at least, at last, had been resolved, and that we were home, for now.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, birthplace, childhood, college village, dog inc., dogs, heritage, home, homes, homeward, journey, memories, mixed metaphors, north carolina, pets, reconnecting, return, reunion, road trip, roots, the beatles, thomas wolfe, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, winston-salem, wordsmith, writer, writing, you can go home again, you can't go home again, youth
Six days a week, Kate Quigley leaves her Kansas City neighborhood and ventures into those whose residents are less fortunate, meaning, often, that their dogs are, too.
In a 25-year-old pickup truck, she scouts out animal abuse and neglect — and situations verging on that — and offers food, hay, doghouses, toys, spaying and neutering and more.
Often referred to as “the dog lady” or “Miss Kate,”Quigley knocks on doors, talks to owners and drops off supplies — up until recently as a representative of Spay & Neuter Kansas City and No More Homeless Pets KC, where, last year alone she brought in 438 cats and 562 dogs to be spayed and neutered, gave away 95 doghouses and 14,700 pounds of dog food and talked to 3,030 households.
Now she’s started her own non-profit called Chain of Hope, according to the Kansas City Star. The newspaper reports that several volunteers have switched affiliations from other groups to join Quigley, a recently divorced mother of three, in her cause.
Chain of Hope’s mission, she says, is to break the chain of ignorance for pet owners who neglect their outside dogs, to break the chain of unwanted litters, and to persuade dog owners who leave their animals tied up to unchain them, or at least use less harmful cable tie-outs.
“I don’t get it when people tell me that a dog is for protection, but the dog is tied up on a chain at their back gate. How will a chained dog protect them?”
(Photo by DAVID EULITT / Kansas City Star; to see the entire gallery, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, chained, chains, chains of hope, dog lady, doghouses, dogs, food, hay, homeless, homes, kansas city, kate quigley, miss kate, neglect, neighborhoods, no more homeless pets kc, pets, poor, poverty, rescue, shelter, stray, tied, toys
If you’re looking for some good music, a good cause and something to do on Valentine’s Day, there’s a benefit concert at the 8×10 Club in Federal Hill tomorrow to raise funds for MidAtlantic Bully Buddies, a Baltimore pit bull rescue.
Tickets for “Peace & Love for Bully Buddies” are $15 and doors open at 7 p.m. The show is open to all ages and features the bands Can’t Hang, Woo & the Yellow Dubmarine and Mobtown Saints.
All proceeds benefit Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies, a rescue organization that provides foster care for dogs while seeking to find them permanent homes, and works to educate the public and correct misconceptions about pit bulls.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 8 x 10, adopt, benefit, bullies, concert, feb. 14, federal hill, foster homes, fosters, homes, mid atlantic bully buddies, pit bulls, pitbulls, rescue
There are more cats and dogs in the UK than anyone thought.
According to figures in a new study, there are around 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in the UK, a total of 4 million more than pet food manufacturers had estimated, according to The Guardian.
The report, based on polling, also concludes that cat owners are better educated.
The study is the first published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 20 years — when there were 6.2 million cats and 6.4 million dogs.
Cats, according to the study, are more likely to live in households with someone with a college degree. A poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of those with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs. We will presume that cat owners did the math.
Last year, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association estimated — not too precisely, as it turns out — the size of the UK domestic cat and dog population at about 8 million each.
The new study, published in the Veterinary Record by Jane Murray, a cats protection lecturer in feline epidemiology at Bristol University, does not take into account strays or those animals in shelters.
About 7% of UK households own both a cat and dog.
(Photos: My dog Ace, your cat Miley, both of whom got their education on the streets; by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 10 million, animals, bristol university, cats, census, count, degrees, dogs, education, homes, news, pet ownership, pets, poll, polling, research, study, uk, united kingdom
Virgin America flew 15 Chihuahuas from San Francisco to New York this week in an effort to aid the overcrowded population of Chihuahuas in California.
West Coast shelters, overwhelmed with Chihuahuas, have been looking for help from shelters on the East Coast, where there is a demand for the dogs.
Escorted by a veterinarian, the dogs were to arrive at JFK and be picked up by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which will help them find homes on the East Coast.
Virgin America’s Facebook page documented the flight, with videos and photos posted while in the air.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, airline, aspca, california, chihuahuas, east coast, facebook, flight, glut, homes, media, new york, pop culture, san francisco, shelters, shipped, surplus, transfer, video, virgin america, west coast