You attend a book fair and find someone who has done a small book on your high school that is titled: Birth Of A Hawk - Proctor R. Hug High School Remembered. It was the last word that caught my eye - what do you mean remembered?
Wasn't it just 1968 and I was attending a brand new high school in Reno, the first in some time? One that had the community in an uproar because for the first time it would have white children bussed from all over the city to actually attend school with black children? It now seems so laughable.
I was drawn to the title and sure enough - I found myself in the very first picture taken of the students assembled in the school square. There was one of my girlfriends - wearing one of my cute pink dresses - which she borrowed constantly, as I remember. There was my first love and high school sweetheart, who died at age 20 of a drug overdose in San Francisco, standing next to me. My name is printed in the back as one of the first students to go all three years and graduate from this new high school.
I guess you know you're home when you can attend a book fair put on by the Historical Society and talk to an author from Austin, Nevada, who said your uncle met him every day out in Kingston (about 30 miles from Austin), to collect his mail. This, of "The Loneliest Highway" fame. Yes, the author was also the mailman. Or talk to a lady standing nearby that says she is a cousin of your nephew's father, and knew your father and uncle well.
I came home with a big bag of books, and the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I will somehow end up staying in this place where I was born. That serendipity pulled me back after only six years for a reason. Maybe I was only meant to leave for a while. Whatever fate has in store for me, maybe it's in the place that my family has lived for five generations.
Either way, it feels good to be somewhere where 'people know your name.'