At first I didn't believe those words.
"Of course, you can," I thought.
But over the years, I've proven myself wrong again and again. Several times, I've gone back to my childhood neighborhood in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Those yards and streets that once were filled with my young friends, most of whom were the children of professors at then Mary Washington College, were different from almost the moment we left. The city grew and sprawled out into malls and suburbia that overtook the farmland. My uncle's horse stable is gone, replaced by highways and businesses I never imagined would one day exist there.
|"Hotel Del Cornado" ©Mary Montague Sikes|
Many of the hotels from my book are different now. Some changed their outside appearances before the ink was dry. One of my favorites, the Adams Mark St. Louis, was soon gone. I enjoyed looking from my hotel window, down on the outdoor art gallery below, so I was especially sad. Hilltop House in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia has been closed for several years, but a movement is underway to reopen it.
The children are gone; the landscape, changed; the hotels, different.
"You can never go back," they said.
"You can never go back," I agree.