I was listening to an excerpt of a podcast (I am assuming) from Rodney Crowell featuring Tom Hiddleston, which can be heard here, and what he said about Oxford made a lot of sense. He basically said that returning to Oxford (where he grew up) was like going back to his childhood, to a place that contains his innocence.
That made me think of when I went back to San Diego in 2006, and visited my former high school with my aunt and grandma as it was undergoing renovation. For illustrative purposes, I am posting the picture I took the moment I got there:
This is a hallway that I walked every single day my freshman and sophomore years, and was where my eighth grade crush, Patrick touched my shoulder on our last day of Freshman year. Here’s how that scene played out in June, 1999:
Me: See you later, Pat. Have a good summer.
Patrick: You too, Colleen. [I turn to head to my English class. He touches my shoulder, making me turn around]
Me: What is it?
He says nothing, but “Bye,” and walks away.
That moment killed me, when I was fifteen. I had spent all of eighth grade wanting him to like me back, and there were lots of hints (according to friends, whose judgment was questionable) that he shared my feelings, but nothing ever came of it. Our trip to Disneyland happened (which if I have not written about it, I will at some point), and we had a moment after our eighth grade promotion.
When I stepped onto those stairs and looked down that hallway, which hadn’t been gutted at that point, I went back to that sunny day that was prolific at that time. That day marked the last time he and I were close friends. Things changed that fall, and it all culminated in a semester of badminton that was like a battle of some kind when the two of us played opposite one another (which is another story that I will get into at a later date).
Like Tom Hiddleston stated in his response, it has significance because it was a location where things in my life were changing and happening that hadn’t before.
Are there places that hold those kinds of memories for you? Feel free to comment.