The Absent Uncle: Nostalgia from a distance

D.C. Schultz, guest columnist

My son and his wife left last week from Houston for a driving vacation touring the western United States. It is a pretty ambitious adventure covering a lot of territory. I certainly envy their energy to take this journey. 

Interestingly, the first destination was a straight north drive to Wichita, Kan., where we lived for 21 years. Our son was 4 when we moved there in 1997 and stayed there until late 2018 when we moved to our present home outside of Houston.   

He had gone away to college after high school graduation and moved to the Houston area after he earned his college degree. Other than a couple of short visits home for the holidays, he had not been back to Kansas. My wife and I have not been back either since we drove down the driveway for the last time. 

His main interest in driving to Wichita was to visit his old home. He had asked me for the name and phone number of the family that bought our property so that he could contact them and ask if he could visit and check out his old home. We had had a similar request from the family who sold it to us and were happy to host them for their visit. 

The new owner was gracious in his hospitality and allowed him to wander around the almost five acres, remembering where he played hide and seek, drove his go-kart in laps around the perimeter (and T-boned a tree showing off for his mother!) and all of the other childhood activities he experienced. 

Inside the house he checked out the hallway wall where we marked his height each birthday to record his growth. Of course, the new owners had painted it over, but the memory was there. His room was a different color and he heard how difficult it was to cover the bright neon green and orange colors he had requested I paint it.  

He so enjoyed just walking around and soaking in the old atmosphere. 

Some improvements had been made since we left, but not nearly as many as we were told they would accomplish quickly after our departure. Change this, change that, was the plan. But not so much after almost six years. 

They have found the house and property to be as comfortable as we did – just the way it is. He took lots of pictures and I found myself just as nostalgic as he was, from a distance, through his eyes.


The Brandon Valley Journal


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Brandon, SD 57005
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