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Published on July 23, 2019

You can’t go home again, or can you?

Visit to Luling brings back memories of youth – good and bad

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

You can’t go home again. Thomas Wolfe’s book published after his death is a piece of a larger unfinished work. I recently returned to Luling for an impromptu meeting with some classmates, and of course, some friends. We met and made some new friends, too.

You can’t go back to your childhood, your youthful aspirations and hopes, but you can revisit memories and share new memories with your friends. I lived in Luling from the fifth grade until I graduated from high school. Who I became was influenced greatly by this time period and by these people I call friends. We lived through the early ‘60s and shared some tragedies together. We all had families and personalities that put our individual spin on events, but we shared them all the same.

My best friend, Jimmy Springs, died in the spring of 1963. He died in a swimming accident that in retrospect happens all too often to young men in that period of youth when they think of themselves as invincible. He dove into the San Marcos River and hit a submerged tree. His passing was quick, and I don’t think he suffered.

The suffering was felt by those he left behind - his friend who had accompanied him on a carefree adventure, his loving parents, his brother and his many friends at Luling High School.

I often think of Jerry Hall. He had lost a brother a few short years before this happened, and now as an adult, I often wonder how hard this hit him and his family. I could only relate to the visual shared sadness of my contemporaries. I wish I had called on Jimmy’s parents in later years when I visited Luling, but selfishly I could never bring myself to do it. I couldn’t find the words to “fix” it for them when I’m sure all they needed was to see someone who cared about Jimmy and maybe have good memories revived. I understand that now as an old man that has seen and experienced loss.

It’s a world filled with emoji responses and text messaging instead of calling. It’s a world filled with novella-length texts and one letter responses (K). It’s a world in which people are so wrapped up in their phones that they cause fatal accidents, leave children in hot cars and then spend the rest of their lives suffering for their actions.

Facebook has had a profound effect on the way people interact, and it’s not all bad. Alongside the pettiness, there are people reaching out in times of need for comfort, kind words and even financial aid. There are people that don’t ask your political affiliation or religion. They just jump in with prayers, words of support or cash to keep the wolves from the door.

Hug someone you love. Tell them how much you care. We will all feel better for it.

(Send comments by email to editor John Toth at john.bulletin@gmail.com. Or send regular mail to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX 77516)