The weather and the schedules both finally cleared enough on Sunday afternoon so I could get a walk in.
I laced up my shoes and headed out the door of Wayne's dad's apartment with no particular destination in mind. My thought was that I'd just walk "out" for 30 minutes then swing around and walk back "in."
The house my Grandma Seiver lived in was just a few blocks away so I decided to go by it, and from there it was only a few more blocks to Wayne's Grandma Arnall's old house. And since I was there I could just swing around the corner to his folk's old house and then by the one they lived in after they moved back from Western Kansas.
Then it became a challenge: Could I walk by all the significant buildings from my youth that were still standing? El Dorado is a town of about 13,000 but really my life growing up didn't extend to all four corners of the city.
My walk was about ten minutes longer than planned but in that time I passed my childhood home, Wayne's childhood home plus his parent's last home before moving to the apartment, my grandmother's house, both of Wayne's grandmother's houses, the three rental places I lived in between being at home and us getting married and moving to Wichita, the homes of all my childhood friends, all the schools I attended and the hospital where Brad was born.
I was surprised at the flood of memories that came with each block. Sleep-overs and Brownie meetings. Holiday dinners and everyday life. The faces and voices of people so dear. Walking gave me the chance to really savor them and even brought up memories of people and events I didn't expect as I came upon other homes and buildings I hadn't thought about being on my zig-zagging route. It was literally and figuratively a walk down memory lane.
We left El Dorado a long time ago, and while we miss those who are special to us there, it's not a decision I regret at all. In fact, we've lived more than half our lives in Florida so I often think of El Dorado as a life we left behind. But small town roots run deeper than you might expect and that's the lesson from a Sunday afternoon's walk.