The older I get, the more I tend to think about the Thomas Wolfe novel, "You Can't Go Home Again."
The longer I live in Quincy, the more that title seems to become a deeper part of me.
Several years ago, I wrote a column about realizing that Quincy had truly become my home. The people I had met, the place where I worked and the community itself had won me over to the point that when I would return to Ohio to visit family and friends, I realized that I was "visiting" and that home had become West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
Memories of Ohio are, of course, extremely fond and always will be. I had two children born and raised there, and my favorite sports teams -- the Cleveland Indians and Ohio State Buckeyes -- are located there.
But home, as they say, is where the heart is. And my heart is most certainly here and has been for a long, long time. I realized that more than ever just recently when looking through some Facebook posts from old friends back in Ohio, many of them acquaintances I have not spoken with -- other than through social media -- for many years.
I found myself combing through pictures, comments and other information from the likes of Val, Mark, Del, Norb and dozens of others. At one point in my life, we would run into each other on a daily basis, or close to it. Conversations were commonplace. They were all an important part of my life.
I'll never forget always bumping into Val in between classes at Madison High School in Mansfield, Ohio. She was one of the friendliest people I have ever known, so it's no surprise that she is now a successful real estate executive in Oklahoma.
Mark and I played baseball together for years and were always friends through similar interests. He went on to become a pastor and now teaches at one of the local universities. He's also overcome a series of heart attacks and has had a remarkable impact on his community.
Del and I long shared a mutual love for the Indians and Browns and were inseparable for more than 30 years. I found he now lives in Florida and roots for the Tampa Bay Rays.
I recently discovered that one of Norb's sons, who works at a bank in Cincinnati, was one of the hostages in a much-publicized robbery attempt.
I'll admit, part of me felt a bit empty, finding out some of that information about my old buddies secondhand through Facebook. But another part of me said I should be grateful that we are still connected in some fashion. Maybe we don't talk every day like we once did so many years ago, but we have all thought enough of one another to make an effort to stay in touch all of these years later.
Oh, and one other thing concerning Thomas Wolfe. He also said the following:
"Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same."
That they will -- in your heart and in your mind, if nowhere else.
No matter where your heart now calls home.