Over Christmas, writer Anthony Doerr took his family from Idaho--the part without chicken coops anymore, apparently--back to his childhood home in Novelty, Ohio. He wrote about it, and about retracing memories and history, for The Morning News:
Lines sharpen, contours deepen. We return to the places we're from; we trample faded corners and pencil in new boundaries. "They grow up so fast," seemingly everyone tells us, gesturing at the kids. But they're wrong. You bury your childhood everywhere you go. If my sons are lucky enough to keep their memories, their childhood will wait, all their lives, for them to come and dig it back up.Letter From Idaho: "We Are Mapmakers" by Anthony Doerr [tmn]
In six days at my parents' house my sons have learned how to say "rocks," "heavy," and "snowman." They've learned the names of their cousins, and the smell of a chicken coop, and each one took, for the first time in his life, a warm brown egg out of a laying box and carried it to the house through the backyard snow.