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What Feelings Come Up When You Go Back to Your Childhood Home?

Returning to your childhood home after years of being away can bring up a range of emotions and nostalgia. This week we are re-publishing an article from 2003 written by Anne Rackley.

Anne shares the story of two of the former Collins Kids that came back to the Collins Children's Home and what it was like for them to experience returning to the "old children's home".

"There's no easy way to describe the thoughts and feelings that seem to flood your soul."

The Street to My Grandmother's House was my Favorite Place

I will always remember the first time I returned to visit my mother and sisters in the town where I was born and raised during most of my childhood. There’s no easy way to describe the thoughts and feelings that seem to flood your soul.

In Albany, GA where I grew up, some of the places looked the same right down to the dirt. In other parts of town, not one building looked familiar. I once had to ask directions to the mall that wasn’t even a dream when I lived there.

I guess this is why the street leading to my grandmother’s house was my favorite place. Nothing ever changed in her neighborhood, except some of the houses that sported a new paint job. And the trees that lined the street where she lived did appear more luscious.

I remember feeling a little sad to learn that most of my high school friends had moved away. Going home can be a soothing experience. See, I told you it was hard to describe.

Two of "Our" Children Returned Home

Two of “our” children returned home this week and I am feeling a bit sentimental. Samantha and Jamie came to live with us at the children’s home when they were six and eight years old. Their brother, George, had come a year earlier so it was easy for them to adjust to their new family.

After staying two more years at Collins, they lived with their mom and stepdad before moving to Ohio. Unfortunately, a fatal accident took George’s life two years ago. Another two years have passed since the girls’ last visit.

It seems like “old home week” around our place – or as Jamie calls it, the “old children’s home.” Once again, the silliness and laughter of teenagers are bouncing off the walls. The place is buzzing with activity and I am in the kitchen – just like the old days.

That’s what going home is all about. It’s therapeutic to do the same things you enjoyed as a child with the advantage of a more appreciative perspective.

Life Changes as You Grow, but the Love from Your Family Doesn’t.

That’s what going home is all about. It’s therapeutic to do the same things you enjoyed as a child with the advantage of a more appreciative perspective. I asked the girls to share their own thoughts and feelings with you and they were happy to do so.

Jamie was the leader, as always. She began by expressing her thankfulness for the opportunity to live at Collins because she learned “good manners and self-discipline.” Jamie says she also learned about “family devotion and love.” And she appreciates the encouragement she continues to receive from Joe and me. Jamie summed up her feelings by saying, “Life changes as you grow, but the love from your family doesn’t. There’s no place like a good home!”

Sam's Best Memories were Eating Bacon and Pancakes

Samantha, a more timid teenager, says that while she does not remember as much since she was only six years old when they came to live with us, she was really excited to see everything again.

When I asked, “Sam” how she felt, she said, “I was surprised to see that so many trees have been cut down around Seneca. Hmm. I think that’s the look of progress.” Sam’s best memories involve eating. She really liked bacon and Dalora’s Saturday morning pancakes.

Her favorite activities included the family trips we made together and ice-skating. Sam is enjoying the opportunity to see some of the folks that she knew and “looking at the pictures on the kitchen door.”

That door is totally covered with pictures of many of the children who have lived at the children’s home. There’s a lot of history on that door. And what did Sam say was her most fun activity for this trip? Eating - again.

Much of my time this week has been spent in the kitchen because it is one of my greatest pleasures to cook for my children. Joe and I are experiencing cholesterol overload since they made the request for fried chicken with gravy, fried potatoes with onions, biscuits, chipped beef and gravy, more biscuits and the list goes on. If I listed it all, you might get sick.

Collins Home Provides A Positive Learning Experience for the Children

A family friend named Dan was the driver for the girls' trip from Ohio because Diane did not want her girls to travel alone. Dan is a nice guy and we have enjoyed getting to know him.

After his first few days in Oconee County, I was interested in his comments about Collins Home and our community. He says that it is particularly interesting that Collins provides such a positive learning experience for the children, teaching them everyday chores and helping them to make plans for their future.

He likes the family atmosphere at Collins. Our new Ohio friend likes our friendly community, the good Southern food, and the great weather. He commented about how clean it is in South Carolina should be proud.

He especially appreciated the opportunity to “view others and their life situations from a different perspective.” I think he had gained an even greater appreciation for Jamie and Samantha after spending a week reliving their childhood memories “in person.”

The faces, time, and places may be different, but some “family talk” outlives us all. I just heard Jamie yelling downstairs to Dan. “You know how to turn the lights off, son?” Yep – they are right at home and it feels really good.

Are you interested in being part of the Collins Children's Home Family? We have an opening for a houseparent couple,learn more here.

Or are you looking for ways to get involved with Collins Home?


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