There’s an old saying and a song or two lamenting over the fact that you can’t go home again. It’s interesting to think about the implications of what that really means. It’s not that you can’t get in your car, a plane or some other obscure mode of transportation to physically take you there. Is there a force field you’ll have to maneuver through? No. It actually means that after you’ve left the place where you were raised and go on to other parts of the world or just down the road, when you return home — you’ve changed. Now, for me change is a good thing, but there are times in everyone’s life that you think about your past, your childhood and a life you left behind. Recently, I spent a weekend in my hometown — a Downriver community near Detroit — to visit my good friend from high school and my Goddaughter. It was fun and a real treat to be there reminiscing about my wild and crazy youth. Okay, so maybe not that wild and crazy, but when we recall our past we sometimes add some fun embellishments for a more tantalizing memoir, right? It was interesting because I don’t get back there very much anymore and as I was driving around I really started to feel very disconnected from the place where I had a paper route with my brother, babysat multiple kids on my neighborhood street, hung out on the railroad tracks with my friends (not recommended, boy what was I thinking?), kissed a boy for the first time and found my way around town avoiding the very-busy Telegraph Road because my mom was too nervous to let me drive on it. It almost felt like I was remembering a movie. Some of the parts were vivid and in focus and others were hazy and a bit scattered. I drove past the house I grew up in and was a little saddened when I didn’t get the warm and fuzzy feelings I expected. It wasn’t because I didn’t have great memories in that house of my family gatherings, arguing with my brothers, playing frozen tag in the front yard and basketball in the driveway. I think it’s because that house on Cornell Street is not my home anymore. No one I know lives there. Now, that building is just a vessel while a home is created by a gathering of people with a sense of belonging and community. So, the fact is you can go “home” again, but it may not seem like home anymore. My home is about people and is much less associated with a town or a building where my belongings dwell. Therefore, I call Lansing my hometown. I love this place. It’s where I spend time with my favorite fella, hang out with my boys, have adult beverages with the girls and spend the better part of my day with the team here at M3/CAWLM. It feels good. I also think that people like Alfreda Schmidt, who spent their lives making our home a better place to live just because she’s listening to the needs of the community. In fact, Alfreda Schmidt is the epitome of what makes a community work. She loves her hometown so much; she’s prepared to put the time in to help make the environment a better place for all. Congratulations to Alfreda for the honor bestowed on her recently. In my opinion, it was certainly well deserved. If everyone had her dedication, all communities would be sweeter. Thanks for giving our hometown a stronger sense of place. At CAWLM, we try to connect with our community, listen to what our readers want and give back whenever possible. With the Lady Classic Golf Outing, we bring women from all areas of the community together to network, have a little fun and support a charity. This year, we gave resources to Ending Violent Encounters or EVE, which is a shelter for women who are in abusive situations. This organization is vital for helping women and their children escape terrible home lives. Our donation will go to a program aimed at arming teenage girls with information about what healthy relationships look like. I’m proud that we can be a small part of something so important. We’re well into our 2012 fall season and I have to say that I’m thrilled to get some sweaters out, watch a little football and prepare for the Christmas Creep (read Pete Ruffing’s column for details.) It’s the best time of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas — so close you can taste it. Bring on the candy corn, turkey and sugar cookies.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.