Ed, Bill, Joanne and Donna Dorgan: 2005

This photo was taken in the summer of 2005 at the home of Mike and Joanne Dooley in Smithfield, Rhode Island. I was living at Fort Lauderdale, Florida at that time and I was getting prepared to move to Panama City, Panama.  I had not visited Rhode Island in seven years. I left North Scituate (Hope), Rhode Island in 1998. Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” The phrase “you can’t go home again” has entered American speech to point out how human nostalgia is weighted with both an inaccurately positive bias (“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”) and an inability to appreciate the changes wrought by time on places and people we remember as static and permanent. In general terms, it means that attempts to relive youthful memories are never as fulfilling as during their initial creation. And he’s right. But, a visit, although infrequent, wells up in the soul feelings of times gone by, which can never be replicated, but which will make you smell the musty smells of those halcyon days as if they were happening all over again. And for a moment you are transported and transfix to a time that only memory can retain and only the heart can fully understand.

It would be another 11 years before time once more stood still for another glance and another smell. In 2016 I returned for a sweeping New England trip through Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to visit my dear high school friend Peter Scagnelli and my oldest and dearest friend, Mary Dugan, in the company of David Witcher, my special guy.