Home for Christmas in Song

Home for Christmas in Song

Thomas Wolfe once proclaimed, “You can’t go home again.” And, to be frank, I’ve always felt that he was mistaken. If you’ve ever logged on to my site, you can plainly read my thoughts on that matter.

In 2005, Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles teamed up together for a megahit duet, where they asked my very question, “Who says you can’t go home?”

I was relieved to learn that others felt like I do in that regard.

Personally, I’ve found the path to return there and I make a homecoming trip multiple times per day during some holiday seasons. Even though my journey may not be to the same physical structure in which I was raised, I find myself often recalling fond memories of my two earliest homes.

Locating your home
As we age, and as our original homes sometimes fall into disrepair, baby boomers may find that the only way to get back home is through our memories. This phenomenon can take place during any period, but might be more meaningful during this holiday time of the year.

There is a good chance that your physical home structure may not even stand today. Society has become more mobile and some of us may have lived in more than just a couple of different homes. Sad, too, is the fact that not everyone’s early home life might be worth remembering. For those, I honestly feel sorry.

I guess I was blessed to have a great home life, no matter where I lived. And I’m willing to wager that most of you have some place, somewhere, of which you have many precious recollections of your place called home. And I will also bet that you, too, feel that you can indeed return there, anytime you wish.

No shortage of home in song
According to the words written in a poem by Brewster Higley and later put to music by Daniel E. Kelley, the cowboys in the West during the 1870’s believed that their home was “on the range.”

The Beach Boys, in the hit song “Sloop John B,recalled home in 1966 as a place to which they “want to go.” In fact, they begged, “Let me go home.”

Rock star Bruce Springsteen sang about his home in a song entitled “My Hometown.”

Who doesn’t know most of the lyrics in John Denver’s melody, “Country roads, take me home”?

The old hometown looks the same as I step down from the train” was an observation sung by Tom Jones in 1966. That tune still rings in my mind as he sang “The Green, Green Grass of Home.”

In 1969 Joe South asked, “Don’t it make you wanna go home, now? Don’t it make you wanna go home?”

Country recording group Lonestar referred to home in their title and lyrics as a place in which “I’m Already There.”

And we’re reminded in the song “Small Town,” by John Cougar Mellencamp, that our hometown doesn’t have to be a huge metropolis.

Home, I’ve heard, “is where the heart is.” However, personal perceptions of home are virtually limitless and as diverse as our very genetic makeup.

But, this is the Christmas Season...
And the scratchy sound of a twelve-inch vinyl record playing on an old Victrola, rotating under a worn needle, still makes me homesick. Nostalgia abounds when I hear the Christmas favorite sung by Perry Como in which he assures us “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays.”

Perhaps it’s the reference to our own State of Pennsylvania that strikes a favorable chord as I hear the lyrics below:

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
'Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze,
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!...
I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie

My parents had one of those old-fashioned record players and Perry Como was one of their favorite artists. I never dreamed I would miss that old, non-stereo sound, but I must admit that I do.

Johnny Mathis, another legend
And how could any baby boomers not identify with what might be the most sentimental home-centered Christmas carol of all time?

Recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943, this song was re-recorded in my era by Johnny Mathis. The theme was based on a soldier serving during the Second World War who knew he would not be home for Christmas.

The lyrics, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams,” might be the epitome of our train of thought during the Christmas Season.

Wherever you may be this Christmas, I sincerely hope that you, too, can find your way back home. Whether it is a physical structure, a real memory, or just a figment of your imagination, may you truly enjoy your return home…and may you feel the true Christmas spirit, too, for the entire season.

Author’s Note: This will be my last regularly scheduled submission to the papers as part of my column. The editors and publishers have welcomed me to submit new stories now and then and, for that, I am truly grateful. Feel free to drop me a line, if you desire, at dpotchak2012@gmail.com and have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927
From Left: Son, Steve - Dad, Frank - Mom, Anastasia (Makar) - Sons; John, Mike, Frank, Chuck (Author's Dad) - Twins, Pete & Mary - Daughter, Catherine. Photo taken in Wilmore, PA