Only, it's possible that after hanging out in Oz, with all those wonderfully wounded characters like The Lion, Dorothy couldn't feel at home in plain-vanilla Kansas.
Sure, she still had that mindset of "home." And, post-Oz, she might have gone in search of what could become home. Isn't that most of our stories?
Home, for me, had been in my childhood and in my mental constructs New Jersey. More specifically, Jersey City and the Jersey Shore. No matter where else I have gotten a driver's license I never forgot where home was. It had been 15 years since I had been back to check it out.
Since I am back on the east coast, late this week, I made it a must to drive the six hours to the two parts of NJ where I had formed such deep memories.
Certainly my dog, which isn't named "Toto," and I experienced what was immediately familiar - and comforting. There was the jammed Garden State Parkway during rush hour. So many talked just like me - in a heavy NJ accent, with all its intrusive "r" sounds. And, the verbal interaction was very direct.
However, I shouldn't have been surprised that much else wasn't familiar.
In the 1950s, we all seemed to live in tenements. And all the neighborhoods were safe. This week I got it that the safe neighborhoods were the gentrified ones. And those I couldn't afford. The old-line machine city has morphed into The Wall Street and Media Across the Hudson. Don Draper from "Mad Men" would fit right in.
The Jersey Shore was no longer where poor families could hang out. It had become a mix of lux condos and tourist traps. You know the latter is in play when too many storefronts have a neon sign flashing "Psychic."
In my own versions of Oz, I had figured out who I was. Essentially, it was back to the simple, direct person I have been until age 18. Then, I had ventured out. Bit by bit I lost myself. Over the past three years, it was through radical choices of relocating first to Arizona, then eastern Ohio, that I put back together the brash Jersey Girl I had been.
Before I actually got back to my house, I swung by Firestone. The car's computer dashboard had signaled a problem. The guys there seemed a composite of the best of how I remember NJ and how I am positioning and packaging OH in my mind.
That's what we humans do: Code the program for "home" in our brains. If we are successful at that, we are reasonably happy.
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