You can’t go home again…

Waterford Township High… the school is gone.

In my memoirs, Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck, I wrote about those excursions when my folks moved our family from California to Michigan and back again. The trip in 1951 was California to Michigan where I started my high school experience in the tenth grade at Waterford Township High School.

I neglected to mention in Flyin’ Chunks that I took an art class at WTH and by 1953, as a senior, I was ask to design the cover of the school year book, The Waterlog, as well as  do a few sketches for the books interior. I appreciate that Jerry Gaultney, now of Bethesda, Maryland, was the Editor-in-Chief of the 1953 year book and posted a comment on my blog reminding me of my year book designing experience.

Unfortunately, my parents decided to move back to California that year.  I reluctantly had to leave WTH in the middle of my senior year and found myself back in California at Burbank High School. Although I designed the 1953 year book cover for WTH and was elected senior class treasurer; my picture doesn’t appear in the yearbook. But I am mentioned as having to relinquish my position as senior class treasurer.

During the 1980’s the Township built two new high schools in the area, apparently the WTH buildings were no longer sufficiently useful. The last class to graduate from Waterford Township High was the class of 1983. Waterford Township sold the property in 1999 and the school was demolished to make room for a shopping center.

My last home in Michigan was the little house my dad built on Highland Road, state highway M59. At some point in the past our tiny house was torn down, as were all of the houses along that road and today bustling business’s line highway M59 and have erased my rural past.

Thomas Wolfe wrote it, “You can’t go home again.” and John Steinbeck made it true.

The following from “Travels With Charley” by John Steinbeck

“The place of my origin had changed, and having gone away I had not changed with it. In my memory it stood as it once did and its outward appearance confused and angered me. …Tom Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory.”


10 Responses to “You can’t go home again…”

  1. Ralph Irish Says:


    WTHS may be gone as a physical structure, but it lives in the
    hearts of thousands who passed through.

    Please contact me about a series of Home Pages just for WTHS
    graduating classes. You can see that of 1953 at:

    Your name has been added to the 1953 Class Directory.

    My e-mail address is

    Thanks for some great thoughts about our former school, now
    called, “Kroger High”.

    Please consider Registering and becoming part of your Class of
    1953 by filling in a few blanks and a few paragraphs of ‘Bio’.

    Ralph Irish
    WTHS 1957

    • Faye Thomas Mapley Says:

      Nice Ralph!

    • Thanks Ralph, for the nice web site of our past class of 53. It will be fun to follow. I haven’t checked the class report but that’s next.

      • Ralph Irish Says:


        I am but one of many involved in these Home Pages. I was in
        the class of 57, and went through a similar experience. My
        family moved while I was in 10th grade, and I thought that the
        world had ended, until boating/waterskiing season started
        on Watkins Lake! Then, Detroit seemed quite a ways away in
        my memory.

        I hope that keeping your e-mail address and City & State masked was just an oversight on your part. There is a “Yes-
        No” check box for each of them. Only Registered WTHS people
        will ever see your e-mail address. Phone and street addresses
        are NEVER available to casual visitors or Classmates.

        Faye Thomas/Mapley steered me to your blog yesterday and
        I am a recent, happy subscriber. Keep ’em coming!

        Ralph Irish

  2. Burt Prelutsky Says:

    I’m the husband of your old high school classmate, Yvonne Stodgel. I was wondering what you meant by your reference to John Steinbeck. The only thing that came to mind was his “The Grapes of Wrath,” but he didn’t create the dust storms, but merely wrote about the effect they had. But those people were in Oklahoma and a few bordering states, not upper Michigan so far as I know.

    Regards, Burt Prelutsky

    • I read John Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley” years ago and in that book he quotes Thomas Wolfe who wrote a book entitled “You Cant’ Go Home Again”.

      The following from “Travels With Charley”

      “The place of my origin had changed, and having gone away I had not changed with it. In my memory it stood as it once did and its outward appearance confused and angered me. …Tom Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory.”

      Thanks Burt for your interest…

  3. Faye Mapley Says:

    You write eloquently Dorse..I enjoyed reading all.

    Faye Thomas Mapley

  4. Ralph Irish Says:


    Any later blog items since “You Can’t Go Home Again?”

    That is what comes up when I click on your bookmark.

    Ralph Irish – WTHS 1957

  5. Jerry Gaultney Says:

    Dorse –

    Enjoyed reading “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck.” Not only did I get caught up on the life and times of an old friend, it provided an interesting primer on film animation. I have seen all of your films and with 9 grand children, many of the have been viewed over and over again.

    Your early childhood reference to 108 Poplar Street, in Pontiac, rang a bell in my memory. I checked it out and found that I lived on East Howard Street, about 3 blocks away, at the same time. I also went to Wisner School in K-2nd grades, before migrating out M-59 to Waterford Township. We were likely in the same classroom, but after 70 years I have no recollection of the names and faces of a single Kindergarten classmate.

    Best to you…and keep on writing!

    Jerry Gaultney

    P.S. If Burt Prelutsky checks back, give my regards to Pee Wee.

    • Hi Jerry, thanks for writing. I do enjoy the responses to my book. I don’t remember any kindergarten classmates either. In fact it was an effort to remember enough about my past to write a book. That was 83,000 words had to come out of my head. Not sure there’s much left there but I hope to write a more specific book about the work I did.
      Hope you’re life is going well. Happy Holidays and thanks again for your comment.

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