You Can’t Go Home Again

Often, when I’m writing or researching material to post on this column, I find myself feeling a little down, knowing how many people have lost their homes or their peace-of-mind while trying to do battle with the scandalously corrupt Homeowners Association movement. I get hundreds of emails each day from people who’ve lost their homes or their net worth while trying to battle a movement that operates completely outside the guarantees of the First, Second and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Yes, as many of you know it can be a little depressing. Still, I’m not a negative personality. I always look for hope and pray for change.

On these long evenings that I set aside for research, I often have music playing in the background to keep my mind on an even keel. Right now, one of my favorites, James Taylor, is playing his song, Copperline.

It’s a song about his youth in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He sings about the row of moonshine stills along Morgan Creek which ran about a half mile from his boyhood home, and the magnificent night he lost his virginity.

“Took a fall from a windy height, I only knew how to hold on tight.

pray for love enough to last all night, down on Copperline,

Day breaks and the boy wakes up and the dog barks and the birds sing and the sap rises and the angels sigh,

“Tried to go back as if I could, all spec-house and plywood,

Tore up, and tore up good, down on Copperline.”

Chapel Hill, these days, is infested with the ‘new housing model’ which takes all the old neighborhoods and embeds them in the kind of concentrated, regulated housing that makes it impossible for our young to experience the complete innocence of youth. “All spec-house and plywood, tore up and tore up good….” It makes one want to weep for the destruction of the innocence we all wish we could have passed on to our children.

Thomas Wolfe, also a North Carolinian, wrote the 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, five words which are probably as true as any spoken. We can’t go home. Yes, we can return to the geographic spot where, in our youthful exuberance, we created memories and romance that can never be experienced again. But those moments of youthful innocence are gone forever.


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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