Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.


This is a preview to the chapter NO GOING bACK from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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As sad as I was to leave Norway, I was happy to be home. A wave of patriotism washed over me as we entered the International Arrivals Hall at Newark Airport, and I saw the enormous red, white and blue flag hanging on the wall, with a sign that read Welcome to the United States of America. Six months was a long time to be away from home. We were separated from Harry as the children and I moved towards the ‘US Citizens only’ line, and he headed in the direction of ‘Visitors and Non US Residents.’ As I stood in line, passport in hand, and the children wearily circling around me, I heard a familiar noise. It was the sound of people chattering, and for the first time in months, I understood without any effort, what they were saying. I was among my people again, I was home, God Bless America!

My excitement began to fizzle the minute we pulled up to the house and I saw the uncut grass, dried up and burning in the summer sun. Inside, there was furniture missing, the cat was locked in the basement and judging by the smell, had been for sometime. The back yard was in worse shape than the front. The pool cover, which was heavy with rain water, had apparently slipped into the pool on one end. We decided to remove the cover at once and get the filter running. I was horrified by the sight as we pulled back the cover. The pool water was dark brown with leaves floating and insects hovering on the surface. Green slime clung to the walls and a putrid smell rose up from what used to be a sparkling blue oasis.

“Does it always look like this when you take off the winter cover?” Harry asked, looking surprised and disgusted.

“No, but this cover should have been taken off a month ago, or at least the rain water should have been pumped off it. How are we ever going to get this clean?” I cried. I hadn’t been home an hour and was already feeling desperately overwhelmed.

“Lots and lots of chlorine should do the trick,” he answered, and his unwavering calmness seemed to somehow settle my worried soul.

Tony had been waiting at the airport, he handed me the key to the house, took the children and their luggage, and then disappeared without so much as a word. Three days went by before Michele called, saying everything was fine, but she didn’t know when they’d be coming home. She said she was not allowed to give me Dad’s new telephone number, but she’d call back in a few days.
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