The Homecoming Seasons: An Irish Catholic Returns to a Changing Long Island is a deeply moving memoir of a returning native's re-experience of his childhood community. After many years abroad as a graduate student at Cambridge, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, and as a country program director of health care and agricultural programs in central Africa, James MacGuire returned to New York and spent most of the 1980s at Time Inc., Macmillan and the Manhattan Institute.
In 1990 he married and several years later, with a second child on the way, he and his wife decamped from Manhattan for a small enclave called the Isle of Wight in the village of Lawrence on the south shore of Long Island, where MacGuire had grown up.
This book tells the story of MacGuire’s return to this world—how it had evolved from ancient times; been inhabited by indigenous peoples; colonized by the Dutch and English; and then grew from a sparsely populated agricultural corner of western Long Island to an early summer resort, then an outer, and, finally, an inner suburb of New York City.
Jamie MacGuire skillfully weaves memories of his childhood in this almost hidden world with sketches of his family and their friends before updating his account with a lovingly detailed, diary-like depiction of returning. His parents’ friends now much older, the community more diverse, as he, his wife and children make new friends as they proceed into this changed world. He captures in cinematic detail the wonder of the wetlands and surrounding natural world, the poignant life, death and rebirth of community, the joys and sorrows of marriage and parenthood, and the profound exultation of safely shepherding two beloved sons to triumphant adulthood.
This is an uplifting literary memoir that will earn and deserve the widest possible audience.
James P. MacGuire was born in New York, grew up on Long Island, and was educated at Johns Hopkins and Cambridge. After serving as country program director for Catholic Relief Services in Burundi, he has worked at Time Inc., Macmillan, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the UK Catholic Herald. His poetry, fiction and journalism have appeared in many national publications.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Isle of Wight
Chapter 3: Early Years, 1994–1997
Chapter 4: Looking Back at the Sixties
Chapter 5: High Hopes/ Steep Struggles
Chapter 6: Losses, 2001–2004
Chapter 7: A New Chapter, 2005–2008
Chapter 8: Passages
Chapter 9: Superstorm Sandy
Chapter 10: Lanie, 2013–2015
Chapter 11: Renewal, 2016
Chapter 12: Pierce and Alex
Chapter 13: Twenty-five Years and Moving On
Chapter 14: Envoi
About the Author
In this luminous, loving, bittersweet yet redemptive memoir MacGuire raises personal biography to a higher plane as he engages what the late priest-sociologist Andrew Greeley defined as the Catholic Imagination: the art of seeing the details of this world in all its variety—from the mundane to the sublime—as sacramental. His touch is light, his wit sparkling, his descriptions evocative. Oscar Wilde got it right: 'life imitates art.' MacGuire's artful landscape with figures is life-enhancing.
A wonderful memoir of a place on Long Island that time forgot.
Jamie MacGuire has again written with a clarity of expression, a felicity of phrase and a cadence of tone about characters and venues close to his tone and his memory.
The Homecoming Seasons is a pure, beautiful recollection of life on the South Shore of Long Island during a time when the author raises his family and recounts how nature changes during the seasons… Anyone who has hit middle age will love this book and people who love to read about life and philosophy will pick it up and never put it down.
The Homecoming Seasons is wonderfully well written. Readers who have never been to Cedarhurst, never had family, never had friends, never played a sport, never looked up to someone or never struggled with life will adore this book. Those who have lived—are living—some or all of those things will enjoy it even more.
This wonderful book describes the triumphs and travails of a family written by a literary man who is always looking below the surface of events and beyond the confines of the ordinary. He is observant of nature, history, customs, parenthood, and what it is to lead a full life.