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Childhood Home Rediscovery

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"I can't believe it. It's all coming back to me. That was my bookshelf. And my toy chest. This place — this was my nursery..."

Many people tend to remember the place they grew up. Whether it was a suburban home, a ritzy manor, or even a cottage in a forest, chances are whoever lived in it as a child will have fond memories of growing up there.

And then there are those who have no idea of where they lived or have no memory of it at all. Whether it's because their home was destroyed, they had to travel to a new land, or they're just plain amnesiac, this person may long to see the place they grew up again.

Either way, imagine the surprise once they find it.

This will usually trigger a tidal wave of childhood memories, showing the character as a child, doing all sorts of activities there. If the place was destroyed, visiting the site could be enough to jog their memory. Of course, it may not have been the most fun or happy childhood...

Sub-Trope of Memory Tropes. Compare Amnesiac Hero, There's No Place Like Home, A Place Holds Memories, "Rediscovering Roots" Trip.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Faye Valentine suffers from amnesia for most of the series. In "Hard Luck Woman", thanks to a few breadcrumbs that lead her back to Singapore on Earth, her memories come flooding back. When she runs up to the top of the hill where her childhood house was, she finds there's nothing left but the foundation. She takes a stick and draws a line in the dirt to outline her bedroom and bed before laying down to look up at the sky.

    Comic Books 
  • After many years of amnesia brought on by overuse of her powers, Rogue eventually got her own memories back, and thus found her way back to the aunt who raised her as a child.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Anastasia, Anya goes to the abandoned Winter Palace in search of Dimitri so he can help her get an exit visa. Due to her amnesia, she doesn't know that she spent much of her childhood as the Grand Duchess Anastasia in this palace. But as she explores it, she feels as if it's "like a memory from a dream," then sings the song "Once Upon a December" (which unbeknownst to her, was a lullaby her grandmother used to sing) and has a fantasy/flashback of a grand ball with her family.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Forrest Gump, Jenny and Forrest are taking a stroll when they come across Jenny's old house, where she suffered much childhood abuse. She starts throwing rocks at it until she eventually just breaks down sobbing. Later on after Jenny's death Forrest has the place demolished.
  • Gooby: While Gooby and Willy are walking around in a forest, they stumble upon a run-down building that turns out to be Willy's dad's childhood home. Becomes a bonding experience between Willy and his dad when Willy falls through the floor.
  • In The Odd Way Home, Maya and Duncan visit the small, run-down house where Maya grew up with her Abusive Parents. Her mother is as cruel as ever, but her father is dead, and her mother gives her the ashes. Maya is surprised to see that her mother kept her childhood doll, but her mother tosses the doll into the fire as soon as the two of them leave.
  • Wild Thing: As an adult, Wild Thing stumbles upon the Hippie Van, now dilapidated and overgrown, in which he lived with his parents before their murder.

  • In His Dark Materials, after running away from Ms. Coulter, Lyra takes refuge among the Gyptians, who reveal to her that she was raised among them before Lord Asriel bught her to Jordan College.
  • In the Miss Marple novel Sleeping Murder, Gwenda Reed finds that the house she's moved into is where she lived as a toddler, though she'd had no conscious recollection of it.
  • In When My Heart Joins the Thousand, Alvie drives Stanley to the now-deserted house in the countryside where she lived with her mother for eleven years before becoming a Foster Kid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of The Gifted (2017) sees Blink tracking down and returning to the orphanage where she grew up.
  • Subverted in season 2 of Once Upon a Time, when Snow and Emma get trapped in the Enchanted Forest. Snow and Emma stumble upon the room Snow and Charming had decorated as Emma's nursery, but Emma didn't actually spend any time in. The memories are Snow's, and she laments the memories Emma should have, of that room and their family, but doesn't.

  • Fond memories of growing up in their childhood home — and often revisiting the home for the first time after many years away — has been a common theme of many of country music's most memorable recordings:
    • "Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn is perhaps the most prevailing example. Released in late 1970, this was a departure from Lynn's earlier material about dealing with male-dominated relationships, women's liberation and asserting herself in the relationship. It is an autobiographical song about her life growing up in a ramshackle cabin in the remote Kentucky coal-mining community of Butcher Holler, detailing about how her father worked many hours in the Van Lear coal mine to provide a small income for his family. Despite their poverty, there was always love and support in the household, and it formed the then-unmarried Loretta Webb's early values. The song provided the background for her autobiography and, in 1980, a movie on her life, and helped Lynn become one of country music's most beloved and famous icons. By the way, the trope kicks in at the end, when the now-famous Lynn refers to driving by her old childhood home and seeing it now abandoned and fallen into a state of disrepair ("not much left but the floor/nothing lives here anymore/'cept the memories of a coal miner's daughter").
    • "Mama Sang a Song," a 1962 hit by Bill Anderson. Here, a young touring musician who has now become famous reflects on his childhood memories of growing up poor but in a house filled with love and Christian values, and memories of his mother's strong faith in God and her beautiful voice singing favorite hymns. The trope kicks in during the final verse, whereby the now-grown man stops by his now-abandoned childhood home, shortly after his mother's death, and he reflects on how it was once filled with life and love.
    • "Traces Of Life," a 1974 comeback hit by the duo Lonzo and Oscar. Rollin "Oscar" Sullivan and a number of different Lonzos (at this point, David Hooten), the duo was — along with Homer and Jethro —- best known for comedy material, with their best-known song "I'm My Own Grandpa." In 1973, they recorded an album that was a departure from their usual comedy, this one of ballads, and sentimental and Christian songs, and in the winter of 1974, their song "Traces of Life" provided them a brief comeback. The song is a tribute to those people who, now having passed away, made a difference in their lives while growing up, and the lyrics indicate they were thinking about these people — an old neighbor lady, their mother and others — as they were driving through their hometown.
    • "The Roots of My Raising" by Merle Haggard. His 23rd No. 1 hit in early 1976, the song is a young singer's first-person reflection of his childhood home and hometown, which he is visiting for the first time after several years away. In addition to seeing his father asleep in an easy chair and holding a photo of his wife (the singer's mother), he also rediscovers the old one-room schoolhouse he attended as a child, and the bank where people were able to take out loans simply on a verbal promise of repayment.
    • "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert is about a now-famous touring musician who tours her childhood home, long after it had been sold to new owners. She gets permission to walk through the house, her childhood bedroom, back yard and elsewhere in the house, recalling the memories of growing up and learning about life and values. A multi-week No. 1 hit in 2010, "The House That Built Me" helped Lambert win a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • Simon & Garfunkel's last major hit together, 1975's "My Little Town" is a bittersweet reflection of a young man's hometown as he visits for the first time in several years. After the usual memories of school, riding his bike past the old factory, his mother hanging sheets in the wind and so forth, the return home recalls a different kind of memory: A restless desire to leave for the bright lights of bigger towns, and an implication that many younger people have also left for greener pastures ("Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town"). The second musical guests on Saturday Night Live when it debuted in October 1975, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were the musical guests and performed this song as part of their set list.

    Video Games 
  • This is a major plot point in Final Fantasy VIII. At the start of the game, there's an off-hand statement in a news article that the Guardian Force creatures that people can summon occupy a part of your memory, and minor amnesia may result. It's because of this, that when Squall, Selfie, Quistis, Irvine, and Zell discover an abandoned orphanage, it suddenly dawns on all of them that this was where they all grew up in as kids. A bigger reveal comes that they remember who ran it, and who that person became.
  • Downplayed during Jack's Loyalty Mission in Mass Effect 2. Jack takes Shepard to the old Cerberus facility where she was experimented upon as a kid, looking for a suitable place to put a giant bomb and blow the whole place to smithereens. As the make their way through the facility, however, the discover old logs and even a living witness, which reveal that Jack's memories of the place are not exactly accurate, partly due to trauma and partly due to not seeing the whole picture as a child.
  • This is the basic plot of The Trader of Stories Chapter III, which begins as Amnesiac Hero Myo arrives at her home village.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons episode "Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", Abe takes Homer to the farmhouse where they lived before moving to Springfield, but visiting the house causes Homer to have flashbacks of Abe being a neglectful and unsupportive father towards him, and they have an argument which ends with Homer vowing never to speak to Abe again. They reconcile at the end of the episode... as the farmhouse burns to the ground.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: As quoted above, in the episode "Monster Bash", the temple Star is throwing her monster/mewman party in was Miss Heinous' nursery, and revealed that she is a member of the Butterfly family, namely, Queen Eclipsa's daughter.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter is still a child, and thus obviously still lives in his actual childhood home, but this trope is played with in "Lab Of the Lost"; while testing his latest invention, Dexter ends up stranded in the oldest, abandoned parts of his massive secret laboratory, so far away that he can't reach his Master Computer and be rescued. While searching for any useful resources, Dexter comes across a simple little toy (a box that lit up a lightbulb and rung a bell when you pushed a button) that he realises is actually his very first invention, back when he was still an infant.
    Dexter: Hey, I remember you! But I haven't seen you since- *Dexters eyes widens at the memory*


Video Example(s):


Homer's old home

Abe takes Homer to the farmhouse where they lived before moving to Springfield, but visiting the house causes Homer to have flashbacks of Abe being a neglectful and unsupportive father towards him, which eventually leads to them having an argument and Homer disowning his father.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChildhoodHomeRediscovery

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