A Novel by Brian Yeldell
Brian Yeldell’s experience with homecomings didn’t start off well. He attended his first one as a high school junior from Washington, D.C. He drove the 45 miles to Morgan State where his brother attended. He didn’t “get the vibe” and asked to go home early. Two years later, he had a change of heart.
Experiencing all of the pageantry of Morehouse College’s homecoming, complete with the spirit week leading up to the game, the many graduates and parents coming to town, pageants (different classes, state clubs, fraternities/sororities and school), the step shows, the coronation, the parade, the game and the parties, now 18-year-old Brian “got it.” He was reluctant to share as it would provide fodder for his brother, who would tease him over the years that he wanted to come home.
Fast forward almost 30 years and homecomings have become a staple for this writer, who went to experience the annual “lovefest” that is homecoming. There have been trips to The Florida Classic (Orlando), The Bayou Classic (New Orleans), The Magic City Classic (Birmingham, Alabama), homecomings from Howard to Hampton to NC A&T, to NC Central to Morgan State to Bowie State, of course, Morehouse and others have filled the fall calendar since the mid-’80s, including a trip to Los Angeles to see Southern University play Howard University.
In short, being there, talking about, writing about and loving homecoming is like air to many who go. If you have not gone to an HBCU homecoming, after reading Coming Home: A Homecoming Story, there will be a yearning, especially if you attended one of the schools. It will be just like you are there.
Just like the book, when going, you get a chance to see old friends, make new ones and rekindle old relationships. Even if you’ve never attended a homecoming before, reading about the environment will make you appreciate any and all friendships, from your youth to your neighborhood to high school, college or even getting together with old military buddies. All of it acts as a way and means to “come home.”
The book is about eight friends who have been away from school for 20 years but get together separately and intermittently over time. They talk, come to each others’ towns, go to events, ceremonies, even funerals for and with each other. As they are getting ready to get serious about life, they decide to have one big homecoming weekend and take a year to plan it out. Throughout, there are ups and downs, twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies, but they are there for each other. The weekend turns out to have several surprises, but to no one’s amazement, they have fun and love on each other, even if one or a few members are not there, either because of some romantic interlude and one getting uninvited after a history of not being the friend they all are or should be.
Brian Yeldell is a native of Washington, D.C., who has lived in other areas of the country but currently resides in Bowie. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Virginia. He has had several careers in accounting, finance and marketing and currently is a consultant, developer, writer and family man. His most important job is that of a father. He has written more than 300 essays and two books, with several in various stages of completion. He is a lover of life who tries to give good energy, positive vibes and sage advice.
You can reach Brian at BrianSYeldell@gmail.com or find him on Facebook.