I had set this blog up in readiness for going back into the “Rockport Timeline,” book so here we go!
We bring our baggage to remember the past
SUBSTITUTE [ROCKPORT] or [GLOUCESTER] or [LANESVILLE] for Maurilia
In Maurilia, the traveler is invited to visit the city and, at the same time, to examine some old postcards that show it as it used to be: the same identical square with a hen in place of the bus station, a bandstand in the place of the overpass, two young ladies with white parasols in place of the munitions factory. If the traveler does not wish to disappoint the inhabitants, he must praise the postcard city and prefer it to the present one, though he must be careful to contain his regret at the changes within definite limits: admitting that the magnificence and prosperity of the Metropolis Maurilia, when compared to the old, provincial Maurilia, cannot compensate for a certain lost grace, which however, can be appreciated only now in the old postcards, whereas before, when that provincial was before one’s eyes, one saw absolutely nothing graceful and would see even less today, if Maurilia had remained unchanged; and in any case the metropolis has the added attraction that, through what it has become, one can look back with nostalgia at what it was.
Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves. At times even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new ones are better or worse than the old, since there is not connection between them, just as the old postcards do not depict Maurilia as it was, but a different city which, by chance, was called Maurilia, like this one.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, Cities & Memory 5