Becoming whole through family life. Desserts help.
Driving a sporty rental car with the classic rock channel of my teen years playing The Doors, Love Her Madly, I headed to Scranton, PA, my childhood home where my parents and extended family waited for me. Maroni’s sausage pizza, my absolute lifetime favorite, waited for me too. As I drove by West Scranton Senior High School I sang my alma mater, “Blue and white are colors royal. Blue and white are always loyal.” My thirteen year old son laughed.
When I was my son’s age, I was already dreaming of moving away from the predictability of my hometown. I went away to college and kept moving. The last time I visited was eight years ago.
While it’s easy to become sentimental about a time and place from my past, especially when I’m not wrestling with the rough and tumble daily grind there now, I’m not inclined by nature or experience to wear rose-colored glasses. I base my love for my hometown on objective facts. It holds millions of my memories, silly, sad, and life-altering. It houses generations of my relatives. It bakes my aforementioned favorite pizza.
My hometown calls my longest term friends and acquaintances home for reunions, too. I was invited to a clam bake by high school friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since I graduated. They welcomed me with hugs and a beer, looked at pictures of my kids and told me they are gorgeous, and didn’t charge me a dime for the best clams I’ve had in years. Sweet!
My senior prom date was there, retired from the Army now working as a civilian in Afghanistan. He tells me he loves these high school buddies like brothers who have gone through battle together. He asks everyone, including me, if we’re happy. I am! I love my husband, kids and life in Arizona. And surprise, my happiness is bolstered because I’m grateful for my hometown and love the special people from there who still call me friend.
Gray Stripe Earned: The place and people who knew me as a kid hold a singularly important place in my life.