Sometimes, you can go home again.
I am in my hometown for a couple days. My son is in a jazz performance here. This is the first time I am here and not staying at my parent’s house. It is weird. I’m visiting as a tourist.
The first thing I did after checking into the hotel and getting him settled in his conference workshop, was to search for coffee…and no Starbucks for me! I followed my instincts down High Street – the downtown – and made it to my street. I could not resist driving up the hill that as a kid we thought was so big.
My house that really is bigger than it looks; just looks so small on the outside! I own one that will take up two of the houses on this block. The back yard is still huge. I drove to the “court” where we kids used to have bike races and then drove down the hill to the “corner store” that was owned by a husband and wife. Wow.
I was snapping and posting pictures as fast as I could safely do and drive at the same time. My elementary school and all those stairs, the stairs up to the store! That grocery store (changed hands, of course) used to capture a lot of my dad’s paycheck what with six kids, five grandkids, and four adults to feed! I wonder how he did it!
Still being caffeine deprived, my wanderings took me east and I found mecca in what used to be a desert – even back then. An authentic, real, coffee shop!
I parked my rental in what used to be a hub of transient, low income homes that we were not allowed to go as a kid. It is being rehab, all with a sign calling for “entrepreneurs” to take part in the renovation that includes upscale homes with “granite counters” .
The coffee shop made me smile with the maintenance of the stained glass and the use of hard wood. I smiled even more when the barista told me they could absolutely make me a hazelnut caramel almond milk latte. That and a homemade scone just made my sleep deprived morning! I only had two hours of sleep before driving the two hours to get here, I needed my caffeine and that sip of 5-hour energy was not for me!
I am sitting here, remembering and feeling the heat of our summers as a kid and wondering how we managed to ride bikes, walk to the swimming pool, and generally just hang outside turning two or three shades of chestnut brown. We did not have sunscreen or water bottles or any of the things that parents slather their kids with today. My parents just told us to go out and play and be home before dark, in the summer, that meant long, long walks, stops at the corner store, coaxing across the bridge to get to the cool refreshing of the pool.
Today, I am choosing to remember the idyllic times growing up. Summers touring the state capitol or perusing the volumes in the city library. Stops through the shops “uptown” and if we were really good and it was a Friday, ice cold Pepsi cola in a bottle waiting for us for dinner.
Sometimes, you can come home again and smile; it is part of what makes me who I am.