I arrived home to this beautiful little peninsula late Wednesday night. Driving over the Sagamore Bridge does something internally to all of us natives. It’s a fluttering in the tummy excitement to be back home.
Memories flooding. Emotional wrangling and upheaval of my life as I now know it. I have forgotten how sweet and sleepy my hometown really is. I have lost touch with what is really important.
My first walk in and about my childhood neighborhood with my cute rescue puppies brought flashes of hilarious, sad and pivotal moments of my life.
I walked towards Cogswell and up Montague. As I walked by Marlene Perry’s house, I recalled the day when I picked up Anthony and threw him across the lawn when a hornet got up under my school dress and stung me. I know….tossing one’s brother in his car seat is not generally a great way to impress the babysitter!
I had my first drinking experience at Kim Cabral’s house and it was not pretty at all. That story is for another blog entry altogether. As the puppies sniffed every blade of grass and inhaled every childhood memory I moved slowly along the street to take in every video clip in my mind.
As I walked back down Payson facing the Price’s home, I recalled spending a lot of time with my next door neighbors, Kristy and Laura price. With a beautiful home and wonderful parents,this home was more like a Stepford Wives setting far outside of my life experience on Payson Path.
I gazed at the small home on Payson Path that is under complete renovation. I remember the shy but kind Caroline and Colin and their sweet dog Ruben….. I more remember how sad I was when I learned that Ruben had disappeared and was never found.
Walking down Payson Path towards the morning bus stop was so surreal.
As I meandered through the old neighborhood….I recalled vivid moments with David and his brother Peter. The day that our neighbors little dog ate a chicken bone and died right in front of us. The sadness of our little Nutmeg getting hit by a truck when our neighborhood was still under construction. Walking past the house that hosted a huge “parent’s are gone party” and getting busted by the YPD. None of us even thought about the implications of drinking and driving. We walked everywhere. The house on the corner that seemed more like a quiet, uneasy home than a vibrant dwelling with six children living inside. The home of Frankie’s best friend’s Peter and his sister Kerri. The home of Mark’s best friend’s Lisa and Stephen. We spent more time at the dinner tables at our friends some days than our very own home. It was an escape for us. We felt at home no matter where we went in our neighborhood.
We lived in a time when the streetlights were our indicator to get home. When our parents screamed our names to summon us back in for baths, homework and bedtime. We did not worry about anything other than who was playing pitcher for our daily kickball game on the corner of Dunster Path. We did not have call waiting, cable, cell phones or computers. We had stereos, land line phones, the library and our own two feet. We played cards, backgammon, Scrabble and Yahtzee. Our nights were truly filled with stargazing and people watching on “the wall”. Anyone from here knows exactly where “the wall” is located.
We also grew up in a neighborhood where we all knew the names, pets and lives of everyone. We also knew the phone numbers of each of our friends. I still can recall my childhood home phone number (617-394-4426) and the phone number’s of all of my pals. We did not have contact lists stored in phones, we recalled these numbers because we dialed them over and over and over again. We knocked on doors, explored the marshes at the boardwalk beach and scoured for cans and bottles to bring to the recycling center for money.
Every evening , we walked by Mr. Wilson’s home to witness taps playing in the background while lowering his front flag; we stood in salute to Mr. Wilson and his service while he folded the flag for safekeeping until the morning. He would wave out to me every day and lovingly called me “Princess Christina of Sweden”. All the kids loved Mr. Wilson and the kindness he generously extended to the kids of the neighborhood. Our parents knew that neighbors always kept a watchful eye on us while dancing on the streets and staying out past dinner hour.
As I arrived back to my starting point on Payson Path, I flashed forward to my high school days with Marybeth, David, Sean, Pam and Denise and the young adults that we grew into. Funny, mischievous but savvy kids who loved theater, singing, music and dancing. David and I would dance on the front lawn of my mothers house practicing our disco moves. The group of us walked up to the beach every Saturday morning to spend the day sunning on the shores of Smugglers Beach in Yarmouth.
When I walked my dogs today and recall the sweet childhood that I am blessed to have experienced, I am flooded with the gratitude that I never embraced as a teen and young adult. It is such a beautiful lesson in being in the very moment. Each moment is the one we can embrace. And everything else is a memory or an unknown.
I am glad to be home. I am blessed to be back to me, even if only for the week. I am so happy to be in this space of wonderment that I have not experienced in years; living in the big city of Washington, DC can do that to a small town girl.
My first boss in DC said it so beautifully: “Christina, you are a small town girl with a big city attitude”. Those words rang through my mind at every turn along the way during my walk down Payson Path this morning.
As I listen to this song I am reminded of the person that I truly am. At the heart of my being and the core of my soul.
It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again…..
I am home.
30 Best Days.