You Can Go Home Again…But Do I Want To?

The kids and I just returned from an eight-day trip to the East Coast. My cousin got married, and as long as we were going back East to attend the Long Island wedding, I figured we’d pop up to the Boston area to check out a few colleges for Danny, maybe see some old friends, visit with family in the New York-New Jersey area….

The best-laid plans, as they say. Danny changed career paths about a month ago, so until he figures out where he wants to go to college, there’s not much point in visiting campuses, other than driving through some just to say we’ve been there. My sisters-in-law were away with their families. We did spend a few hours visiting one because she lives not even half an hour from where we were staying for the wedding. And we did have a lovely visit with our former neighbors; in fact, we stayed with them, across the street from our old house. It happens that while we were there, yet another family was moving in, having bought the house from the people who purchased it from us. The house was suffering from a kind of benign neglect. My rose bushes had all been taken out; all that was left was a single, blackened stump with fungi growing from it. The swing set had been removed because it had deteriorated, leaving in its stead the giant sandbox, now badly overrun with weeds, in which we had originally erected the set. Overgrown, too, was the area behind the sandbox; I couldn’t find the pink and white lilacs we had planted. It was painful to see. We hoped to see a Red Sox game, but they were sold out. We wanted to go watch the Patriots practice, but on the day we wanted to do that, practice was in the morning, and that was when Danny and I had an appointment to visit Boston University. After that visit, Danny and I stopped by Barry’s old law firm. While it was fun seeing his former partners, it was bittersweet.

We did enjoy the cookout our host had for all our former cul-de-sac neighbors. It was pleasant catching up with one another. I reveled in our visit to Skipjack’s, an old favorite, where I had proper steamers with drawn butter and whole fried clams–no fancy wine-and-garlic broth or processed clam strips served, thank you very much. And the visit to the Patriots’ pro shop was fun, even if I did get a little carried away. Did Sparky really need a Patriots dog leash? And a Patriots food mat? Did I actually think Danny will use that Patriots book cover?

So what did I learn from our visit? Well, mosquitoes still love me. I have bites all over my ankles and arms to prove it. And humidity and my hair still don’t get along. I didn’t get the chance to have “real” apples, but I suspect there will be a fall tour of Boston-area colleges on Danny’s and my schedule, so that chance will present itself another time. (Oh, to see foliage. Fall foliage. Or, as Danny says, “Leaves, Mom. They’re leaves.”)

Mostly, I learned that while it was nice visiting, I’m happy where I am. Yes, I miss autumn. But I don’t miss slush, humidity, mosquitos, or sudden thunderstorms. It was more than 100 degrees here today in Westlake Village, but I’ll take that over 80 degrees with 80 percent humidity any day. Just send a few cider donuts my way come fall.