grown ups are like that....

Monday, October 11, 2010

post cards

Dear Mom,

Last week we decided to take the kids to visit our friends back in Virginia where we went to graduate school. As you know, the school is located in a town which is a very popular tourist destination, so we have decided to go all out on this trip and see as many of the attractions in the area as possible.

But it is odd, surreal even, to be back in the place where, in many ways, I grew up. In 1995 I came here to graduate school as an incredibly naive young woman of only 21 with nothing but a couple of suitcases and a bicycle. I left many years later with a master's degree in one hand and a baby in the other. The baby is almost ten years old now. The diploma is buried under other papers somewhere in our study.

Lots of love,

Hi Nadine,

I had to ask for directions to the visitor's center today which was all at once frustrating and embarrassing. I should know this for Christ's sake. After all, I lived and worked here for years and years. But despite feeling that I have come home I also feel utterly lost. I blamed it on the development that has exploded around the edges of the town as more and more retirees are moving to the area in recent years. Road signs have been changed here and there, and new houses have sprouted everywhere. But in my heart I know that my feeling of being lost has little to do with the changes that have occurred in my absence and more to do with the fact that, despite missing my freinds here in Virginia, I utterly, and completely, closed the door on a life I will never go back to.

See you soon,
"Lost in the 'Burg"


Dear Michelle,

We went to see the R. Charlton's, a reconstruction of an 18th century coffee house, today. As we waited for our tour to begin, I told the kids about the day 14 years before when everyone in town stopped work to see the 19th century house that had stood for a century atop the ruins of the older coffee house moved out of the historic district. People lined the road and watched as the enormous yellow house paraded down the street to its new destination. It did not go quietly or easily, though. That old Victorian put up a fight as it tore down tree branches and threatened to to topple passers by on it's way out. Left behind was nothing but a rough scar of dirt and brick.

B. seemed only mildly interested in the story. She perked up a little, though, when I mentioned that our friends here in town were the very archaeologists who excavated and researched the coffee house. She laughed with me when I told her of the day that I, too, was pulled from the archaeology lab, grumbling and grouchy, to finish up some work at the site one cold fall day before winter set in halting out door work until spring.

E., though, was only interested in getting in out of the unusually hot October sun and tasting the hot chocolate that would be served. I expected the drink to be bitter and strong, and I worried that the 18th century treat would not be to the liking of this very picky six year old. But he loved it, probably because it is actually not at all like the colonial chocolate that would have been served over 200 years ago. Instead it was a spiced dark confection created by the Mars Candy Company to appeal to the many tourists who frequented the tour.

Maybe we'll just go to Elizabethtown next time. haha

love ya,

P. S. I bought you a little gift today.

Dear Anne,

So today we visited the Governor's Palace, which was pretty impressive. Can you believe that Paul lived here all these years and never saw it? Anyway, you should have seen the interpreter. She was very into her role as an 18th century woman of privilege and her over-the-top enthusiasm made me chuckle.

After the tour we explored the gardens, and I later discovered that I lost my admission ticket in the hedge maze behind the palace. As I ran, annoyed, back and forth trying to find it, I was suddenly overcome with the memory of the last time I was lost in this maze about 15 years before. Except instead of a warm October morning it was a dark, humid summer night. The memory of it stopped me in my tracks. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. It was quite a little adventure and a sweet, nostalgic memory, really.

Oh, in case you were wondering I did find my ticket, so we were able to see the rest of the attractions that weekend.

Miss you tons. Let's have lunch sometime when I get back.
love, love, love,


Hi Lisa!

Thanks so much for hosting us last weekend. We had such a wonderful time, and I miss you so much already. Yesterday E. was in the bath crying his little head off. When I asked him what was wrong he said, "I just want to go back to Virginia!"

I asked him what he missed most about the trip, and his simple and emphatic response was: "LISA!!"

That little boy just fell in love with you, my friend. But how could he not? You are just so dear to us. It was so hard saying good-bye to you, Kelly, and Mark, and I hope to see you all again very soon. I'm going to spend some time with the kids showing them the e-map you created, so that they can remember all that we saw.

But for now we are home where I won't get lost or feel out of place. Our feet are firmly planted here in Western New York, but you know a little bit (ok a big bit) of my heart is down south in Virginia.

Missing you,


painted maypole said...

this is a great way to tell a story.

looks like a wonderful trip. :)

Anonymous said...

Now I want to take a trip! Sound like you had a good one - thank for sharing it.

flutter said...

Oh I love this! I wish I could have come along

Michelle Beadle Castania said...

I love this and I love you. These post cards show the full circle of "going home" and truly sharing your "childhood" with your kids. And I love the fact that even though I was not there, you made me feel a part of it too!
love you -Michelle

Anonymous said...

Love this!

Momma said...

I remember taking you to Williamsburg and having to leave you there....Ohhhh, how sad and scared I was to leave my girl all alone and so far away from me. I cried for days and days. It was almost as bad as taking you to kindergarden. But look at all that you have accomplished and what great and beautiful memories that you have. I hope you are as proud of Chrissy as I am. BTW, isn't Williamsburg the place where you picked up that name "Christine" :)
Love you!

InTheFastLane said...

Things and perspective and our concept of "home" sure changes and evolves, doesn't it?

Loved seeing your trip this way.

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