J and I have just returned from our trip back to Connecticut!
This is 321 Alma Drive.
It is where my little sister B and I grew up. I lived in this ranch style house for just over 18 years. My B lived there with our Mom and our Granny till I believe, B was in her 20's.
Our parents, bought and built this house back in 1961. The year I was born. If I recall what I have been told correctly, we had moved in on my first birthday! My bedroom was in the back right-hand corner and B's is to the right of the front door. I can't even imagine how many layers of my family's life, is in the walls and foundation of this house. If it could talk.
Each visit back to Connecticut, we always drive by both J's and my "homestead's." J's in Westport and the one we both started our family in. That is located in Huntington, Connecticut. This time back though, I sadly admit, the house had changed quite allot!
We had moved our Mom out here to Arizona back in 1990. The next trip out to visit, we noticed right a way a few changes here and there. This time though, sitting in the car looking out at her, we noticed the garage is all redone. Our Father built that garage all by himself alone, with his own 2 hands! Our Grandfather, (his Father) was big in the Fairfield Lumber business, way back then. It was a shock to see it this way. All the windows on the house have been replaced. The huge screened in porch (again, something our Father built with his own 2 hands!) and patio off the side of the garage is now gone. We did spied a small picnic table and some chairs set up on the slab of concrete. Still, not the one that we did. Gone were the 3 Japanese Elms that stood in the front yard. They were a gift from our Grandparents to our folk's for a anniversary if I remember right. There are picture's of our oldest, when toddler and a little bit older, climbing them. There are also one's of him helping to hang Easter eggs with his Granny on some of the boughs. Mom had so many daffodils and crocus, that were scattered all amongst the front. Gone or replaced. All up the left side of the driveway, planted and stood so tall, were our 2nd and 3rd Christmas trees in our house as a new family. They're all gone now! Sadly, we could still see remnants of the stumps left behind. There still was our 1st Christmas tree standing really really tall and majestic in the right hand side of the backyard. I was so glad that the owners saw fit to keep it, at least that one. Four of Mom's lilac trees, gone. Forsythia, all removed.
Putting the camera away, I turn to J and say, "maybe our drive-by's should start to be less and less, come our future visits. It is changing too much for me."
I have so much in my heart that it is still taking time for me to process and digest. All of the what the what it was for me, in my "back home." I started to feel it get all twiggly in me, slipping into the car rental and heading out onto familiar earth. The highways. Interstate 91 and 95. All the various trees with their sizes and types, the green of it all, the canopy's of our Mother Nature and her protecting her bounty, the aroma of the rain that had just fallen and the sight of the steam rising up. The humidity that lingered on my skin and each strand of my hair swelling in moisture, our scanning of the radio stations, to see if the ones we grew up on are still on the air.
It was all twiggly.
We designed our vacation, with arriving first to visit with J's sister's family in Madison. Our amazing and beautiful niece M, a month ago, brought into our world and to our family, this precious new angel, Alice. All pink, soft and hope. Alice is perfection personified, aren't all angels from heaven? It is quite silly of me to state, that while I was holding my great niece, I soaked her and me with so many of my tears! It was like I immediately went back in time! Here I am looking down into her round angelic pefection, and I was back holding my niece M all over again. So surreal for me.
Our visit was of course, far too short and we didn't fill in all that we wanted to! All the love there and exchanged was huge none the less. It very much reminded us, that family that isn't close in distance, is just as important to that of those that are near to J and I here in the desert. In the car ride, J and I promised one another that we would go back every year now.
After our tearful farewell with J's family and all of the kisses still damp on our cheeks and on sweet-baby's forehead, we ventured out to Fairfield area and had the pleasure to stay with two of our dearest, oldest, and loved friends, N and T! These two incredible friends, have stuck with us through so much and are always up for any adventure we can find. T and J have been friends since they were 14 years old. My becoming N's friend in that process, has been the icing on an already beautiful cake. Both of them and their 18 year old Oscar, has us stay with them.
When the four of us get together for whatever amount of time that is permitted, there is always an amount of laughter that has us all in tears! We either having one or some of us having to leave the room just so that we can catch our breaths! Our sides ache for stretches of time! Nothing is off limits to the hilarity that we 4 share.
We have camped with T and N back in the days of our friendship, was beginning as couples. (and yes, this N here did indeed camp!) We have gone sight seeing with them here in Arizona. Vacationed a few times. They even came out to help us move into our house in Chandler from the apartment we had up on in Phoenix. We have river rafted all together, hiked goat trails down through the Grand Canyon. River tubed down in Connecticut. We have had party after party with them.
Each visit J and I go back, N and T always try and bring the "old" group together. Be it a party in the evening or a picnic. As long as it is a gathering so, that we get to see all the ones that J grew up with. N and T do this all themselves and it is just for us! Saying thanks doesn't even come close to touch upon our gratitude for them. Alas, this time back was the first, that it didn't happen that we could see all the old group. It truly was no bother or harm, just a little sad. Being in N and T's company is just the best to be around in regardless. N is also a phenomenal chef that knows food. A feast she put on for us and I am still trying to fit into my jeans! They are love exemplified and in J's and my heart, there are no two people like them on this earth! Leaving them on Monday was yet again, immensely difficult. Farewells seemed to have been the verse for this trip.
So, let me introduce you to the Class of 1979 alumni's!
Saturday night was the reunion and believe me, I am still having a hard time processing the whole affair! So very very different than the 20th. My observation was that we are getting older and seeing life in far new personal perspectives. All of my emotions are still a jumble and I am still dropping tears every time I see a photo or read the posts on our Facebook pages.
These were the friends of my youth and I have loved them so and still do. It was a night to remember, as the saying goes, and everyone who was in attendance didn't want it to end.
Here is my Angie.
Who I have the greatest love in and whom I had adored first in my very youg life! Angie was my hearts first design in friendship and acceptance.
This is my Eddie.
The guy who taught me how to be a friend with a guy. My articulating of words, will never be just, in true description of what and how I feel for this beautiful man.
Love is all I can think of to say.
My Phil. (Hooker)
Silver and still so wonderful! You are just filled with joy when in his presence. I literally can fall into his smile!
The guy that stole my heart in true kindness towards me and compassion of a damaged life.
Please meet my Brenda.
This girl was a HUGE part of my teenage years! Jr. high and high school had me wanting to always be near her.
Sweetness and cuteness to the hilt! Debbie is exactly who she was in school.
This my Doug.
His entire family, throughout Jr. High, was intertwined with mine on so many levels. Doug was kind and shy then. He was full of joy and love that night!
My sweet Liz, with me and Angie.
Liz was and is the joy of living a happy and good existence! Her smile is still one of the best kind to be given! She was for me, in our elementary years, one of the truest examples of behavior and appropriateness. I always wanted to be near her.
My Jean, me, and Angie.
Jean was ans is still the girl that always always had a laugh to be had! Sense of humor? I sear she wrote a huge chapter of it in school! I adored being in her company all the time. Funny funny soul to know!
There are so many more photo's that I took that night of course. I would show them all on this post but, it came down to all about room! A memory card that was exceeded!
So, here is the
Class of 1979 in 2009!
J and I had the most surreal and full of love, of time spent everywhere, we were in our home state of Connecticut. The reunion proved to be more and more as the night went on to be everything I could have wished for. Though, 4 hours was not even close to enough time, to be able to acknowledge or chat with, all of those that filled our days of youth. No one wanted it to end. No one wanted to go home. I for one forgot to sit long enough to enjoy the food that they had for dinner. The hotel bar, after the actual reunion was over and we decided to go and all gather at, kicked us out before 2am! So, around 1am,all the so-longs, hugs, kisses, and tears were having to be exchanged. Hard doesn't even touch the depth it was to have to leave them all. I am left with having them each and everyone, placed in cherished and loved memories again.
I have loved these people for 30 years! Some far longer than that! For J and I back there, we were reminded the preciousness that life's-light is. How it can be distinguished. Life is precious and can be short. The memorials that the reunion set up, of those that have since passed, brought us to our knees.
Fairfield, Connecticut will always be "home" for me. The places I lived and the people all there, helped shape who I am in this world today. All of the ugly and all of the beauty that is in me. The love seen and experienced on this trip, must never be looked at as a given. It is a privilege to stand in anyone's love and allow it to just wash and lap over us. I have stated before and I will state it again, all family and friends, should hold the same unconditionalism, that it was created to be from the heavens.
I already miss so much of our home parts in Connecticut, as I sit here writing this post. New England with all it's magnificences in colors and textures. The many "not-really-aged-at-all" faces and hearts of all our loved ones. All the rich and deep smells of the damp and luscious earth. The aroma's of it's sky there. The honest and pure of soul laughter, that can cure any ailment had.
An d most importantly, the realizing that it really is so true,
"There is no Place like Home!"