Sunday, October 28, 2007

Home is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there

There's been a lot going on in the past month and a half. At the end of September we spent a week out west with my mother's extended family, attending my cousin's wedding. (I was the flowergirl at her parents' wedding many years ago.) I gained some new perspectives and was glad to have some time to spend with my sister and her girlfriend, who is good people. My parents are working on selling their house so that they can move to a town just outside Buffalo in order to be closer to Clara, so things are awfully chaotic for them.

The wedding was beautiful, and it was nice and a little sobering to see people I hadn't seen in a couple of decades. Oddly enough, we're all older.

We were back for two weeks (including Clara's birthday, celebrated at Lettuce Knit) before we left again, this time on our first long roadtrip since Miz Thang was born. We went to my twenty-year high school reunion, visited the old neighbours for the first time in fifteen years, had an all-too-brief visit with friends in western MA, spent five days with one of my best friends and her husband and three kids, had dinner on the Wellesley campus, and then went to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. If it all sounds like a bit much, that's because it was. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter, more satisfying homecoming, but the ten days were starting to make me think that some guy was about to step out from behind a tree, film crew behind him shining lights in my face, and bellow, "Emily Krapsnart, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!" It was 1974 to 1992 packed into just over a week, except that this time my husband and baby daughter were along for the ride. And wow, what a ride.

The reunion was fun, I guess; I got a very welcome chance to see two of my closest high school friends, but wished that more were there (Italophile, I'm talking to you). My old neighbourhood has changed a lot; my childhood home is unrecognizable. The wonderful people next door had us over for dinner, a marvellous spread that fed my soul. (Margaret takes care of her daughter's kids, so there's kid paraphernalia all over. I had not been at all prepared to see my tricycle in front of their house; the sight of it made me burst into tears.) Two of my high school teachers who were major figures in my adolescence are now divorced; I talked to him and saw her. Life goes on.

Five days in a house with four kids six and under: exhausting. But it's always great to see AM. I sent Dave out geocaching a lot so he could get some Dave Time in before the yarnulence of the weekend. We also managed to see some more old neighbours who have moved to eastern Massachusetts, and they suggested that Pina drop in for dinner while we were visiting them, so we got a bit of time with her. Somewhere in the five days there was dinner with Steve and Peter and David B.; it was really good to see them, too.

Wellesley is more beautiful than ever; every time I'm on campus I shake my head in disbelief that I spent four years there. We walked around the misty, luminous campus and took pictures, and then ate in the new student centre, surrounded by students who, when I was in school, were not much older than Clara is now. The intellect and potential and youth of all those women in that magical place made me hopeful and happy.

And then, Rhinebeck. My God, Rhinebeck. I'd spent fifteen years convinced that I wasn't homesick for Dutchess County, but oh, I am. I am. It is unspeakably beautiful in the fall, and the nostalgia that the fairgrounds evoked after everything that had come in the few days before -- well, it was more than a little overwhelming to be back there.

I bought yarn, a lot of yarn. As I knit it, it will continue to remind me of home.

2 comments:

esquiver said...

Em,

Have you played the CD yet that they were giving out at the reunion? I've only now got around to it, and all I can say is: TOTALLY justifies eight hours on the Chinatown bus. 1987 was simply the banner year of rock. And, y'know, as I type that, my brain *knows* that I'm saying something very, very wrong, and yet my heart knows it's so very right.

-E.

Italophile said...

What was on this CD?!?!? I'm really sorry that I couldn't have been there. Mom and my aunt Teri and I were just getting back from Egypt! But we drank a toast to the reunion from the Vietnamese restaurant in Mornington Crescent where we were eating that night. (Mom's first drinkable wine in more than a week.)

Rhinebeck, especially in the late summer/early autumn, is a sucker punch thrown at you by the Dutchess County tourism board. Every time I'm visiting parents, I think, "Oh, I could live here ... if only for the existence of Upstate Films in Rhinebeck." But thanks to the Taconic (as you undoubtedly witnessed), the Towns (capital letter intentional) of Beekman, Union Vale, Pawling and Dover are quickly turning into a vast NYC bedroom community, instead of being just bedroom communities for local IBMers.

It's one thing to be a suburb of Poughkeepsie; it's another thing altogether to be one of New York. I think I'd rather raise a kid in Toronto.