Why is it so fun to take people to the place you grew up? You know no one gets as excited as you do about seeing your elementary school playground or the first place you ever bought wine with a fake ID, yet you still get that welling of pride as you show off the many facets of your old stomping ground. Maybe it's because we each have a story we want to tell about our lives, and visits to our hometown provide illustrations and references points that mere words and descriptions don't sufficiently bring to life.
This weekend Matt and I went home to Rochester along with a number of our other college friends for a wedding of a college friend who happened to grow up in the same city as I did. While a trip to Rochester, NY doesn't hold quite the same anticipation as a trip to the Big Apple or Windy City or City of Angels might, I do believe that beautiful Rochvegas did not disappoint my fellow travelers. (Either that, or they are simply too kind.) Rochester in the fall is simply beautiful too - especially if you are traveling north from the still-humid Southern states!
The wedding was a fantastic affair, made better by the reunion of friends who slept, ate and studied in close proximity for almost 4 years. The boys have a bond that has transcended the space that naturally fills in when friends graduate and go their separate ways. It is encouraging to see that their rapport picks up immediately wherever they last left off. In other words, they physically and verbally demolish one another immediately upon reconvening. Nothing like it.
We are defined not only by the landmarks we grew up around, but the people who populated those spaces with us. While I loved seeing my husband and his friends light up with each other's company, the highlight of my trip home was time spent with my Grandpa. What strikes me as odd is that in 26 years of my life, this was the first time I have hung out solo with my grandpa. I guess this isn't totally unusual, as most of my trips to see home would have been with family. Over an endless cup of Denny's coffee, I grew bold enough to ask all the questions about my grandmother I wish I had asked while she was alive. The stories of her childhood that he could recall, to the moment he saw her, the first years of their marriage. My version of my grandmother's life starts in 1982 and while every grandchild would love to assume they are the center of their grandparent's universe, I have always wondered what the 58 years of her life leading up to my entrance, stage right, entailed. Grandpa, fueled by caffeine and an English muffin, did not disappoint. Hearing descriptions of people I have never heard of who shaped my Grandma's life in her late 20s (my age now) as she met, married and mothered reminded me that I am part of a world so much greater than I but part of a family so tightly woven together. There is simply no way to get lost in a world where you are grounded by a family so dear, friends so genuine and a endearing love for the places that have witnessed these relationships.
Who says you can't go home?
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
There is nothing like a street festival or fair to bring out the finest in any community. Last night, we went downtown to the Rock the Block festival. There was a huge outpouring of people in the streets and bands played on 4 different corners. I just kept looking around wondering where all these people were all the time. Does our wonderful city really and truly contain this many people? We got drinks at Foothills and headed outside to hear a band that vacillated from challenging Don Henley/Eagles vibes to pounding out some hard Seether/Nickelback. Good, if you could pry yourself away from the following distractions:
*Two young girls behind the drummer dancing with such violent hair whipping I wonder if their latissimus required RICE treatment the next day
*A strikingly bald fellow with a navy blue polo tucked into the most hiked up navy blue khakis, complemented by a little blue pinging light in his ear (yes, this gentleman apparently found it neccessary to wear his blue tooth the entire concert. Just in case he got that oh so important call, he could shout over Freebird..."What? I can't hear you! I'm at a concert! I do have a life!... oh.... I came alone.")
*An extremely unkempt middle age woman in a dirty jean skirt and bare feet dancing with a small tow headed child who was delirious from regular pop and staying up past her bedtime, and who quite obviously belonged to the man in a torn sleeve tank top and jorts who was busy hitting on the lady with the gypsy skirt and "all I need's a glow stick" hand motions
*And then there were these fellows....
A scrappier bunch could nar be found. (Thanks goes to Jamie, the picture is hers.) Who says you can't have fun in med school?
We had a great time though, and it was nice to get to do something a little different from our usual weekend routines. Winston is growing up quickly and it's exciting to see it's nightlife and it's population growing and shifting as it discovers what kind of city it wants to be.