Maybe it has to do with waking up in my childhood bedroom; it’s the same, but different. Gone are the 1970’s flower power wallpaper and my bright yellow canopy bed. Added is my husband, who’s had the pillow next to mine for much of my adult life. I’ve returned home different, but the same.
I had some time on my hands and new running shoes on my feet. That combination only means one thing, and I was going to make the most of it.
The first thing I see when I leave my mom’s place is the “big hill”. I remember being about ten years old, my Dorothy Hamill haircut was blowing in the breeze as I cruised down this monster on my purple banana-seat bike. I vividly remember thinking, ‘I never want to leave here’.
I ran up and down that hill, and after all these years and all these races, I can attest, it is still big.
I leave the old neighborhood via the “big block”, though it is hardly a block at all. I smile at the mailboxes that have names I remember—I once knew them all. Leaving the neighborhood, I glance and see the Superette. We used to call it “Ed’s” and candy bars were 25 cents. I wonder if I can still find that shortcut behind the Moller and Benoit houses?
I hug the shores of Monponsett Pond East to the boat launch, thinking about all the times we launched and loaded that old yellow boat. I miss the Yellow Lightening, and all those hours of water skiing, tubing, wake boarding and hanging around she offered the five Kaloshis children. I continue on and almost get pegged crossing Plymouth and Homes---good God, I’ve almost been pegged there since I was little. When the heck are they going to put a light in and make it a two street light town?
I cross the road that separates Monponsett East from its sister Monponsett West. The tunnel is still there. I crawl down to see if my initials are still in it. I knew they would be. My dad had me put them there on our way to swimming lessons that we arrived at via aluminum boat.
I back track and head toward the town center. I notice that the town has way too many pizza joints, even though BR’s is the only place to go. The clock at the car wash is still broken. It has been 12:00 for almost 40 years.
I get to the elementary school. Gone is the naughty wall for recess rule violators, and where I could always find one of my brothers. New is the Margaret Meyers amphitheater, which equates to a small outdoor series of benches. I don’t think there is a native in this town, under fifty years old, who did not learn to tie his/her shoes from that woman.
I recall fireworks on the hill; Easter egg hunts on the front lawn of town hall and Boy Scout parades down Holmes Street.
My feet know where they are going; I don’t even really have to give it conscious thought. My final stop will be my dad’s final resting place. It comes to me as I water the flowers on his grave---he guided me through these memories, and now it is time for me to guide my children through their own series of adventures that will become their childhood memories.
With happy tears straining to escape my eyes, I ran home to my family---the same, but different.