since my mother is here visiting on the east coast for a week, i thought it might be nice to travel south with her to charlottesville where we lived for four of my formative years: from age 2 to around 6. she hadn’t seen the area in many years, and i always have a tough time figuring out what to do while people are visiting us in new jersey (uh, would you like to go see the turnpike?? no? how about the smokestacks by the turnpike??)

as you might imagine, my memory of that time is not crystal clear, but it didn’t stop my mother from asking very specific questions, “do you remember that old antique shop that had all of the oak furniture?”, and, “do you remember the place that had the three washing machines on their front porch?”

though i don’t have many solid memories from that time, what i do have is a second family down there, which includes my oldest friend in the world. she’s really become a sister to me, and although 22 years have passed since we have lived in the same town, we have managed to see each other regularly.

it’s so nice to go back down there and see my childhood friend’s childhood home, with her parents still living in the same house. this house is my most constant memory of that time in my life.

it’s also nice to feel the nostalgia that comes with being in a place where the memories are like familiar dreams; remembering the simpler times where decisions like rice cakes with peanut butter or cottage cheese with peaches seemed like the tougher ones in life, and swimming in a blue plastic pool, not searching frantically for a new job, was the only thing on my summer day’s agenda.