The words to that Beatle’s song always tug at my heart, they just seem to fit with whatever is going on in my life, the transitions, the changes, etc.
After my whine fest about not being able to go home for the holidays, I received a VERY generous invitation to head to my Pennsylvania “Family.”
After some heckling with the prices of Amtrak tickets (oh yes, I succumbed to the public transit system) I found myself at 30th Street Station at 3:00 Thanksgiving Day. Despite the fact that I had already been awake for 29 hours, I couldn’t wait to see the gang. Walking into the house I was a) greeted by the dog, b) given a warm welcome by MEMEgrl, and c) hit with the aromatics of Thanksgiving-and how soothing and yummy it was!
When R & J awoke from their naps, I got big hugs and smiles. I really do miss these boys…they are growing up so fast! T took R &J to the party, and I finished up in the kitchen while O got ready. I forgot how nice and luxurious it is to cook where the handles of the pots don’t bang into your back while you are at the sink!
We had a lovely evening and I finally met the entire extended L family. Apparently, they have heard just as much about me, as I have of them, because we were able to pick up conversations like we were old pals. No, I’m serious…it was easier conversation than any ones I’ve tried to make with a person at a bar.
When I took R out of the car last night, he asked T “Is tomorrow a daddy day?” Unfortunately the answer was no. However, I did tell R that I would be there, to which he replied, “A nurse miss Kelly day? Can we have pancakes?” My dear little R…how could I say no to that? And true to my word, this morning we had pancakes. Yummy, whole wheat pancakes, of which each boy at 4. Whole grain….who knew?!?!
Although the afternoon’s plan to make a lasagna was put off, we spent a GREAT afternoon together. Cue the Beetles song! We went to Penn. Yup, I was back at my alma matter. O’s neice is looking at schools and she is up from D.C for the holiday, so of course today was the perfect day for an impromptu tour. After all, she had two alums (one of who is gainfully employed there) to narrate along the way.
When we got out of the car, I got a twinge in my stomach, that little feeling of warmth that happens when you remember all the good and none of the bad. Indeed, I was walking down memory lane.
With leaves crunching under my feet along Locust Walk, passing years of IVY stones scattered along campus, and seeing all things familiar of the past four years, it hit me- my times at Penn were definitely the best four years of my life (thus far). Hill College House- the fortress of my freshman year, The library- study hours during pledging, the Button- I swear I never took place in the infamous acts said to have gone on there, College Hall- where it all began in the admissions office, the Bookstore- oh the things you can Bursar around the holidays, Locust Walk- flyering, oh the flyering, Kappa Sigma Fraternity house-okay, you don’t need those details, Phi Delt- leather sofas + spring weather + boys playing guitars= amazing afternoons, the McNeil Building-home to the writing seminar from Hell and the TA who told me I had a “penchant for writing superfluous nothing”, Huntsman Hall- Chi Omega chapter meetings, class board meetings, the only place where you can find people 24/7 during finals, etc., etc. As we were finishing up our tour, we walked through the Perelman Quadrangle. At one point, when no one was looking, I just stood there and closed my eyes. As I opened them, I slowly spun around….The Amphitheater Steps--- Houston Hall---The big Quad Shield---College Hall and my IVY stone…all the while music box music played in my head...I teared up a little. And then there were the flashbacks: Convocation, the dessert buffet, Bid Day/ Bid Day Night, lunches on the steps, STEP night, Hey Day, the Ken Kweeder convert, and last but not least graduation.
These are just a handful of memories of my four years at Penn and only from this one spot. I’m sure that I could fill volumes with my memories, but I don’t think I’m meant to. I think those memories, those places, are for me to keep and hold onto. They are meant to take me back to that happy place, no matter what is going on in my life. Because it’s just like the Beetles say,
“There are places I remember/ All my life, though some have changed./Some forever ,not for better/ Some have gone and some remain/Though I know I’ll never loose affection/ For people and things that went before/ But know I’ll stop and think about them/ In my mind I love them all".
When I got dropped off at the train station this afternoon, I realized something. Just because I broke tradition, I still had a superb holiday! I got to see my other family and go to my happy place.
I hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving and that maybe, you too, were able to go back to your “Happy Place.” I’m sure glad that I did.