There’s something strange about returning to the city of your birth; the neighborhood, the streets.
I have a memory for everywhere in this little place.
This is the library I biked to everyday during the summer. The same library that I’d pull my little sister to, in the Little Tikes wagon. I remember every curb, every house. The yards. The sidewalk cracks.
There’s our church where we planted petunias in the springtime every year. There’s the restaurant that we’d go to every Sunday after church. That’s the school gym where I went to my first dance; the entry fee was a canned good.
There’s a memory for every restaurant, every park. For the point on the expressway when you know you’re almost home. There’s my Grandma’s house that I drive by each time I’m here… that yard. Oh, that yard. So many memories; the pool, the pear tree, the swingset, the big wheels, the bird bath, the garden, the raspberries, the lilacs… the pigeons. (blech.)
There’s our house, the ice cream store, the grocery store where I was first a bagger. There’s the A&W-style restaurant where I worked when I met my husband and tried to put a tray on his non-window-having Jeep.
There’s my elementary school.
There’s the yard where Danny Turner (Yep, that’s his name) TACKLED me and tried to beat me up.
There’s the river, the boats. The ice skating.
There’s the cemetery where my Dad is buried, not too far from my Grandpa.
Everyday that we’re here, I’m besieged by memories.
They come fast and furiously and… I can take it.
Before, after my Mom died, it was too much. It was sensory overload and I’d drive past the Chinese restaurant and cry, because she liked the wonton soup there.
Today? It’s different.
We bought a little house a year or so ago and we’re very close to my babies’ Mimi and Papa and it’s wonderful. They stroll down or scooter down to their house whenever. They take boat rides. They giggle and laugh with Craig’s cousins’ children, with my brother’s kids… they’re surrounded by humid days, cousins, aunts and uncles who love them and fireflies.
We sit in the driveway, in lawn chairs, and watch cars go by.
We collect leaves and remark how “cold” it is here, as compared to Mexico.
We sidewalk chalk.
We take naps.
We sit and walk and just “be” and I love it.
The bittersweet reality of memories are made sweeter for me as I watch them make memories of their own.
Ohio will always feel like home.