All my life,
though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life
I've loved them all
- The Beatles
(note: I forgot to mention that I saved about $100 on the car rental by renting it from the airport rather than downtown - that's why all the trouble of the public transportation was still worth it. And yes, I felt rather brave and adventurous. I haven't navigated a big city train and/or subway system since my mission in Germany 14 yrs ago - and I wasn't very good at it then either (and got lost a lot). So, to do all of this successfully all on my own did feel pretty good, actually. I know it's not a big deal at all to city-folk who do this sort of thing every day. But to me, it was sort of a big deal. So yay for me. :))
And this is the entrance to the neighborhood I grew up in.
At this point, I decided I was hungry and I decided what I wanted was a Dr. Watson sandwich from Spanky's in downtown Fredericksburg. Might as well, right? So I headed down Rt 1, figuring I'd come back down to Stafford to see my house and stuff later.
On the way, I passed by my middle school which now houses the school district offices. The gym was still there and looked pretty much like I remembered it. I don't know what happened to me exactly, but I was overwhelmed with memories walking around there. This gym was where I went to my first "dances" and danced with a boy for the first time. It's where I remember flirting with my first crush as we waited there before school, or trying to flirt, or agonizing over flirting, or something. wow. Middle school was awful. hahaha.
And it's interesting to me because it's not only that I have memories in these places, but I have seriously had so many dreams set in these places over the years. Seeing them brings back a rush of feelings and events both real and dreamed, and my mind is just a whirl of emotion. It just felt crazy and I was almost brought to tears. Yikes (I know, I'm just a freak). And maybe it's partly related to my journal-rereading, too. Some of this stuff is fresher in my mind recently than it has been for many years. Interesting.
I also went by my elementary school. This is the tree where my friends and I would meet at recess. I remember it being a pretty big tree back then too. Of course, I was little. But I was happy to see that our tree was still there.A view down good old Route 1, otherwise known as the Washington-Rochambeau Route (and yes, another pic taken while driving). I actually have recurring dreams about going down this road. I don't know why. And sometimes I'm trying to get down this road on roller-skates or other non-conventional means of transportation, but this particular road plays into my dreams frequently, for some reason.
Anyway, I found my way to Fredericksburg and walked around where I thought Spanky's should be. I walked up and down the street, becoming sort of confused and disoriented when I couldn't find it. I finally walked into the Visitor's Center to ask what had happened to Spanky's. Turns out it was shut down a few years ago. This was another almost traumatic moment for me. Not only was a great, quirky restaurant gone and I wasn't going to get the sandwich I was craving, but now I didn't know where to eat.
I ended up at Sammy T's just down the street (photo from their website) and I ate at a table alone reading my Madeleine L'Engle book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I do have some memories of eating here with friends (and Janna) after some high school play or something. And for some reason Janna was talking about how drinking water with lemon is good for her singing voice. haha - the random tidbits we remember. :)
And this is a pic of the Rappahanock River from where I had parked. So many memories - from canoeing with Alyssa, to having cracker and cheese picnics on it's banks with Amy, swimming with Kia and just driving across it for most of my life . . . this river is special to me. :)
And (skipping around a bit chronologically of where I went and when), speaking of important places, of course, this is the house where I lived from the time I was about 2 until I was 22 (the house is a different color now, but the lions on the driveway were always there). I rang the doorbell and the man looked at me quizzically, asking, "may I help you?"
I almost got a little choked up as I tried to quickly explain that I had grown up in this house and hadn't been back for many years and could I please look around the backyard for a minute? He was nice about it and said "yes, of course, feel free" - but I could tell he still thought I was a nut. That's ok, though.
And so this is the backyard.
Anyway - I guess some people don't really understand why I am so attached to some people, places and things from "my past". I really don't know myself. But I know that I am. And I have been coming to terms with the fact that it is really ok for me to feel this way, even if no one else understands it. I am very sentimental and nostalgic and I like to hold onto my memories, in whatever forms I can. There are some places that will always mean a lot to me, for many many reasons. And I will treasure them for always. And they will haunt my dreams, perhaps, for years to come. And I will remember them forever.
Anyway, also that evening I was able to meet up with my sister Melissa and her fiance Chris and we went out to dinner at La Madeleine a french country restaurant which was very tasty. I don't know how I didn't take any pictures, but I didn't. Anyway it was very fun to see them. :)
And speaking of people, there were many people I wished I could have visited but couldn't (some places, too, that I didn't get to). So I am sorry about that (to my friends who are still in the area). It was important to me to visit some of these places alone this time - to recollect, and reminisce, and just to have time by myself in my own spaces. This particular visit was just for me. But I promise if I ever get back there again, with a little more time, and less urgent need to satisfy my own nostalgic longing, then we'll have to plan a big reunion of sorts. Promise. :)
(and one more important place gets its own post coming up next . . .)