Home again, home again!! You can take the girl out of the city, but not the city out of the girl.
It took 22 years, but I finally returned to the town I was born and raised in for 14 years of my life. I wish it were under better circumstances and not for a wake from the subsequent tragic death of a dear family friend.
A side not, this gentleman was a wonderful man and loved and adored by his family and friends alike. Justice needs to be served for the man that mowed him down having been drunk running a red light, while my friend was minding his own business out on his daily walk and trying to just merely cross the street. Just such a tragedy and still in a bit of shock over this to say the least, because I grew up two doors down from him and his family. To read the Daily News article about this, click here.
That said, I drove in with my parents while Kevin watched the girls. I was in the backseat of my dad’s car and almost felt as if I were a kid again driving home from visiting my aunt and uncle, because this was the route we took. No husband, no kids just me and my parents, which totally took me back to a different time and place.
It felt oddly surreal as we neared the exit and drove through the streets of Queens (yes I was born and raised in good, old Queens, NY). Also the color commentary was good for the soul, because my mom, of course, was lecturing my dad on his driving. And my dad had to throw back at my mom that (in his words), “I have been driving before I could walk!”
My parents are definitely a trip and I do love them so though. And as we neared my old neighborhood, all the places I had been and some of my fondest memories came flooding back. Like the time we Trick-or-Treated for hours on end and went all over town even down to the “Big Rock”, which seemed like the other side of town to me back then.
Or the many walks on Jamaica Avenue, I took with my mom and grandmother as a kid, where we shopped at Lewis (a large discount store that had everything) and Scaturro’s (the local grocery store) or even got a cookie from Mondello’s (the local bakery, because I was that cute of a kid). Or how we would walk up Forest Parkway, first going to the bank if mom had to pay bills, next the post office to mail some letters and always ending up at the library to pick out new books to read.
Life was so simple back then and yet so good, too. I truly had a very idyllic childhood and can remember so much of it even though it seems like a lifetime ago. My grandparents lived minutes away from us and even my great-grandfather lived around the corner from us. We were always surrounded by family and friends alike.
Even as we neared the Funeral Home, I remembered having been in that very same place for my great-grandfather’s wake, when I was only 12 years old (he lived to be 103 years old!). He was even laid out in the same room as my very good friend was. Talk about a blast front he past!!
All-in-all, it was a very somber wake and yet my friends who are so much like family made me want to cry and yet laugh at the same time, too. And even down to one of our old neighbors, whose kids I used to play with and his pool that I swam in many a summer was there. I didn’t recognize him at first, but when we realized who was who, we talked and shared like it was old times. And he even made me laugh by referring to the neighborhood brat as a “little bitch” (by the way she just happened to be his niece, but as he said he calls them like he sees it). And man was she ever. This girl made the Bad Seed look like an angel, but I digress!!
And when the wake was over, we actually drove past our old house. Oddly enough it still look pretty much the same, even down to the old mailbox my dad had put in back so many years ago!!
Then, it was time to drive back home and now it felt as though we were driving out to Long Island like we did so many weekends, when my parents were looking to buy a home out here. Yes, this went on for almost a year back when I was about 13 years old and could do this trip like the back of my hand!
But this time, I was actually driving home to my loving husband and my two wonderful little girls. I called them, from the car to let them know I was on my way, to have both girls tell me they were watching Kittens and Puppies and loved me oh so much.
And as much as I can’t help, but admit and feel a bit guilty through all the bad that had just occurred over the last few days with my friend, life is still good and I have so much more stories to tell and am truly thankful for all I do have at that point in my life. And as much as a piece of my heart with always be with my old childhood neighborhood, home is where the heart is and I am right where I want to be with my husband and kids!!
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