Willie Nelson’s song “on the road again,’ seems apropos. We left Paradise, Pennsylvania with a very warm feeling and glad it was part of our journey. Traveling north through New Jersey and arriving in Manhattan, New York produced ‘culture shock’ and the city of Paradise grew in its beauty. I must admit paying $12.00 to cross the George Washington Bridge which was preceded by another collective $16.50 in tolls gave me reason to want to turn and rush back to our recently acquired friends in Pennsylvania.
We entered Worcester, Massachusetts where icons such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousey, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski invoke an immediate conversation. Our goal in June’s home town was to walk down memory lane to visit yesteryear. The famous quote “you can never go home,” has never been more appropriate. Old South High School where June attended has been closed and now stands as a beautiful old building built in an era when architectural design in schools made a statement. Equally discouraging was June’s home church, Old South Congregational, which stood as a physical monument built to honor God but now crumbling from neglect with boarded up doors and windows.
Driving through the neighborhoods where June played as a youngster became very nostalgic. “Look! That’s Elm Park where we would go in the winter and ice skate the entire day.” “That’s the pond where daddy brought us after dinner to fish,”“That’s where my best friend lived,” and the list goes on. The community where June grew up as a young girl stood in stark contrast to what it was in her younger days. Although the neighborhood is a short distant from Clark and Holy Cross Universities, two of the top Universities in the country, the pluralism and diversity of the ethnic population lack the core values of the original homeowners, thereby, leaving the community with a lack of responsible ownership and aesthetic beauty. June wept.
Our stay was highlighted by a New England ‘coming home’ dinner in honor of June. Leaving friends, cousins, and family in the early 60’s to attend college in Georgia followed by marriage to a southern boy created a vast space between the dinner party and the time they had last seen each other. The evening and conversations were peppered with “do you remember the time…’ Laughter, hugs and yes some tears were the highlight of the evening. As a sidebar, where the local accent is heavy Bostonian, there was an occasional chuckle and the request “how do you say this in the south.” A good time was had by all.
Tomorrow we leave for Cape Code, Martha’s Vineyard, Province Town, Nantucket, and some Island hopping on the east coast.
Gary and June
“the spiritual person puts the care of his soul before all else.”