The Homecoming.

I am flying this weekend to New York state with son2 for a college visit to meet with advisors, etc. If the emotions of a college trip aren’t enough, I am filled with a sense of panic since Mr. P. Martini is unable to go and I have to be the grown-up. Never mind I will be traveling with an 18 year-old male who will be living on his own shortly because this does not count to a mother.
There are some other issues with this trip that are adding to my sense of insecurity and need of parental support other than my own. Our destination is near where my childhood summer home is located and I have put it on the itinerary. The farm was situated on 210 acres of the most beautiful land I have ever seen. It was my great-aunt and uncle’s home and then it was ours. It had been in the family from the early turn of the century to 1983 but long before it came to be in our family it had seen decades before the Revolutionary War. My parents spent part of their honeymoon there as I did. We sold it soon thereafter and I have not returned in 25 years.
Do I knock on the door and say this used to be my house? Can I ask to just sit on the side porch and inhale the sweet grass until my lungs feel like bursting? That’s all I really want to do. I don’t want a tour. The interior will be changed. Black Beauty, the huge wood burning stove where my great-aunt used to make the meals for the field hands has long been taken out for scrap. She is gone. The phrase ‘you can never go home again’ repeats in my mind. I am filled with an odd mixture of excitement, trepidation and sadness knowing it will not be the same as I remember it. Rumor has it the big maple that my dad used to tap is also gone. I want to show my son the little house my dad and his 9 siblings grew up in a neighboring town and have him imagine what it would have been like to travel there and back by a horse drawn wagon like my dad did when he was a boy.I want to share with him the moment of placing flowers on the graves of my grandmother whom I never knew but who I was told by my uncle I resembled when I cocked my head to the side and the great-aunt and uncle whose home we just visited.
After all these years I believe I am still in mourning after losing this house and all that it meant to me growing up and for family whom I have come to love by looking at their sepia tones.Son2 will not understand why I am on the edge of tears for the next 4 days. I hope by the time we reach Ithaca on Monday I will be a grown-up again.
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  1. wow, Ithaca. I went to Geneseo from 1973-1977. It was an 8 hour drive from my house on Long Island.
    So… a California boy wants to go to college on the east coast, huh. Some of your childhood stories must have sunk into him somewhere along the way.
    These are emotional times for a mother, taking your last one off to college. For him it’s the beginning, for you it’s an end to his childhood. It takes a while to get over. So go ahead and cry, he needs to understand what it means for you too.

  2. Have a wonderful trip!! I think you’ll have a great time sharing your history with your son!

  3. Oh gosh, I feel for you. It is wonderful, though, that you have such wonderful “growing up” memories. It sounds like an amazing place.

  4. I don’t live to far from there! A few hours maybe? I live outside of Albany.

    I can relate to the “knocking on the door” dilema.

    My family sold our summer camp. I got the courage up to knock on the door and guess what…they gave me a key and told me to come anytime I wanted!

    We had someone stop at our house one day and tell us they used to live there. They wanted a tour. I couldn’t oblige at that time but I did tell them to come back again. They did. Then our kids wound up in class together in school and now we are friends.

    You just never know what will transpire if you “knock on the door” Good luck and have a safe trip. Bring extra tissues and I hope you won’t need them.

  5. Hugs!

    I have three boys and the oldest is ten, but I will be in your shoes before I know it.