The visit began with a trek to Citizen’s Bank Park for a Phillies game. Sadly the wins are fewer and farther between than we’ve grown used to. But, as everyone repeats like a mantra these days, “It’s early yet.” And this particular game was a nice win … GO Phillies!
I spent Thursday visiting old haunts I haven’t seen for many years … starting with the Llanerch Diner and then walking the streets of familiar neighborhoods. A very emotional experience, because the places are so familiar … and so changed … and they are not my places anymore.
Above is the gate we used to go to elementary school – must have gone in and out there a thousand times, full of whatever feelings the day portended, or elicited. Sunny days, rainy days … days of magnolia blossoms and of snowflakes falling. Something about the every-day-ness of the moments, as well as their gone-ness, was very moving to me.
I visited the two houses I lived in in Havertown – one in Llanerch and an earlier one, up in Oakmont. Then I went over to Ardmore and Rosemont to see a couple of places I had lived after college. The Ardmore House was still there – the Rosemont one (lovely, tree-shaded old place) had been razed.
From there I went back to Havertown … was hoping to get a hoagie at Terry’s Delicatessen but it had been replaced by a Pizza place (not at all the same). Still, it was time for a hoagie, so I got one and then headed off to Glenwood Memorial Gardens to find my parents’ graves (again, juxtaposing the every-day-ness of a hoagie with the momentous gone-ness of a gravesite).
After quite a lot of searching I found them and spent some quiet time there, then, as it started sprinkling a soft rain, headed back to Swarthmore, where I joined up with some newly arrived traveling companions and we went over to the campus to wander and reminisce.
This was followed by a wonderful dinner out in Radnor with more old friends … and a toast to our friend/mentor/coach Eleanor Kay “Pete” Hess – whose memorial service was the actual impetus for all of this traveling on yours truly’s part.
And so, dinner was followed by the drive back to Springfield, a quick chat/mini-reunion with a later-arriving friend, then sleep. The next day was a rush of breakfast, check-out, and then back over to the campus for some sunlit wandering and then the service … a melange of remembered faces and wonderful stories about Pete. It felt good to honor her and the days we all shared. (And I was especially pleased that I didn’t need to encounter my high school lacrosse coach, whom I’d fully expected to see there, and had spent some time preparing for … unresolved issues, ya know?!)
Goodbyes came next – preceded, of course, by a rush of picture-taking and e-mail-address-exchanging. And then the long drive home, through Friday-afternoon mid-Atlantic traffic and construction. The miles flew by, though, carried on wings of conversation and the rich imagery of remembered moments.