Everyone says you can't go home again - well you can, but everything and everyone looks different! I went home this past weekend to attend my niece Carla's, bridal shower. It was held in a pretty venue overlooking Gloucester Harbor and also overlooking Rocky Neck where I grew up and my Mom still lives. Like I said, you can go home again - it's just different.
I spent most of the bridal shower trying to figure out who was who - names were familiar but faces weren't! I saw one of my best high school buddies - Ann Marie - who I spent many, many, MANY hours with but didn't realize who she was until I talked with her for a few minutes while frantically flipping through mental files! She took off her huge sunglasses and there she was! Ann Marie still lives in Gloucester so she filled in names and faces of people I knew in high school. It was frustrating to have someone smile at you and then you spend the next few minutes trying to put a name to the face!
I left Gloucester for New Jersey 25 years ago and although I go back a couple of times a year, those trips are mostly hurried affairs and filled with family. Then you go home for an event like a shower and you see people you haven't seen in 25 years - it's sort of freaky.
Gloucester is America's oldest seaport. Usually when people think of Gloucester, they think of fishing and beaches. Me too - but I think of other things too. Walking to school across the causeway from what I now realize was island in the middle of the harbor - but who thought about that when you weren't allowed to wear pants to elementary school and the wind/snow/rain was whipping down the outer harbor across the causeway and you thought you'd freeze to death before you reached the other side? I took the ocean for granted - it was just always there, supplied food for the table and money for everything else. You don't realize how huge a part of your life it was until you go to college in the middle of Maine and it takes you a few months to figure out that the sounds and smells you are missing are the ocean. First thing when we all got home from college - take someone's mother's car and ride around the backshore!
The hall where Carla's shower was held is just down from where my Great Aunt Josephine lived - she made the best Italian cookies! Something was always cooking on her stove and her house was always full of people. There was a man there mowing her lawn on Sunday and it was strange to think that she's been gone for years and someone else owned the house now. Gloucester very much lives on in my mind - just as it was 25 years ago. You can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the girl.
It was SO NICE to hear people talk in a NORMAL accent! The letter "R" has mostly been banned from New Englander's mouths. Most of my accent is gone but when I am tired or around my family for more than a day - it's back. We do pak our cas is the yad. And the instant someone say "I'm from Gloucester" and not "I'm from Glosestah" you know they weren't born there.
My sister-in-law Laurel is a great cook and she fed us constantly for two days. Won't let anyone help, she's the ultimate "I have it undah control" girl. So you sit on her deck gossip and eat the whole time you are home. I think my mom and I ate cheerios for breakfast at home and then stuffed ourselves the rest of the time at Laurel and Sooky's.
And speaking of Sooky - real name Arthur - Atha in New Englandese - here's a picture I found while looking on the web for Gloucester pictures (since my camera was sitting on my mother's couch during the shower instead of in my purse where it should have been!). This is my big brother who is actually some kind of big deal in the New England fisheries industry - which makes me absolutely hysterical everytime I think about it! He's fished and lobstered all his life. Everytime I find a quote of his on the internet or in the GDT (Gloucester Daily Times) I laugh myself silly. I am proud of him though - just don't tell him.
I've volunteered to make the ring bearer's pillow for Carla and Dan's wedding - colors in black and white. Any suggestions on how to liven it up alittle without adding any color would be greatly appreciated!
Until next time.