By Judy Berman
Nothing has changed and everything has changed.
During a trip to Central New York in mid-July, my husband, Dave, and I visit our old stomping grounds, and we return to a spot that was the scene of one sweet gesture many years ago.
We stand at the edge of a driveway staring at the home we had lived in until 1999. It is for sale.
What would it be like to live here again, to be among old friends with a shared history and memories?
Like an old family movie, scenes of our girls growing up here flash before me.
Then, as quickly as that thought crosses my mind, I dismiss it.
Nah! We’d have to re-do the landscaping, and get rid of the in-ground pool the new owners put in – which is only useful about two months a year in Central New York. Then, who knows what the owners changed inside the home we had built for us?
Plus, there’s the matter of our girls, our sons-in-law, our grandchildren, grandpuppy, kitties, grandkitties and our jobs. We couldn’t leave them in Florida to move back here.
You can’t really go back. You can’t occupy two worlds – unless you’re Bill Gates or a Rockefeller.
So we make the most of our visit. We meet friends at lunch and dinner to catch up on old times. Stunned to realize how much their kids have grown, just as ours have, and the changes in their lives – new jobs, etc.
Of course, we have to exercise to walk off all the meals. So we take a few strolls thru Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool. Since we left, 5 more miles of hiking trails have been added. We sit on the deck by the lake, and it still has that same calming affect on us.
We also return to Beaver Lake Nature Center and hike the 3-mile lake loop. Exhausting in the heat of the day, but also relaxing.
Then, we pour our tired bones into deck chairs at the center’s observatory. We chuckle as a little chipmunk outfoxes the bigger squirrels for the seeds that the birds kick out from the bird feeders.
A bigger hike looms ahead. We drive to Watkins Glen State Park, walk 1 ½ miles and climb 832 steps to view some of nature’s most gorgeous work – waterfalls and gorges carved out by ancient glaciers. Breathtaking.
Seneca Lake is wine country. We stop at Glenora Wine Cellars to buy a bottle of wine for friends of ours when we return to Syracuse. As we look out over the fields, I am struck by how much it looks like a Monet painting. The wine cask resembles rolls of hay amid the greenest greens you can imagine.
That trip offers another treat as well – an overnight at the Showboat Motel along Seneca Lake. In August of 1993, it’s where one of the owners, Larry Jenkins, discovered we were celebrating our anniversary. See story here.
That night, 21 years ago, Larry brought out two slices of Boston Cream Pie – with a lit candle on each one – and invited those at the restaurant to join in singing “Happy Anniversary” to Dave and me. I don’t think I ever told him then how special that one, small, sweet gesture made us feel.
But I did this trip. I re-introduce myself to him. Larry looks pleased when I tell him that his thoughtfulness capped the end of a perfect day and is a memory I still treasure.
Then we leave for Syracuse. On our last night there, we go to a cookout at the home of longtime friends of ours: Rick and Holly Moriarty. Dave and I have known them long before they married. They were witnesses when we renewed our wedding vows. Now, their daughter is in college and their son is heading in that direction in a year or two.
It is a night I wish never had to end. This visit makes me nostalgic for Syracuse, for friends with a shared history and memories.
To paraphrase a woman interviewed by Humans of New York: As you get older, there are fewer of those people around who remember you in the various stages of your life.
“And they remind you who you are.”
Is there a special time and/or place you yearn to return to – even if just for a visit?
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Thanks to all our friends in Central New York. We had a great time and we miss you already. We’re sorry that we couldn’t get to see everyone we wanted to.
1. Main Photo – Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool, taken by Judy Berman, July 2014. http://onondagacountyparks.com/onondaga-lake-park/
2. Photo – Beaver Lake Nature Center, Baldwinsville – Dave Berman, Baldwinsville, taken by Judy Berman, July 2014. http://onondagacountyparks.com/beaver-lake-nature-center/
3. Photo – Watkins Glen State Park – taken by Judy Berman, July 2014. http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/watkins-glen-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NY&parkId=254
4. Photo – Watkins Glen – Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee – taken by Dave Berman, July 2014. http://www.glenora.com/
5. Photo – Showboat Motel and Restaurant, Himrod, NY – Larry Jenkins, co-owner, and Judy Berman, taken by Dave Berman, July 2014. http://www.showboat-motel.com/
6. Photo – Rick and Holly Moriarty, Liverpool, NY, taken by Dave Berman, July 2014
7. Photo – Showboat Motel overlooking Seneca Lake – Judy Berman relaxing and reading. Taken by Dave Berman, July 2014.