It was a Beatles song. Something about all my troubles being so far away. Since I was an odd, awkward kid I had some troubles, they weren’t really very far away unfortunately. But I decided to revisit my old town this weekend.
First stop – the beach. It was cloudy, but the beach was crowded. Yes, you have to pay money to get onto the beach in New Jersey.
There was a burrito place on the beach. And they had blueberry lemonade – I had to get one of those.
Next I drove to Matawan, where I grew up. I passed some landmarks like the Garden State Arts Center, now named after a bank. Sigh.
When you are in Central Jersey all you can do is go north or south.
I shopped at Monmouth Mall when I was in high school.
Here is the house that I grew up in. The man who bought it from my parents in 1984 was outside when I pulled up and I told him that it used to be my house. He gave me a tour inside and out, and it was kind of a strange feeling – seeing my room and my backyard and my garage. The mailbox and the light post out front are still the same. So are the house numbers. We moved there in 1963! He told me that he raised 3 children in this house. It must be a wonderful house to have been a home to two complete families in 49 years.
This is what it looked like in 1984 when my parents sold it.
This used to be my room, I’ll have to find an old picture of it to post. I didn’t have all of those dolls. And when I lived in it, it was purple and chartreuse.
I saw my elementary school, middle school and high school. They all have fancy signs now. And the high school has a beautiful stadium and concession stand. When I was in high school we sold hot dogs from a little shack. The stadium didn’t have lights so we had to play all of our games in the daytime.
Yes, high school now seems to be sponsored by restaurants, banks and grocery stores.
And some of my favorite places are still there – the bowling alley and the bagel shop.
Next I went to visit my father’s grave, I hadn’t been to see him since he died 14 years ago. I had a little trouble finding him. It was nice to see that his gravesite is well maintained, and I stayed for a while. The sun came out. I’ve been thinking about dad lately, maybe because June would have been his birthday, his anniversary, and father’s day.
It says “A sweet and gentle man who will always be remembered.” We used to say that my father was “a likeable guy”. We said it a lot and he loved that. We joked that we would put it on his headstone when he died, but we didn’t. We should have though.
Am I the only person who likes cemeteries? I like to wander around and see who is there and imagine what their lives might have been like. And I get sad when I see the graves of babies or young people. And impressed when I see the graves of people born in the 1800’s. And kind of creeped out when I see graves with people’s faces etched on them.
And there are double headstones for a husband and wife, but sometimes the husband side or the wife side is blank because they haven’t died yet. That’s a little icky too.
I went out to dinner at a restaurant called Yesterdays. How appropriate. There’s nothing like New Jersey. Where else can you hear the phrase “Youse guys”? Well, maybe Philly. I sat in the bar section and was forced to watch a Mets game. I was never a Mets fan, always the Yankees in my house.
This must be named after a person called Yesterday. Otherwise, why the apostrophe?
The next morning I ran on a trail that I found, it is one of those trails built along an old railroad track, the Henry Hudson trail. A really nice place to run, paved and mostly shady, with other runners, walkers, bikers and dogs.
I went to a wedding shower on Sunday, and frankly, there was not much for me to eat. Even the salad had cheese in it, but I was able to get one made specially for me with no cheese. Other than that I had half a bagel and some potatoes. There was a beautiful cake and cupcakes, but alas not vegan. I checked out happycow.net and saw that a Whole Foods was just 5 miles away, so after the shower I made a stop there for some real food. Pasta salad, tofu with a coconut sauce, and vegan cupcakes! I didn’t eat all four of them, really.
You definitely can’t go home again, but you can certainly visit.