Holiday Memories

This holiday weekend conjurs up lots of memories. For some people, this is a well-deserved 3-day weekend that provides family time, barbecues, and time to breathe after long weeks of work. For others, it is a serious time to remember those who have served and are serving in support of our country. I do think of my father who served in the Aleutians in World War II, repairing airplane engines, and who knows what else? But…for me, this weekend is a reminder of this time 45 years ago when, on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, I met my future husband and best friend. Playing host to two English girls, I took them to the now long gone Drake’s Drum on the upper east side of Manhattan. It was my first time there, but I had heard that it was a bar where a lot of English rugby players hung out and thought the sisters (whose names are long forgotten) would enjoy a bit of home. Of course, it was also a popular watering hole for newly arrived Aussies too. Adrian and I met there and, later in the weekend, we took the subway to his place that he shared with lots of other guys in Brooklyn. On a whim, we went to Coney Island and rode the Cyclone three times! I hate roller coasters, but tolerated this because I knew this was a special day. con-cyclone

And it was a special day. A year and a half later we were married and remained best friends. My son-in-law’s sister, Vanessa, gave me a beautiful print of the Cyclone one year for Christmas and it hangs next to the front door. Every morning I look at it and remember that day, but especially this weekend. Having just finished reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things, which is set in Coney Island, thoughts of The Cyclone were right up front in my memory library. There is another reason why this weekend is memorable for me.

Two years ago exactly, Rachel, my dog Sydney, and I left 1207 Walton Drive in Tallahassee with a loaded car headed to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Having sold my home, retired, and deciding to move north, we set out after the movers finished packing at about 6:00 PM. In an effort to get to Lords Valley before the moving truck, we drove long and hard and arrived at my new home a day later. It is very clear in my mind, waking up the next day to find the movers at the top of the driveway sleeping in their truck. In no time at all, I had the things I chose to keep with me, Rachel and I started unpacking, Michael arrived that afternoon, and we all set to making this former vacation house a home. In retrospect, there were so many things I gave away or sold or took to Goodwill that I should have kept, but I thought that moving meant downsizing possessions. In fact, even after I arrived here, we called someone to come and get even more furniture, kitchen things, and odds and ends that were duplicates. What was I thinking?

We make decisions in an instant. Making sure I met Adrian after seeing him across the bar at Drake’s Drum was one of those. Leaving so much behind 2 years ago was another. But, the thing about reflecting on these decisions is to learn and not to regret. This is a special weekend for me and I find myself a bit more nostalgic than usual.