LESSON #57 – MEMORIES

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I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.

This was my home so long ago and yet it was just yesterday when I reached my 21st birthday here.  A milestone.

Someone asked me how I knew our home in Loveladies on Long Beach Island was available to rent.  For the life of me I just can’t remember. But learn I did that ‘our’ house was available to rent during the summers and into the Fall.

As it turns out here we are and just in time.  Our house from long ago is up for sale.

We have been here for two weeks and so many memories have been revisited. The smell of the Bay, the sights of the boats heading North, perhaps, to fish, or just to tour around Barnegat Bay.  Sailboats fluttering their wings as the seagulls glide by.  The water gently hitting the bulkhead as it lulls us to sleep each night.  The sky as blue as only a New Jersey shore sky can be in the Fall.  The stop lights all flashing yellow with the summer crowds no longer.  We used to say that LBI rose over two feet each year with them gone.  It was a happy time!

I am thankful for the visions of my family, especially of my Mother and Father, as they come back to me as if I am looking at a movie of my life.  My father sitting in the bar having a drink.  My mother in the kitchen preparing dinner.  My Aunt and Uncle waving to us as they come closer from across the Bay ready to moor their boat outside our house.  Clam bakes, the houseboat rocking outside, my sister catching crabs in her traps hanging into the Bay from the bulkhead.  The family parties that never seemed to end.

My 21st birthday dinner at the table in the same spot as this table.  The precious gift my Father presented me and my surprise when I saw friends driving up the Lane for my birthday party.  A wonderful surprise and a wonderful memory.

Christmas here with the tree beautifully decorated which could be seen by boaters.  Holiday cheer on the water.

Memories are beautiful and memories are good for the soul.  We need to remember from whence we come.  Memories are not all happy but my memories of this house are awe inspiring as I look across the Bay and watch this sunset.  I see my family everywhere here.  Memories that I thought I had forgotten.

My parents are still with me as we enjoy this house that my Father built so long ago.  I realize I appreciate the beauty and the calmness the Bay has always brought to me more today than yesterday.  Somehow I feel closer to my parents within its walls.  I have gone back in time.

I fear this house will be torn down for a new and improved version of a bayfront house.  If I return to Long Beach Island this house will truly be just a memory.  The realization makes me sad.  For now I am thankful I am here.  I am thankful for all the memories that are freshened in my heart.

Thanks Dad.  I see what you saw all those years ago.

Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LESSON #56 – THAT SWEET WHISTLE

Unknown-4.jpegUnsure why it is but I have a newfound love of trains.

My children still tell me that one of their best vacation memories was the trip we took on the Crescent from Atlanta to New York City so many years ago.

The sleeping quarters were cramped to be sure but we never hesitated to laugh over it…then and now.

Living in downtown Woodstock, Georgia, the train tracks were just about in our building’s front entrance. I came to just love when a train would slowly crawl down the tracks.

When I was lucky enough to be relaxing in the park-like atmosphere across the street and a train would blow its whistle, my spirits would rise and excitement grew.

I was like a child.  More to the point I became like my grandchildren when they, too, saw a train.  Eyes would light up and a broad smile would appear as they pointed to the train!  It was the highlight of their day.  Maybe, just mine.

The barricades would come down as if shouting “STOP” and “BEWARE”.  Bells would ring.  Be careful all train lovers.  Relax, enjoy, watch and listen.

Whistles would whistle and the conductor would look ahead but once in a great while he would do a bit of a wave to the children who congregated near the barricade.  The climax of the experience to be sure since every child would believe that the conductor waves a special hello to them only.  Most certainly the children believed this and, perhaps, many adults as well.

Today, the day after Irma sauntered through the Atlanta area, I hear train after train moving through Woodstock.  Whistle after whistle.  Six so far.  They were backed up I suspect in Atlanta and must make up for lost time.  The trains and their conductors rested yesterday due to weather conditions.

Exciting day and I wish my Grandchildren could be here listening with me.  I find I am the lucky one since we live close to the tracks.  There is no ‘wrong side of the tracks’ for me.  The closer the better.

For now, I will enjoy.  “I hear the train a coming’ round the bend…”*  Here comes another train!

I hear that sweet sounding whistle.

Leigh


 

*FOLSOM PRISON BLUES by Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash

The Crescent on the Amtrak line runs from Penn Station in New York City to New Orleans making about 33 stops across 13 States with daily departures both ways.  Relax…it takes about 30 hours in total.  I highly recommend the journey from Atlanta to New York City.

Train travel in Europe is customary.  It is sad to think that in the U.S. it is not.  Amtrak has been close to closing down many of their routes.  In fact, the budget proposal is worrisome.  Many routes may be eliminated making cross country passenger rail a thing of the past.

 

 

 

 

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LESSON #55 MOON FOR THOUGHT

16.jpgHere we are in the middle of ‘our’ lake gently rocking back and forth.

The wakes from the ever increasing number of boats and jet skis gently rock our boat thoroughly relaxing us. Kayaks swim by.

People are hurrying now to position themselves and find the best possible spot on the water.

It’s a beautiful day. The sky is all clear for the big event which has already begun. A bite has been taken out of the sun but it burns brightly nevertheless.

Over 100 years ago a complete eclipse took place (or so I have been told) over North America. I do remember seeing a partial eclipse but for the life of me I can’t remember when or where I was living. I just remember glancing at the sun and worrying about my eyesight for weeks after.

I have to say the lake isn’t as crowded as I thought it might be. There are several tents set up along the shoreline for eclipse parties. We haven’t been invited.

This lake is hardly ever crowded even on the ‘big’ weekends. July 4 is the big holiday here. It used to be that boats would all meet mid lake and bounce around watching the fireworks. It was fun and more alcoholic beverages involved than I would like to admit. NOT us you understand but generally speaking!

We are ready for the totality of the eclipse….food, water, beer, chips and salsa. What else could we want? We have our books and reading glasses. We have our noodles ready to ride. Oh and most important our certified, eye saving, British Standards Institute certified and meeting the ISO 12312-2-2015 requirements. Praying all this means my eyes are safe and I won’t go blind.

Happy Eclipse Day Everybody!! Should have brought our Moon Pies, mixed Tequilla Sunrises, Blue Moon beer, Blue Moon cocktail, Cherry Moons, Harvest Moons, Moon River cocktail, Moonshine, etc. Darn!! Will have to put more time into planning the food and drink aspect next time!

Leigh

 

 

LESSON #54 – YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN!

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Words come and go.  These words and

phrases, as far as I can tell, have gone.  

A blast from the past.  By all means, help add to them!

 

Calling Long Distance

Extension Phone

That’s Cool

Floppy Disk

Swell

Gee Willakers

Golly Gee

Holy Mackerel

The Fuzz

Coppers

Dirty Rats

Rats

Broken Record

Holy Moly

Jiminy Cricket

Oh me oh my

Zany

The Bomb

High Time

Croak

FYI

New digs

Dig it

Cool Baby

Phone Booth

Milkman

Greaser

Rat Stabber

Hipsters

Granny Dresses

Hair in a Flip

French Twist

Hippie

Teased (hair!)

That’s Bologna

SOB

Getting on in Years

Pocket Comb

Hook ups

Setting gel

Bobby Socks

Peddle Pushers

Poodle Skirts

Pony Tail

Getting High

Yoo Hoo

I’m just Sayin……

” Words mean more than what is set down on paper.  It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”   Maya Angelou

Leigh

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LESSON #53 – UPSIZING FROM DOWNSIZING

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There is something interesting being in a home that is empty.  It may be ‘yours’ but the scents and aura left behind are surely the past owners.

Try as you might to envision new lives here the dogs that have vacated with their owners have left behind not an overpowering dog smell. It lingers.  Thoughts go to our dogs we loved.

A house takes on the personality of its inhabitants and this one is no different.  Try as the sellers did with plug-in air fresheners in every room, they are still here.

From past experience I know that this house will become ours over the next weeks and certainly months.

The two dogs will leave us and every dog hair, certain to be hiding, will be swept away.

Furniture will be moved in.  We will sleep here, shower here, cook here, live here and our house will slowly become our home.

It will become familiar.  No longer a stranger with every picture hung on the wall.  A friend it will become with each celebration with family and with friends and new acquaintances welcomed.

I suspect this is why a house-warming party was so popular not so long ago.  Is a party such as this out of vogue now or is it because most people when they move don’t have friends in their new town.  Not so in our case.  We are moving a short 2.2 miles from our downsizing abode.

The emptiness of a home moved out of complete with many happy memories even though short-lived and a new home coming around the bend.  Boxes packed, cupboards empty.  Walls touched up with new paint, refrigerator no longer filled with our ‘must haves’.  Bathroom sparkles and floors shine ready to welcome someone new.

Anxiety, excitement, anticipation for memories to be made.

Once again we are setting out on a new adventure.  Tiring it is.  The energy I once had is a bit depleted…just a bit or maybe more than a bit.

We say goodbye to the old and hello to the new!  I just have to be patient until our new and empty house is indeed our new home.

This house will say, “Welcome Home” and my patience will be rewarded.

Leigh

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