I am back home, I always love getting out of town for a few days and I always love coming home. I suppose that makes sense if you want it to and I do.
I had an excellent trip to Toledo. I skipped the Ohio Turnpike this time because I simply couldn't cope with driving eighty miles per hour surrounded by trucks too close for comfort. It's draining and I was driving during daylight instead of in the wee hours as I did when I used to head to Motown for weekends. This was better although it took a bit longer.
It was raining fairly heavily when I began my journey and that continued as I made my way to Greenwich, Ohio (don't blink) where my parents and grandparents lived when I was born.
I drove about town and it seems the house where our apartment was is gone. I didn't take many pictures as a result of the rain. As I left town, the rain finally stopped and I headed north to Route 20 to keep a promise I made to an old friend and make sure I got to Toledo at a time when the traffic was manageable. (The huge, very high new bridge over the Maumee River scares the bejaysus outta me! Can you say acrophobia?)
Route 20 is a nice drive through the northwestern farming communities. I call it the flatlands because it so flat. It was once The Great Swamp of Toledo and home to the Shawnee, Delaware (Lenape) and Ottawa Indians and where General "Mad Anthony" Wayne met the great Chief Blue Jacket at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in Maumee and claimed the Ohio Country for the United States. The road is dotted with farms and pretty small towns. When I got to Bellevue, I stopped and had supper with a sorority sister who lives in one of the fabulous Victorian homes on Main Street. These homes are really gorgeous and some of the owners have taken to using the "painted lady" color schemes popular in San Francisco instead of the white or greys I remembered from my childhood when we drove south to visit my grandparents. Again, I didn't take pictures because we yakked too much getting caught up and I needed to get back on the road. I promised Ellie I would come back and stay for a couple days later this summer.
As I drove in on Route 280 and glimpsed the skyline of Toledo, tears welled in my eyes and I got a lump in my throat. I haven't lived there since I was twelve but it will always be home. I got off the expressway at the exit for Ottawa River Road and in a few minutes I was wandering around my old neighborhood recalling the days when life was simpler and I rode my bicycle all over our hood. It's changed a lot. A lot of the landmarks as are many favorite places are gone -- like the Sugar Bowl and Kunkel's where we bought penny candy after school. And I drove by the house where I grew up. No one was home so I didn't get to see what had changed inside. Funny thing though -- the exterior still is painted the same way fifty years later. The big thing I noticed is how small everything seemed. It felt like everything had shrunk: the streets, the houses. the shops -- only the bay and the rivers seemed to feel the same. I guess God's creations have more stability than man's. And yeah, I took pictures a lot but I haven't uploaded them yet. They'll be in future posts after I've gone through them.
It was getting late so I went and found my hotel and crashed for the night after I called Barbara, my step-mother, to let her know I had arrived in town safely and she said that she and Anne (my step-sister) were looking forward to our spending the next day together.
After breakfast provided by my hotel, I checked out and headed to Barb's apartment in a nice senior citizens complex. (I think the apartments are too damned small --I'd die of claustrophobia -- and took issue with that what was supposed to be a computer lab was sitting empty.) My step-sister, Anne, age 63, is a hoot. She lives in Alamogordo, New Mexico and we hit it off just fine and exchanged addresses, etc., so we can keep in touch. I have a standing invitation to visit there. Barb's friend Dolly is simply that -- a doll -- and she was my hostess for the night as there wasn't room for Anne and I both to sleep at Barb's place. We spent the day talking and getting acquainted mostly and wandering around Toledo so Anne could see her memories. One of the reasons, I went a day early was so I could do my exploring on my own with as much time as I wanted as well as adding the stop in Bellevue.
Thursday night, we celebrated Barbara's eightieth birthday at the Amvets post with all her nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews and their spouses in attendance. Barb is the last of her generation in her family and it was nice to see such a good turnout. Again, I took pictures and told Barb that my birthday gift to her was going to be photos of the party and that I was going to have one of the cousins take a photo of her, Anne and I and have it enlarged and framed. I promised to send prints to Anne, too. One of the cousin's wives took a lot of pictures, too and she's emailing them to me and I'm emailing mine to her. Cool, huh? It was really a fun party and I have a boatload of new cousins with standing invites to visit.
Friday Dolly took us out for brunch and I headed south after we talked some more. The best part of my visit was when Barb gave me a 12" by 12" cardboard box. It was filled to the brim with pictures that belonged to my dad. It had pictures from my grandma of his childhood and even some of Grandpa and Grandma's childhood! It also had my parents' wedding pictures, his high school picture and mine, and more. I have to make a trip up north to Cleveland to see one of my uncles who might be able to tell me who some of the people in them are. And that. my friends, reminds me that I have to go through my own box of photos and write what/where/who on the back of them in case anyone is interested somewhere down the road. If y'all haven't done so, I recommend y'all do the same. I am going to have all these photos copied to CDs and will share many of them with y'all.
When I got home, I was supposed to meet Marcia downtown for First Friday and see the
Budweiser Clydesdales. I was soooooooooo tired that I simply couldn't so I unloaded the car and crashed. It was a good trip but it truly drained me so I'm going to rest and recuperate.
I hope y'all have been having fun and feeling fine and I am sooooo glad you enjoyed Nancy's excellent grooooaaannn on Friday!!!!!!!!!!! I thought it a truly great one.