Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again”. His experience was vastly different from mine; his protagonist’s town turned against him. My house just got smaller.

Still, it held stories and memories, which I won’t share here but choose to hold back for possible eventual blackmail purposes.

My darling husband wanted a surprise birthday experience for me – we stopped trying to buy each other surprise gifts long ago – so he arranged for a visit back to my childhood home, my high school, and the skating rink where I spent my formative years, and embarrassingly had a Zamboni machine named after me. This trip down memory lane wasn’t just for the two of us – he invited my closest girlfriends and cousins Anita and Claudia and hired a white stretch limo. And bought Champagne. Lots and lots of Champagne.

The house where I lived and attended grades 4 through high school graduation was a 3 bedroom split-level which we all remembered to be HUGE. Or, I guess, we were smaller. Walking into it today was an eye opener; Anita and I kept looking at each other with eyebrows up to our hairlines. Of course the décor had completely changed with the exception of my mother’s favorite wallpaper from 1966 which was still on the kitchen walls. I’m told it is common, that our childhood homes are all much smaller than we recall. Still, it held stories and memories, which I won’t share here but choose to hold back for possible eventual blackmail purposes.

Riding around in a yummy limo drinking Champagne with my friends on a beautiful sunny and cold day was a hoot. And a stop at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven reminded me of how lucky we are to live where we do. The sun shining off of Buzzard’s Bay, Butler’s Flat lighthouse in the distance and a fishing trawler on its way to the open ocean are everyday occurrences we take for granted, but on this day we fully appreciated them. Toasted to them, even.

I refer to Fairhaven High School as our own personal Hogwarts. Built in 1906 by Henry Huddleston Rogers (of Standard Oil fame) as a gift to the town of Fairhaven it was like entering a castle every day. My cousin Michael, also an alum, showed a photo to a friend who asked, “Did you have a quidditch team?” The slick marble stairs have since been recovered with a rubberized, non-skid surface, but I’ll always have memories of my friend Jacky maneuvering them on 4” platform heels that would have made Elton John jealous. Room 7, the senior homeroom is still magnificent, and the stained glass windows still inspire awe. And interestingly, most of the group had never been inside even after living in the area most of their lives. It was the highlight of the day. My old hangout, the art room – basically a throwaway room just under the clock tower – has been replaced in the new extension by rooms and rooms of art labs and equipment. I’m glad to see the expansion, but those kids will never experience the tight knit art community we had in our tiny hideaway. Or the lessons in art and life given by the amazing Joe Rapoza.

Off to the Hetland Arena, the skating rink my dad managed when I was a kid. I was a rink rat, there as much as I could be, skating, watching hockey games, disavowing that it was my name on the Zamboni. Not sure what my dad was thinking, but naming a small square truck after your teenage daughter is never a good idea. Many memories, some cringe-worthy, came flooding back. Nothing another couple of bottles of Champagne couldn’t take care of.

We ended our trip down memory lane at our current house, with dinner of Riccardi’s lasagna and antipasto and a birthday cake with a 3 and a 6 candle on it. 36? Steve says that’s how old I act. I love my husband.

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Next up – Photos from the 11-24 Birthday Bash!

 

Wishing you all an amazing Thanksgiving,

Deborah

 

 

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Mussels and Carrots and Leeks, Oh My!

November 8, 2017

As the weather cools I look for soul satisfying soups and stews to take the chill off and to use available seasonal ingredients, especially fall crops like leeks. I am a big fan of leeks. Yes, they can be a pain to clean, but they make everything I do with them better. I use them […]

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Wicked, In a Good Way

November 1, 2017

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She would have been 95, but she left us at 87. Having a Halloween birthday was always good for witch jokes, broomstick as mode of transportation, and just calling her scary in general, which wasn’t far from the truth. She had a wicked sense of humor, in every sense of […]

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For the Love of Pumpkin

November 1, 2017

I keep reading articles about people being “pumpkin-ed out”. That’s just heresy. Fall wouldn’t be fall without pumpkin. I will say that I believe Starbucks has changed the recipe of their pumpkin spiced latte, which in my opinion is not as good as it used to be. But that won’t make me break up with […]

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Irreverence and Sarcasm

October 26, 2017

Some of us were lucky enough to see the humorist David Sedaris at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford last week. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but unlike my companions on this night it was the first time I’d ever seen him live. And while his books are brilliant I enjoy listening […]

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The Official Invitation

October 18, 2017

Anyone going to be in New England over Thanksgiving? I’m celebrating and I want everyone to come. Turning 60 is a big friggin’ deal, especially when at 50 I wasn’t sure I’d make it. My old friends and readers know the story, but I’ll provide the Cliff’s Notes for those who are new to the […]

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The Hurting Time

October 11, 2017

I just read a wonderful novel called The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I read a passage that was so insightful, so appropriate for anyone experiencing grief that I felt the need to share it with all of you. We are all reeling from another mass casualty event, 58 people dead and scores injured; […]

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Big Head Todd and the Monster Mussels

September 27, 2017

Actually, the band’s name is Big Head Todd and the Monsters. But we dined at Red Stripe restaurant in East Greenwich, RI before the show and the mussels were, well, monsters. My cousin Claudia and her husband John invited us to the show. John had been a fan of Big Head Todd’s since he experienced […]

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My New Gig

September 20, 2017

I still read the local newspaper. Daily. Cover to cover. Well, I scan the sports section for items of interest and for enough info to be dangerous (or to be able to fill in a sports-related crossword clue). As a foodie I always looked forward to the Wednesday food pages, and for many years a […]

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World’s Largest Paella Pan

September 13, 2017

I now own the world’s largest paella pan. Well, technically, not. There are bigger, but I don’t know how anyone could lift them when they’re full of food. This puppy is 24” across and takes up 4 burners of my 6-burner stove. It’s awesome. I realized a real paella pan needed to live in my […]

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