Deb’s Childhood – Revisited

November 20, 2017

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.

Click on image to view full size

 

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

 

Wishing you all an amazing Thanksgiving,

Deborah

 

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Sherman November 20, 2017 at 8:04 am

Nice job Steve!!!!!!!!

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

Yes. Nice job indeed. 🙂
D.

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Amy November 20, 2017 at 8:24 am

WOW! I love this. Happy Birthday Deb!

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

Thanks, Amy! Happy Thanksgiving!
D.

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Michelle November 20, 2017 at 9:02 am

way to go Steve, knew you were super special! Deb congrats and congrats on your upcoming bday xo – I am not able to go Friday, as I have my 30th high school reunion…when did that happen? lol – hope you are well, have a martini for me, toasting a wonderful friend, mentor and former work colleague! Enjoy, wish I could be there! I know, you will rock the house!

your friend, Michelle xo

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

We’ll miss you guys! Have fun at the reunion!
D. xx

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Jenifer November 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

What fun and how special – thanks for sharing!
Xoxo,
Jenifer

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 9:06 am

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!
D. xx

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Octavia November 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

Most college buildings from Ivy League schools are not as grand as that magnificent high school. What an inspiring place to learn to live an artful life… It left its mark! 💜

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 10:04 am

Thank you, my dear!
Happy Thanksgiving!
D.

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Ursula November 20, 2017 at 11:05 am

Bravo, Steve!!!! What a beautiful birthday gift for a beautiful birthday girl! The start of a weeklong celebration! That school is gorgeous! It’s hard to believe it is a public high school. What a treasure! I am sorry I have to miss the party on Friday, but I will be there in spirit, dear friend. Happy birthday to us!
xxx

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I will be toasting to you on Thanksgiving, our mutual birthday. Happy Birthday, Urs!
D. xx

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Rose Marie November 20, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Deb, What an awesome gift. I was glad there were pictures of Fairhaven High, I had never been in that school . What a neat school. I don’t remember the date of your birth so I don’t know if I am late or early but Happy Birthday and many more wonderful memories. Love Ya

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Thanks, Rose! It’s the 23rd, but I’m celebrating the whole month.
Love and Hugs,
D.

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Anne November 20, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Happy birthday, Deb. What a wonderful gift Steve organized for you.

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Deborah November 20, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Thanks, Anne!
D.

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Kate Ertz-Berger November 20, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Looks like a wonderful day. What an amazing school.
Great job Steve.
Sorry we’ll miss the party.
Hope to see you guys in the New Year.
Love, Kate and Ron

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Ann November 21, 2017 at 8:02 am

Happy Birthday, Deb! What a great celebration – that Steve, he’s a real keeper! 🙂

Ann

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Deborah November 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I agree!!
D. xx

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Anita Poyant November 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

What a nice story, it sounds like it was a wonderful day. (Except the getting older part)

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