Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rochester, NY

I traveled to my childhood home today with my sister Brooke - Rochester, NY 274 Carling Rd. I had not been to the neighborhood I grew up in for at least 11 years. My sister and I rang the doorbell of our old home and no one answered so we snuk into the back yard. After looking at the tree we used to climb as kids we noticed someone in the back window. We discovered that an elderly woman lived there who is in a wheelchair and is homebound. We visited with her and reminisced about our childhood and the past nine years of her life in that home. She was glad to know that the home she was in had a history and was glad to hear of our families in Pittsburgh. Next on our journey was to East High School, our alma mater. We had heard stories of the growing deterioration of our school and the violence that continued to be a part of the daily lives of high school kids. We walked in and were greeted by the familiar aroma of our high school. It is funny the things you remember. So we wondered if it would be different or the same. We wandered down to the guidance counselors offices where both Brooke and I had incredibly fond memories of the secretary to this office - Ms. G. We were most certain that she would not be there but we were pleasantly surprised that she is only two years away from retirement and had just returned to work yesterday. We reminisced some more, told her of our children, our neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, the ministries we are involved in and then talked of old friends that we had not seen in some 12-15 years. We discovered that none of our teachers from high school were teaching any more due to retirement. That made us feel old. Well... onward and downward to our grade school, Hendrick Hudson School #28. Schools all have numbers in Rochester, I am not sure why? Here we wandered in and wondered out unnoticed. Then we swung up to the home of my childhood friend, David Dugan. I did not think his parents would still be there but we discovered that in their mid 70's they were still there and still very active, grooming their yard with the care they always did and Mrs. Dugan welcomed us in with her classic Irish Catholic hospitality. We got caught up on all of their children and shared the bitter sweet turns that life had offered each of us; we celebrated birth and new life and mourned and grieved the early death of my brother in-law and the brother of my childhood friend - Dave. We talked about the importance of hoping in God through difficult times and the importance of community and the church to help carry us through. It was a blessing to us and I hope to Mrs. Dugan. We then drove by some familiar locations such as "the short cut", The Winton Grille, the library, the old homes of high school friends, Ellison Park, Brighton Presbyterian Church, our dad's old store that is now a Calvary Chapel, and Capitan Tony's Pizza. Overall things seemed smaller - our house, the walk to school, the length of our street, our friends houses and the journey from one end of the neighborhood to the next. The trees were taller. Some things looked exactly as I remembered them and others looked totally different. Time is strange. The best part of these three hours was the time spent with my sister talking about our childhood, remembering all the crazy things we did together and with friends, discussing the difficulty of the death of Matt, the quirkiness of our families and seeing God's faithfulness in it all. Both of us had recently been having regular dreams about our old neighborhood and felt the strong pull to go and visit. I am not sure what that was all about, but regardless it was time well spent because it was time spent with my sister Brooke. I love you sis!

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