This past weekend, for the Easter holiday, Glenn and I loaded our three girls into the car with 2 suitcases, 1 dufflebag, 3 Easter baskets, 2 bags of easter grass, candy, food, bags of presents for Claire's birthday and a bunch of other sundries and made the 6+ hour trek to Templeton, Massachusetts, aka "where I'm from."
In what I can only call a moment of pure delirium, I had thought it was a grand idea to spend 4 days at my sister's house, a cute little home that we destroyed by making it look something like that old nursery rhyme "there was an old woman who lived in a shoe..." We were certainly bursting at the seems with 5 children, 6 adults, a dog, a cat, and 2 mice! My sister was a wonderfully gracious hostess...but there was a whole lot of "closeness" in that home!
Glenn, the girls, and I arrived in Templeton at that hazy time when you aren't sure if it's Thursday or Friday, that borderline dateline...We had a lazy morning on Friday and then my mom took her five granddaughters (3 by birth, and 2 new ones from my marriage) out for a day of sightseeing. They had a blast visiting downtown Gardner and the BIG chair. Once upon a time, this was the world's biggest chair - made in the once upon a time Chair City of the World.
While they were gone, my plan was to bake a cake for Claire's birthday party the next day and go for a run. Glenn wanted to go with me (yay! I love running with my husband) and so we donned our grubby clothes and out the door we went.
The day was perfect for running, about 68 degrees and sunny. Glenn hadn't run for several weeks and he didn't want to do more than 3 or 4 miles, which was fine by me. The good thing about being a relaxed runner: any distance is a good run! We took it pretty slow, since we were tired from a long drive up and a late night. It was a fun run for me: I got to point out some around-town things to Glenn and regale him with lots of stories about my town.
Saturday and Sunday were busy doing family things: Easter Egg hunt on the Templeton Common, then a birthday party for Claire (I can't believe my baby is just about four!) and Easter baskets, Easter service, Easter dinner. The whole weekend was great: the girls had fun together (Rachel and Sarah play, scratch that, "hang out", so well with my niece Madison, and Claire and my younger niece Georgia are like BFFs). Glenn and I hung out at the Gardner Ale House two nights in a row.
But, honestly, by Monday I was done. Done with all the closeness. Done with being a guest. I wanted to be home! And I wanted a nice long run. Since the Three Musketeers (aka RachelSarahMadison) convinced us we should stay all day on Monday too, I, literally, ran away.
I'd only brought one day of running clothes, so I had to wear again my already ridiculously stinky running clothes from Friday. But I put them on and said to Glenn as I left, "I'm not sure how long I'm running for. Sometime between 40 minutes and an hour and half." And then I was gone.
I started off retracing where Glenn and I had run, but this time seeing it with just my eyes. East Templeton has a little bakery next to the teenyweeny Post Office...Olson's Restaurant, where I shredded my left thumb on the night of my surprise 13th birthday party, looks derelict. Kamaloht - a bizarre mideval structure that used to be a dive bar - is still a bizarre mideval structure. I ran past houses that used to be the homes of kids I went to junior high with. I ran down roads that I used to drive down when I first got my license. I remembered the people I used to know who are just hazy images now, kids I used to babysit who lived there when that house was blue, looked into windows I'd look out of decades ago. I ran down streets that used to be filled with woods and now had homes so new the lawns hadn't yet been seeded...and by homes so old it's been years since the lawns were green and well-cared for.
I ran, and ran, and ran in my hometown, a place I had not really visited much in the last 10 years, except for brief hours-long excursions.
It's a strange, timetwisted feeling, returning to a place you should know so well, that is a familiar as breath, but just as fleeting because everything has changed...most of all, you.