Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Looking to the Past for My Future - Massachusetts Journey Continued

Although my trip is halfway over, there are still so many things I have yet to do. And yet, the things I have done thus far have been more than just fun; they have been a learning experience. Take Sunday, for instance. Sunday was my day to visit my prep school, Phillips Academy Andover, and my family, of whom I had not seen in quite some time. My father is from Lawrence, MA, one of the smaller yet still quaint towns north of Boston. Next door is Andover, of which this blog post will begin.

As soon as I drove into the town, my heart felt tight as the memories came flooding back. There was the first CVS I ever visited; Andover Bookstore still stood in the back behind a building, patiently waiting for me to return, and the hill that I dreaded to climb every time I decided to go into town. Andover had changed so much and yet it still remained the same for me. However, it was not until I reached my school that I covered my mouth with my hand and tried like hell not to cry.Phillips Academy Andover is one of the oldest prep schools in the country and many famous people attended school there. Although I went to Phillips for a summer session, I still consider it to by MY school. I found a parking spot then set out on my adventure. I located the cafeteria, the hall in which we would have tea time outside on the quad in between classes, my dorm Fuess Hall and the graveyard.

The graveyard, as I stated on Facebook, was part of my trail as I walked to breakfast. I always thought it was so cool to be able to walk through such a historic necropolis in order to reach Life and my Calculus classes. After walking and sweating much all the while trying to take it in, I returned to my car and set off for the town. I wanted to walk, think and think some more . . . . and visit a certain bookstore.

The town holds both quiet dignity and hip urban ways, both blending well like the iced coffee I enjoyed as I walked along Main Street. My eyes went everywhere as I took it all in and I no longer felt like a stranger but rather a prodigal daughter who finally decided to return home. And Andover is one of my homes, no matter how much time I actually spent there. I found a nice place to sit and enjoy the rest of my coffee and feel the cooling breezes that caressed my face from my earlier stomp through the graveyard.

When I finished my coffee, I set my sights on the bookstore. Andover Bookstore is a great little establishment as well as the place to pick up some Andover merchandise. The wooden stairs leading upstairs, the feeling of being comforted by the books as well as the laid back staff, all of it I missed very much and soon set my sights on buying things.

The second part of my Sunday was the part that made me a bit nervous - visiting my family. The last time I had seen my father's family was when I was a teenager. Now that I was 40, I was sure they wouldn't even recognize me. How wrong I was. My father's family is large, to say the very least. Aunts and uncles, cousins galore and I was an aunt to many children whose names I had forgotten after several minutes. My reasoning was that I spent the time laughing, learning and listening in no order and all at the same time. One thing I love about my family is that they are mixed - black, white, Hispanic, Japanese and everything in between. Beautiful people with wide smiles and loving arms - the nervousness melted away.

I also learned quite a bit about the "racism" in the North and how different it is as compared to the South. Although the two areas are part of the same country, they are radically different. I also learned that, in thanks to my Aunt Linda, the family can be traced to the Revolutionary War and parts of Nova Scotia. I was asked if I wanted to have a copy of the history and I emphatically said YES. I had tried once to discover my mother's genealogy years ago and got as far back as three generations with bloodlines in Mississippi and Louisiana. However, to state that your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and were later transported to Nova Scotia was quite the feat. As I looked around the living room, watching everyone say their goodbyes and  "see you soon"s, I knew once more that I had no reason to worry about the past.

The past is alive and well in Massachusetts, giving me more than hope for the future.

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