Friday, April 22, 2011

...I Want To Have A Snow Day That Will Turn Parents Into Kids

I spent 20 years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn't replace
I was running away from the only thing I've ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done that and I ain't lookin' back on the seeds I've sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone
Who says you can't go home…..
                        --Jon Bon Jovi, Who Says You Can’t Go Home

            I spent twenty years trying to leave New Jersey. Almost exactly twenty years. It started when I was four-ish. I was on a family vacation to California, and the story my father tells me goes that I tugged on his sleeve one day, and looked up at him with my big blue eyes and said “Daddy, can we move here?” and he said “no” (being a New Yorker he rightly believed that the center of everything in the US is New York). I paused for a moment, looked up at him and said “Daddy…one day I am going to live here” and he again said “no”. After that, being my stubborn self, I consciously or subconsciously spent energy trying to move to California. It was a journey filled with roadblocks—California was to far away for my parents when it came to college, upon graduation no job in California wanted me. California was the impossible dream. I remember growing secretly resentful of one of my best friends when she got into graduate school in California. California was not her dream, it was my dream—she stole my San Diego.
            As that first year post college began to draw to a close, I threw my hat in the California ring one more time and landed a job at Hillel at the Claremont Colleges. This was the dream—I was on a one-way ticket to California.
            In retrospect, I do not know if that ticket was one way because I really thought this was it—I am going out west to find the sun and once I found it life will be glorious and I would not turn back, or if it was because I had friends telling me that I would be back, and I am stubborn and wanted to prove them wrong. Either way--after 20 years, was getting out of that place.
            I came out west to find the sun—and I did. I found winters with tank tops, and summers that went on for hundreds of days, but then something strange happened. I found myself homesick for the strangest things. From day one in California I missed bagels, pizza, and public transportation. But after three years of endless summer, I found myself longing for the fall. I found myself angry at the trees that did not change color in October. I found myself feeling pity for the kids who would never know what it was like to jump into a pile of orange, red, and yellow leaves. I found myself missing that feeling of longing for summer. Of the days when I would check the mail at my parents house in Teaneck, New Jersey and call my dad and say “guess what came in the mail today?” and the answer would be a letter from the Teaneck Swim Club, meaning that it was safe to count down to summer. I missed a holiday season with rosy cheeks, and the smell of pine. I went to Beverly Hills “Deck The Hills” and cried at its desperate and failed attempt at being 5th avenue and Rockefeller Center.
            I missed my family and I missed friends, but those I could get on a plane and see. What I missed most I realized, were feelings. These feelings that I had to walk away from in order to gain an appreciation for them.
I missed home.
And so I filled out a campus preference card with a million and ten reasons why they should put me in New York. And now I wait. I wait for May 25th when I get on that plane to EWR. I wait for May 26th where I change my license back to a New Jersey driver’s license [man I wish they were still those plastic coated ones]. I wait until June 13th, when I pack up and get on a plane and leave again, sad because the visit was far to short. I wait for HUC to make a decision, to let me [hopefully] go home.


  1. You are a wonderful writer. I am enjoying catching up on your blog.

  2. Thanks! Some of the later posts are less eloquent I must admit...are you blogging?