A concatenation of circumstances earlier this year – projects on which I was working with one of my sisters, training for the Katy Trail Ride, and my mother’s health – resulted in my taking advantage of the opportunity to spend several months in the Texas city in which I grew up. It was definitely a change in latitude – not better or worse than what I was used to, just different.
For one, I lived in a standalone house for the first time since I graduated from college. It was odd how insecure I feel without having people connected to me by a hallway. When I tripped a circuit breaker the first weekend I was in the house, it never occurred to me to check outside for the breaker box – it had always been in my apartment. And watering a lawn – what’s that about?!
For another, I haven’t owned a car for most of my adult life and have walked, used public transportation, or once in a while, taken a cab, to wherever I needed to go. Early on in my stay, I took the bus to the transportation center downtown. When I got off, the driver, knowing I was new to the bus system, asked me where I was going. I said I was walking over to the library and he said ‘walking?’ like it was a marathon. It was a less-than-15 minute walk! It made me laugh but it was a reminder of how car-oriented and -dependent people are in a sprawling area.
As much as I enjoyed the winter (it was sooo mild compared to New England), I found the summer a challenge. Here in New England, a heat wave is when temperatures top 90 degrees for three consecutive days. In Texas, family and friends were talking in early July about how mild the summer had been because the temperature had yet to go over 100 degrees! I, on the other hand, was melting and melted even more when we hit the dog days of August.
While sometimes Texas felt as foreign to me as any foreign country, I enjoyed my time there. Because I was there for longer than my usual one-week visit, I was able to look about me more. Some of the changes made me feel as if someone was messing with my childhood, but others were wonderful – the Trinity Trails where we did our bike training, Sundance Square downtown, the developments in the public library system that allowed me to borrow books from numerous branch libraries.
Most of all, I loved being with my sisters and as hard as it was, being able to visit my mother while she still knew my name (there is no timeline for that changing, but the odds are that it will). For four months, my sister Nancy and I met two or three times a week to work on our blogs, the documentary, and various business ideas we are considering. We took advantage of a Shutterfly offer to collaborate on a book of my pictures and her words. All in all, it was a soul-satisfying and intensely creative time.
I also got to attend two of my nephew’s high school band performances and his Eagle ceremony. Twice, my sister Susan invited me to her place to share in the fun of a weekend babysitting my absolutely adorable great-nephew. One of our best get-togethers as a group was on the 4th of July, when we decided that morning to meet at my house for a cookout; to be in the same area and be able to do that spontaneously was a gift.
Because Texas had not been home to me for many decades, I did not worry about whether one can go home again or not. However, as my sister said in one of her posts earlier this year, if home is where the heart is, you can go home again, no matter how many years have passed.