I grew up in New Jersey and lived there until I went to college at the age of 18. I went home every summer and moved back for a year when I was 25. I love NJ. I love the east coast and I miss many, many things about it. There were many things I took for granted when I lived there. Trevor shakes his head is disgust about these things that I never really appreciated.
For example, just about every year of my school life we took field trips to Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Baltimore. What 10 year old really understands and appreciates the Smithsonian museum...all of them? All that history was kind of lost on me. I have great memories of running through those places, driving by them in our bus, seeing them in the distance during road trips with the family.
My parents moved from NJ in 1995 and things were never the same. My Grandparents remained. My Pop-pop died in 1997 and around 2000, my Grammie started talking about selling the property and moving to Florida.
Grammie's house was full of family heirlooms, antiques that had been passed from generation to generation. Through my life, there was always a running tally of who got what. I'd get the goblets that Grammie collected, Dad would get the old wooden bench from the kitchen, etc. When Grammie talked of moving, she wanted everyone to come get their stuff. She was going to take just a few things with her to her new home.
We all made the trip back home, one last time, to take our memories with us to our new homes.
That was the week of Labor Day 2001. It was the most beautiful September - sunny, clear and warm. The sky was so blue.
The time came for me to return home, where Trevor was waiting, with his newly purchased Harley Davidson motorcycle. I was anxious to get back. My friend drove me to the Newark airport, bright and early that Monday morning for my 8 am flight. It was a non-stop from Newark to Portland and there were only about 30 people on the flight. I have a picture of me and my friend outside the airport, saying good-bye. Shortly after take-off, I was able to stretch out over all three seats because the plane was so empty. I fell asleep, feeling sad that I was really leaving home for the last time. Sad that things would be different now, forever.
The next morning, I woke up and headed back to work. I turned on the radio and heard the news....it was September 11th. And nothing was ever going to be the same.