Apparently one can go back home again – for a visit. That’s what Hubby and I did last spring. We toured my roots, mostly Pennsylvania, with a bit of New Jersey thrown in.
50+ years ago I attended Camp Cherith, nestled in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. At that time it was an all-girls camp connected with Pioneer Girls. Honestly, I never liked Pioneer Girls but I loved Camp Cherith. I learned about camping and swimming and horseback riding. One summer I worked as a Kitchen Aide in order to stay longer with less expense. I worked with the horses and I learned all sorts of crafts. Most of the counselors came from PCB – Philadelphia College of the Bible. During the school year, once in a while a friend and I would take the train downtown to visit them. Although it’s now a co-ed camp under a different name, we were fortunate enough to connect with the director who had a person give us the full tour. Most was unfamiliar to me except the dining hall, the cabins, the lake and the rock walls. Fond memories!
We visited New Hope, PA and directly across the Delaware River, Lambertville, NJ. Growing up, on the way to visit my New Jersey relatives, we would drive right through these quaint towns but now the new highways bypass it. I always wanted to stop and shop but my dad was the type to “do not stop until we reach our destination.” This was my opportunity! We bypassed the bypass and found the towns. These two towns are wonderful places to visit, with much history attached. It’s a shame about the new highways as folks are bypassing history.
As we drove down from there toward the rest of my youth recollections, I couldn’t help but notice the rural area all around. I used to say I was from the “suburbs” of Philadelphia, but now I see it was even further out than that. We lived in “the sticks”, a lot of farm country! I recall that no public transportation came out as far as our home and my school bus ride was basically at the end of the line!
We saw the two houses I lived in, growing up.
We drove past the hospital where I was born and 43 years later my dad would die in.
We checked out my grandparent’s row home in Philadelphia. And the alley in the back where my brothers would play kick ball and I would roller skate. Such vivid memories come to mind of my sweet grandparents.
I reconnected with childhood friends – some I hadn’t related to since, well, since childhood. It was interesting to see how we all turned out and the “roads” we took to get there. I think some friends were honestly surprised as to how I turned out. The road I took out of my youth didn’t appear to be headed in a good direction. But eventually God intervened!
We went to a familiar diner across from the now-closed Willow Grove Navy Base.
We visited friends of my parents – way into their 90’s, who caught us up on all the people I knew all my life from my church. I would have lots to share with my mother later.
And the countryside – ah the countryside. I never appreciated the beauty before, and the history! We passed a Quaker Friends Meeting House and many original stone homes and the Delaware River – you remember, the one Washington crossed! 🙂
I shared with Hubby certain incidents on specific roads, in snow storms and ice storms and driving lessons and the time, at age 10 or so, where my friend and I decided to walk two miles away from my school toward my church. My mother was late picking us up and we were left all alone. (That would NEVER happen today!) I’m sure I was in a lot of trouble, but I’ve blocked that part out! 🙂
We visited the cemetery where my grandparents, my grandfather’s brothers and their wives, my dad, my brother, my Great-Great Uncle Harry and many, many other relatives are buried; the place where my dad’s brother, who died in 1918 at the age of two from meningitis, was buried. So much history, rich family history!
I’m fairly certain that will be my last visit to “home.”
It’s funny that I still call it home when I’ve lived away from there longer than I lived there. But I suppose “home” means “roots”. And they go deep. I’m so glad I went “home” for a visit!
I would be remiss if I did not make a plug for my recently published book, ‘Papa, Where Are You?’
The house pictured here is part of my heritage and plays a prominent role in my book. If you’d like to purchase ‘Papa, Where Are You?’, click on the link, next to the “About” button above. And be sure to read the reviews!