Sunday, March 18, 2018


I drove back home to New Jersey this weekend - a quick trip, just Friday to Saturday - to see some older friends of my parents and a friend of mine I grew up next door to. And let me say this: I've been living in my area of the country for 30 years now. I've adapted. I'm comfortable here. But going "home"? It was like stepping into a warm bath. Familiar accents, speech cadences, conversational tics, as it were - they surrounded me and I mindlessly fell into them. They are the sounds of my youth, and they made me realize just how much effort I use in my day-to-day life to communicate in what is apparently NOT my native tongue.

I speak Jersey, and I'm not ashamed of it. I miss the easy give-and-take of  conversation; I miss the carelessly mangled vowels; I miss the rising inflections in declarative statements. One woman I visited had a repairman stop by to give an estimate while I was there; I almost wept with homesickness when he said the inevitable, "Well, I know a guy..." while discussing how to fix some stuck windows.

But Jersey is more than that - it's a shared approach to using communication, a sort of timing and knowing when to interrupt (hintall the time) and knowing when to shrug and do a sideways tilt of your head. It's hard to describe, really; and probably, if you've lived there all your life, you're not even aware of it. But as an ex-pat, I certainly am. And now that I am back home, where I've lived for most of my adult life? I feel as though half of my communications skills lie dormant, waiting for a Jersey interlocutor.

Also, I miss the bagels.

Bagels I could bring back with me, at least.

While I was up there, I also got to see snow, because Lord knows that wasn't an opportunity available down here this winter.

This looks weird - as though I'm hovering
in the air above the snow pack. I'm not.

I came back so soon because I had a baby shower to go to with Susie this morning. It was a very realistic baby shower, because the woman being feted was having her 6th baby, and most of us there had had at least 4 babies ourselves. So there were no how-to-raise-baby books or outfits that would not come off easily in the case of a diaper explosion. And our hostess outdid herself in the area of melon carving, I must say:

The pacifier just about killed me.

In other news, Brian received a college acceptance letter while I was away. Considering that the one other college he had applied to had already rejected him (and a POX on them, I say), "relief" doesn't even begin to describe how we all felt when we heard the news. We've got one very happy teen in the house, people, is what I'm trying to say. And Susie is thrilled that she can move into Brian's room come August (it's bigger than hers).

Which means, hey, I get Susie's old room for my yarn collections, only 5 months from now...and Larry won't mind getting the yarn dresser out of our bedroom, that's for sure. I guess Brian's going to wonder why we're all offering to help him pack, poor guy...


  1. Congratulations ( to you all) on the college acceptance! That was nerve-wracking time with my oldest, and we are up for round two next year. Not looking forward to it. The ACT's haven't been promising this far.

    I feel that way about Southern California. Just the moist air alone does me in. I miss it so much. I live in the true desert now, with some semi-serious winters. I miss having a warm stretch in the middle of January once in a while. I miss the plants that don't grow here.I miss the heavy Latino influence. Best food in the world, warmest hearted people.

  2. 1. The bagels look wonderful.
    2. We MIGHT be getting snow...
    3. Congrats to Brian!

  3. Badabing Bagels in Purcellville. They literally drive back up to get the dough, so it's authentic NY water bagels.

    1. Hmmm, I'm going to have to check that out. They have to boil them before baking, though, or they still won't be right.

  4. I guess I am considered an ex-pat Minnesotan and I completely understand. I have adjusted to Georgia. Although, it is obvious to everyone I meet that I am NOT from here. I make due. But going back home I notice lots of things that I didn't when I lived there. But, it feels comfortable, like an old bathrobe. I have started working for some Minnesota cities again and listening to those accents (that I didn't realize existed when I lived there) gives me comfort. Way to go, Brian. I feel a little bad plotting and planning for room usage once my kids move out too. I try not to do it in front of them, if I can help it! LOL

  5. Kudos to your son! And my goodness ... that watermelon carving. How clever!

  6. I get it - I've lived in North Carolina for over twenty years but going "home" to Texas is just so comfortable. Except for the traffic - that I don't miss at all! The awesome Mexican food is still mourned.

    Congrats to Brian! I remember this house was angst-ridden while waiting for those.

    I love the melon carving! Very creative and yes, the pacifier is the icing on the cake.

  7. So much to chat about. . . I have basically always lived in Chicago. I can't imagine how weird it would be not to.

    Congrats to Brian. Eddie is a junior. Taking ACT and looking around. Its exhausting.

    Very clever melon carving!

  8. I'm not from New Jersey, but I totally get what you're talking about. I feel the same way about Buffalo, particularly the accent, and the energy. Everyone seems to move so fast there, compared to Virginia. Congratulations to your son!

  9. Congrats to your son! That's got to be a huge relief for you all! I've lived in NC my whole life but my husband dreams of retiring to Cape Cod where he grew up. I can't even comprehend the thought of leaving home but it might happen one of these days...


  10. Woohooo a yarn room. I'm dreaming of a craft room SOME DAY.

  11. Congrats on your kid getting college 2! (My son has the same situation, but I think he's come to terms okay with it. Hope Bryan is the same) All that extra ROOM! Huzzah!
    That is a cute melon baby salad. Oh, the cleverness of people.

  12. Missed this one entirely, I think work must have been eating me alive. Congrats to Brian on his college acceptance letter and that baby in the melon is making me giggle!