Thirty-one and a half years ago, we ruined Craig’s life. We rooted his little self from the only place in the world that was fit to live and plopped him down in a new place that was totally unacceptable. Totally. His life was over. There was no surviving this upheaval. How could we do this to him? Worst thing ever.

We moved the poor boy to Larchwood Court. It was the most traumatic thing possible. Until ten years later when we wanted to move back to the same town we took him from and then that was the worst thing ever.

Larchwood Court was a cul-de-sac in one of the many small developments that made up Landon in Maineville, Ohio. The houses were smaller, starter homes just like the family we had. Each of the communities within Landon had their own pool and park, there were walking trails winding through the undeveloped nature land surrounding each community. Even better, in Montgomery Hills, there were the “muddy trails” down near the stream.

Amazingly enough, it wasn’t the end of the world. Ours was the yard without fencing all around and so our back yard became the baseball, football, and lacrosse field. We had a basketball hoop and so ours was the yard that became the basketball court. It was a lovely little house. But the best thing about our house, the most dramatically striking feature, was the neighbors.

When I started posting that sistercation would be in Ohio this year, Nancy graciously offered to see if she could get some of the old neighbors together so we could catch up. I haven’t lived there for twenty years and yet it was easy to get right back to the warm, fuzzy place of Larchwood Court even though we weren’t actually sitting on the side deck, watching the kids (who are now all adults, many with kids of their own) play while we sipped coffee, munched snacked, and laughed.

Cheri and Pam dropped me off and I walked backwards twenty years to my old friends and neighbors. We laughed and talked and laughed some more. There were some old pictures floating around, one even included the traveling toilet. There were so many funny stories about back then and so many wonderful stories about right now.

Not everyone could be there. Some people had moved away, some people were away on vacation, and sadly, two of my dear neighbor friends have died. Nancy and Debbie were missed at the gathering, but both were there with us in spirit and in our stories.

There were seven of us able to get together and between us we have eight and two-thirds kids. Many of the stories we told were not of the past, but of the present and our hopes for the future. Nancy (and John) and I are each blessed with two grandsons and two granddaughters. Irene and Bill are getting a grandson in November. We got to share some pictures of the future, too.

Nancy made us a wonderful lunch and the time zipped past in the blink of an eye. Cheri called from the driveway to say she was back and it was time to go. We all got posed together for a group shot. The Larchwood Court crew is looking pretty spry for a bunch of old farts.

Nancy and John, me, Fred and Gina, Bill and Irene

Nancy and John, me, Fred and Gina, Bill and Irene

After they picked me up, we sisters stopped at a few stores on the way home and got some more shopping done. While I was having fun, my sisters were out to lunch (literally, not disparagingly) and shopped but there is never really enough of that going on. Our last stop was the grocery store – again. We got some chicken for dinner. Pam and Steve would have instant mashed potatoes while I would fix some quinoa which came in a package and was flavored with mushroom and looked really scary when I put it into the pan. But I soldiered through and cooked it while Pam was in charge of potatoes and broccoli and Cheri in charge of the chicken.

Dick will not eat the bird seed. Steve wouldn’t even taste it. Pam gave it a taste but preferred her mashed potatoes. Cheri had some rice/quinoa mix leftover stuff in the fridge which she added to hers because she said it was too salty. I just ate it. It was good and the mushroom flavoring was probably some terrible chemical shitstorm, but what the heck – I’m on vacation.

We spent the evening laughing and talking and crafting. We had to calculate the exact time to leave the house so we could be at the shop to collect Pam’s new crafting supplies. We did go on a walk so the sisters could get their step requirements met. I just had a sister requirement and loved being outside and walking the neighborhood.

We had an absolutely lovely day and I’m so glad I got to see some of my old neighbors. I can’t thank Nancy enough both for thinking of this but also for getting it together and graciously hosting. I really did have a wonderful neighborhood in which to raise the boys. It was an idyllic place to grow up and I wish for all the kids of Larchwood Court the same experience as the next generation enters into what can be a scary place, but can be a place of love and laughter as well.

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