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Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

July 25, 2011

The kids and I have spent most of the past month in South Eastern Michigan. This meant the cluster$*#% through various airports, baby shoe removals at security checkpoints, and raising of passenger terror levels as they watch pre-boarding temper tantrums. You know, the usual in domestic travel.

As I am an unabashed geek, I generally pump myself up for such trips by flipping through my mental rolodex (my brain is also by turns a VHS player, it’s all 80’s all the time in my subconscious) for appropriate analogies to match my current situation. My favorite daydream for solo flying with small children is pretending I’m one of the Fighting Urak-hai getting slapped silly by the white hand of Saruman (you know…Fellowship of the Rings?  Anyone? Anyone?  Hope you’re staying with me). The scene is something like a pep rally of testosterone, dark magic and occasional teeth gnashing as the wizard intones, You don’t know pain, You don’t know fear.  And then the orcs on acid go out in search of man flesh.

Well, I forgo gnawing the face of my seat mate  in 15C but I do repeat that mantra every. single. time. I pass through the metal detector and have to wrangle our shoeless two year old while getting the ten month old back in the sling as piles of baby food, plastic dinosaurs, dogeared books, strollers, spare clothes pile up on the belt of the scanner and…just one moment (interrupt this blog for a PTSD induced panic attack).

Okay then! Trip reminiscing aside, I’ve been getting better at making an annual pilgrimage to Michigan ever since our son was born. It used to be the space between visits was growing longer and longer. But now I want my kids to feel connected to this place of my childhood. Seep alongside me in nostalgia. We stay to the same house where I was raised until the age of ten. Sleep in my old bedroom where I used to have wildly vivid imaginings of the cloven foot boogey  man from the Ghostbuster’s cartoon bursting through the closet door…

I mean LOOK at what terror the animators inflicted on my tender psyche:

Good luck sleeping tonight. Your Welcome.

I take them for walks up our gravel road and notice small geographical landmarks that mean nothing to most people. But to me there’s the place where the sketchy family near our bus stop once forgot to properly tie up German Shepard. It flew like the hound of hell down this wooded path straight at my brother, cousin and I…

We were rescued through the shared sacrifice of sack lunch bologna and cheese sandwiches thrown to the beast before making an ungainly exit.

I feel the compulsion to strap everyone into their car seats and cruise down the Main Street that is so all-American it makes me want to eat soft-served Dairy Queen, drive a Ford and buy corn at a roadside stand. Oh wait, that’s EXACTLY what we did.

After 5th grade I left this little village. The state. And have moved an awful lot since then. I have a friend who has made fun of me for alternately claiming to be from different places upon meeting new people. “Chicago? Hey, I lived there.” “Minnesota. What part? I lived in blahblahblah.” “Montana you say? Hey, you ever been to…” But Michigan is a place where I have roots. I might not get recognized at the Meijer(s) but people here knew me when I was I don’t know, knee high to a grasshopper? Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Great-Great Grandparents and Great-Great-Great Grandparents are buried there. For a transient like me, this can be a powerful feeling:

Grave of my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Christian Visel (1808-1864). He was born in Remmingsheim, Germany and is buried in downtown Ann Arbor.

The farmstead in Lodi Township where Christian Visel settled with his eldest daughter and her family.

The view from the front of my Great-Great Grandparent Keelan's farm in Sylvan Township

The railroad tracks my Grandfather used to walk to visit my Grandmother during their courtship in the early 1920's

Whenever I come back I’m asked without fail if I’d ever consider moving back. I don’t think so. The ocean has cast it’s spell on me.  But oh how I love visiting. The smell of lake water. The crunch of the gravel roads. The red barns. The fecundness of the hardwood forests. The flashes of lightening bugs on twilight. The sound of a fishing boat motoring alive in the dark. The taste of German pretzels. The University of Michigan/Michigan State rivalries. The stories of people long gone. The smiles on my relatives faces as they watch my children sink their toes into the thick green summer grass.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jeff schlueter permalink
    July 25, 2011 6:07 pm

    Awesome post Lea, but did you have to dredge up that ghostbusters screenshot? I almost crapped my pants when I saw that long-forgotten demon. Nightmares for years. Also, Christian Visel has the best headstone of all time. He’s #1!

  2. July 27, 2011 2:00 am

    Looks so lovely! The midwestern girl in me will never stop loving a lake in summertime. I can’t do the double-whammy children travel solo though. I’d turn into one of the acid-orcs or something.

  3. July 28, 2011 1:00 pm

    @Jeff…apologies. he really his something hey? @erin…if you ever change your mind i can totally pump you up!

  4. Martin Evangelista permalink
    November 29, 2012 2:50 am

    i always buy baby shoes that are made up of natural cotton and leather because they are comfortable for the baby. :

    <a href="Take a look at all of the most recently released posting on our new blog site

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