One week after our last performance at Brick Presbyterian Church we return to play again.
Left Littletown, New Hampshire and drove the remaining distance back home to Peoria, New York today. This was to be a momentous day in my personal history, and my parents’ as well, I suppose. This was the final day, of the final vacation that we would ever really take as a family. At least in the traditional sense of me being a child and vacationing with my parents. In a year I would be working all summer and unable to take time off to get away other than to look at colleges and far too busy with social commitments to leave for an extended period of time. And the summer after that I would end up leaving for university in Michigan almost immediately after high school graduation. So this was it, the last hurrah. The final big trip that we would have together in this way.
In total it was 2,682 miles on this trip. The longest that I will have drive and/or ridden on a road trip for more than a decade. (I won’t surpass this in a single trip until my honeymoon in 2004, returning to many of the same locations.)
[Written: 23 Feb 2016]
Monday. Today, while not overly dramatic in the grand sense, proved to be a pretty substantial one overall in my life. And one that anyone from the region would remember and talk about for decades to come. I write this post when I am forty one and sitting in an office in Phoenix, Arizona, that I share with my cousin Jeremy who was just one and currently shares an office with me!
Today is my Aunt Sharon’s birthday.
We woke up this morning to an epic ice storm, the worst that anyone can remember hitting the region. The ice was inches think on top of everything. Roofs, trees, all destroyed and roads were all but impassable. School closed, obviously, as even buses could not get to and from houses. It was not safe to be out at all. The roads were solid sheets of ice.
The Richardsons came up from Leicester to our house for the day. Since there was no school we just had a birthday party at the house. Jeremy and Sara were very little. Jeremy was only one and a half!
There was no power this morning, power lines are down nearly everywhere. The entire region is without power right now. But there was loads and loads of sunlight, what a bright day.
One of my most vivid memories of the day was my mom cooking a French silk pie for Aunt Sharon’s birthday over candles and then, in the middle of the afternoon just as the pie was finished, the power came back on!
This would be a rather important moment. Because I go to school in Livingston County, but live in Wyoming County, the house and the school are on different power grids with different power providers. So our power was restored after a long morning without it. But the school and nearly everyone that I know from school would not get power back for two weeks! That meant that I got an extended school vacation, starting today, for two weeks and got to stay home with power, video games, television, heat, and everything else while most everyone else had an awful “vacation” dealing with being out of power.
The ice storm fell one third of all trees in the region. Today completely changed the landscape that I had grown up with. The look of the whole region was affected by so many trees, and a few buildings, changing. Today was the day that the woods across the street from our house, the woods that I grew up with, stopped being a part of my life.
Up until today, at least during the summers, the woods had always been this major component of my childhood. When I was little my parents and I would go walking back there all of the time. We had loads of trails there, plus a large pond with a dock back there. With this storm, the trails are gone, the pond is basically inaccessible. After this, I would basically never return to the woods again. I am in high school now, so going back into the woods like I used to is already something that I was not doing very often. But now, the trails are gone. We would not really know this until late spring when the snow was gone. But for now, that part of my childhood just vanished literally overnight. I would not see much of the woods again for decades.
Today was the last day, I believe as I write this eighteen years later, of a long weekend “camping” trip to Cayuga Lake with the Brick Presbyterian youth group from Perry, New York. After all of these years I remember very little about this day in particular although I do still remember the camping trip itself and the boy scout cabin that we stayed in.
This camping trip was the first time that I got to visit the city of Ithaca where I would later live and my first time boating (canoing in this case) on the water of Cayuga Lake which would later be a major location in my life. I believe that it was this morning in particular that Nathan Parker and I did some canoing out on the lake.
This evening the whole youth group, bundled into several cars, and drove through the city of Ithaca. I have no idea what the idea for the trip was for. But we were in the city when high wind warning too effect and the place became increasingly dangerous. I was only thirteen but I remember the people driving the cars becoming very worried as the winds got going so fast that they couldn’t control the vehicles anymore.
It was one of the windiest days that I have ever seen. The sky was so dark and the wind was fierce. Some of the kids rolled down the windows of the Dodge Omni that I was riding in being driven by Earl Hobbs, my friend Amy’s father, and debris from the storm was shooting straight through the car! I have never seen anything like it since.
We took shelter at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Our youth group leaders, the Stoddards, had both graduated from Cornell and knew Ithaca and the campus well. So we went inside and got a tour whilst we awaited the storms departure. We got to see the grotesque museum of animals that had died with massive deformities and mutations. Horrible, horrible accidents of nature or scientific experiment. Really sick stuff. It still bothers me eighteen years later.
Years later I found the New York Times report on the high wind storm that hit Upstate New York this day. At the time the tornado was not confirmed or denied but being investigated.
I found this article in 2013 and decided to fill in a little gap in my history. Today I make the honor roll at Pavilion Baptist School and it was printed in the Warsaw local newspaper. I’m sure that that newspaper has been gone now for a very long time. I am, at this time, currently in the last half of my third grade year at Pavilion Baptist School in Pavilion, New York where I attended from kindergarten through eighth grade. I turned nine just two days earlier.