Thursday, May 1, 2008


So I went to Ohio to visit my parents.

I won't pretend that my parents didn't disappoint me. I always really wanted to get away from home as a kid, and live a life completely unlike the one I knew. And I did. But them getting older has changed my attitude towards them. They're in their late 70s now, and I worry about them.

I've known Kim for almost as long as I've known my parents. We were best friends growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland. As kids we lived in our own little world of weirdness, which was a great comfort to me. Once my husband told me that I sound different whenever I talk to Kim on the phone, more relaxed.

Kim is a very hardworking mom. While I visited, we got a chance to sneak away for a night out. We stayed in a fancy hotel, and consumed a number of cocktails. I loved the Prosperity Social Club in Tremont, a big old bar that was cool without trying too hard. I won't repeat all of the strange private jokes we have been rehashing for decades.

The next day, we got together with Stan, Arun, Marc, and Mr. R. I saw Mr. R and Arun just a couple of years ago, but I hadn't seen Marc and Stan for about twenty years. I felt like I could have talked to them all day. I also noticed that not too many people get to the age of 40 or so without having had something really sad happen to them.

Mr. R is quite a bit older than 40, but apparently he has a picture in his attic, because he looks about the same to me as he did when I was a teenager. I will never forget when I was in high school, and Mr. R. read from his favorite book, A Death in the Family, to our English class. He was so moved by the words that his voice trembled and his eyes filled with tears. That is how much he cared about the power of words, and he cared that much about his students too. Mr. R still seems just as passionately engaged with life as ever, and that inspires me.

After brunch, Kim and I went to a baseball game. When we were kids, my dad subscribed to The Plain Dealer, and hers got The Cleveland Press. Both of us would cut pictures of our favorite baseball players out of our respective newspapers and look at them together. We especially liked Rick Manning, because he was cute, not because he was a good player.

This is how I spent a lot of my trip: driving back and forth between my parents' house and Kim's over the flat Ohio highways.

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