Back From Vacation, Back to Work – New England

Car Travel Cartoon
Car Travel

Our vacation trip continues with visiting family in New England.

Aunt Terry was vacationing in Cape Cod until noon Thursday. It was only a planned 3 and a half hour trip from Mom’s house, so we weren’t in a rush to get there. We made good time driving until we got off the freeway in Worcester, Massachusetts, about 15 miles from Aunt Terry. After that, we still made good time driving except we were driving around in circles.

In the book “The Nine Nations of North America,” author Joel Garreau writes this about the New England region;

New Englanders are incapable of giving directions. If asked, they’ll rattle off incomprehensible instructions then stop and say “never mind, just meet me at the Howard Johnson’s.”

– The Nine Nations of North America

This is true. I also now believe Yahoo! Maps for the New England region have the same affliction for giving directions as do native New Englanders.

We got off the freeway in Worcester following my Yahoo! directions and became immediately lost. The directions made no sense; they listed roads that didn’t exist, had us get off the highway and immediately back on, and named exits we couldn’t find. Winnie didn’t take well to diving around in circles, and we ended in a husband and wife debate over reasons for not stopping to ask directions. I finally called Aunt Terry, about an hour after I had planned on arriving, and explained where we were. She gave us directions to her place, which actually were the same directions as on our Yahoo! map.

Ron, Aunt Terry, Weifang, Uncle George
Ron, Aunt Terry, Weifang, Uncle George

Thirty minutes later, sitting at a Shell gas station completely befuddled, I called her again. She knew the station and agreed to come out and get us. True to the New Englanders style, she drove up a short while later and we followed her to her house.

Aunt Terry lives in an apartment her son Richard built as part of his latest house, in the Massachusetts town of Milville. Richard was home and we met him immediately after we arrived. I hadn’t seen him since 1989.

Our first visit was with Uncle George for dinner that night living across the state line in Blackstone, Rhode Island. I enjoyed fried scallops for possibly the first time since joining the Navy in 1974. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has best shrimp and decent oysters (except folks on the coast only eat oysters raw), but New England still has the best scallops and clams.

Next morning we hung around Aunt Terry and Richard’s place, enjoying the scenery. Richard has a hobby farm of pigeons, chickens, and three horses. It’s a really pretty piece of land, and I had a lot of fun taking pictures.

We took a short drive around the area and I saw some buildings new to me. One was a old factory where my dad had worked for almost ten years after his army discharge, the Taft Pierce Mills. Aunt Terry explained he quit here when he left for New York and ended up meeting his future first wife – my mom. It was a bit of my dad’s history I’d never known.

Factory Where Dad Once Worked, Woonsocket, RI
Factory Where Dad Once Worked, Woonsocket, RI

We had lunch with Uncle George again, this time at the senior Rec Center. After lunch we played a quick few rounds of Bingo, the first time Winnie had ever played the game. back at Aunt Terry’s, we visited again with Richard, his girlfriend, and Paul showed up with his wife. Winnie made her famous dumplings for everyone as an afternoon snack.

Then out again for dinner with our Aunt Claire and Uncle Leo and “the twins;” their two youngest daughters Denise and Jean. We had another great dinner of clams and oysters fried New England style. It was another great visit for me; I’d always felt close to the twins when we were growing up. Denise, Jean, and Paul are the closest cousins in age to myself so we always hung around together at family reunions.

We finished our evening just relaxing with Aunt Terry and Richard. Next morning, Saturday, we had a wonderful breakfast, made out goodbyes and promises to visit again soon, then headed for home. I also promised Aunt Terry if I got lost trying to find my way out I’d call and ask directions. But I made it to the freeway, the New Englanders case of disorientation lifted, and we were on our way home.

Uncle Leo, Denise, Aunt Claire, Jean Aunt Terry, Ron
Uncle Leo, Denise, Aunt Claire, Jean Aunt Terry, Ron

We made a quick stop in new London so I could show Winnie one of the places where I was once stationed. The Submarine Museum had been built since I was last there, so we spent a few minutes checking out the displays. We worked our way down I-95 through the Bronx and Manhattan, and finally broke into the clear pas the George Washington Bridge. Just like another day’s commute to work.

Winnie and The Liberty Bell
Winnie and The Liberty Bell

Our last stop was in Philadelphia. Winnie’s friend Lilly had apparently told Winnie a lot about the city, so we stopped there for dinner. I parked in the Central City area and we explored the new (to me) visitors center and other historical sights.

The last time I’d been here was in 1991, when my first wife took her oath of citizenship in the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse. We made a quick visit to the historical sights, then found Philly’s “Chinatown” section. After a bit of shopping we found a really wonderful Chinese restaurant and had an excellent meal. Then, back on the road south.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA

We finally arrived back home about 10:30 PM. Winnie needed to go to work the next day, and I needed the day just to rest and and get ready for work on Monday. It was a really nice trip, and I’m real happy to have had the chance to met up with my family again. I’m realizing just how much I missed, living all those years in Mississippi. I guess I’m hoping to have a chance to reconnect with my family now that we’re back in the general area again.

So to everyone who we visited with, who helped make our summer of 2007 trip so wonderful, Thank You. For all our family reading this (and the family not reading this) The door’s open down here in Virginia. So you’all come on down here for a visit!

Related Posts

The Passing of A Family Idol : A eulogy for Aunt Theresa, written and presented by her oldest daughter Pauline.
Aunt Rita Visits Mississippi : A visit to Mississippi by my favorite aunt.
Dad’s Yosegaki Hinomaru : Finding a little piece of history when cleaning out Mom’s hope chest.

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