Driving Down A Familiar Street On A Beautiful Autumn Day

Friday marked two weeks being home after our Italy trip. Returning to normal, however, has not been easy. Having a cold, Sam being in NYC and dealing with Sandy, the election, Dan traveling for a week, the time change – there just seems to be a bunch of stuff that has kept me from settling back into a routine. Part of me resists. I miss traveling and seeing new things. I miss the Italian style of living. In many ways, I think the base of my feeling unsettled is that I didn’t feel like I wanted to be home.Yesterday, however, I had an experience that helped me.

November 9th seems like it should at least have the briskness of autumn, but yesterday had none of that in Kansas City. It was sunny, blue sky, 75 degrees and breezy. Trees were either bare or briskly losing their leaves with each gust. The streets were speckled with scampering leaves crossing every which way. It was truly glorious.

As usual, I had my Friday off, but I didn’t use it writing. Instead, I worked on continuing to try to get things around here back in order. I then went out to run some errands that took me over across the state line. After getting my things done, I ended up driving home via a street that I haven’t travelled in quite a while. The experience of driving on that street yesterday did more than anything else to make me feel happy about being back home.

When we first moved to Kansas City, we moved into an apartment in a very new and suburban part of Johnson County, Kansas. It was perfectly fine, but it was not what we really wanted in a place to live. After a year, we moved to a duplex in Mission, Kansas. Mission is one of the older areas of Kansas – older neighborhoods, big trees, cute houses, nothing fancy. Here we felt much more at home.

The duplex in Mission was the house where we brought Ali home to. It was the place where I had my first experience planting a garden as we dug a narrow space of dirt and I carefully laid out a square foot planting of vegetables and herbs. There was a little patio that we had flowers and more herbs in. We hung a little swing from the tree in the backyard. A plastic swimming pool and sandbox came out in nice weather. In the kitchen of the duplex, there was a bottom cupboard that held Sam’s pots and pans and the alphabet blocks that I had made him out of empty baby food containers. When I would fix dinner at night, Ali would be in her seat and Sam would be playing on the floor or sitting on the counter helping me.

There was a very quiet man who lived in the other part of the duplex and his mom and dad would often come to visit. At one point we had broken the bottom glass of our storm door, so we had just removed the whole of that pane leaving an opening where that glass should have been. Sam would stand there and watch the goings on and greet the neighbor’s parents as they came and went. They were charmed by him.

It was at that duplex where one of my funniest kid stories happened — involving trying to get two babies in car seats into a two door car so we could go pick up another child. In the midst of prepping the car by opening the two doors and going into the house to get baby #1, a big stray dog entered the car and refused to get out. Absurdity ensued.

Living in that duplex; in that neighborhood, made us understand what we wanted when we would buy a home of our own. When we finally did get our house and move, we left many sweet memories in that house.

The road that I drove yesterday did not even go by our duplex, but it was close and it was one of the roads that I traversed a lot while we lived there. There was just something about the beauty of the autumn day yesterday that brought on so much happy nostalgia. I am home and there is beauty around me. I am home and there are memories here. I am home and there are more memories to be made.

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