Ex­o­dus, and then the re­turn

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - OPINION - Rachel Al­li­son Eisner is a for­mer New Haven res­i­dent.

“… Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the moun­tains, blow­ing like a breeze … Coun­try roads, take me home. To the place I be­long.” It’s no co­in­ci­dence that I of­ten lis­ten to John Den­ver, Si­mon and Gar­funkel and Pe­ter, Paul and Mary when tak­ing the bus from Worces­ter to New Haven.

Thanks to my par­ents (Mike and Sue), I de­vel­oped a love for folk mu­sic: we saw Arlo Guthrie per­form in Edger­ton Park and a few years later, we went to a Pe­ter, Paul and Mary con­cert at the Schu­bert. Since my ex­o­dus to Clark Uni­ver­sity (Worces­ter, Mass., 1994), I re­turn home three times a year.

I will be com­ing home for a cou­ple days in late Jan­uary. I can’t wait to walk Gra­cie (my par­ents’ schnau­zer) and have a side­walk chat with the odd neigh­bor who walks his cat on a leash. What??

Sans car, I am lim­ited to Westville. Fa­vorite places in­clude Deja Brew, McDon­ald’s and the Mitchell Li­brary. There’s noth­ing like es­cap­ing from the par­ents and sail­ing down to McDon­ald’s. Ev­ery­thing you could want in one place … a dol­lar menu, de­li­cious iced cof­fee, col­or­ful and new ta­bles, uni­formed men across the street … and even a CVS next door.

Be­ing a die-hard CVS en­thu­si­ast, I’m psyched about the re­cent open­ing of CVS on 1150 Whal­ley Ave. It’s within walk­ing or bik­ing dis­tance (do New Haven CVS’ al­low bi­cy­cles in the store?) from Oliver Road. It’s a mega CVS that al­lows for mul­ti­task­ing: in 15 min­utes, I can stock up on Kit-Kats, paw through a Fit­ness mag­a­zine and then pick up Si­mons’ (my cat) me­thi­ma­zole at the phar­macy.

En route home, I hope to run into for­mer class­mates. I haven’t de­cided if I should lis­ten to Je­sus and “turn thy other cheek” or square up and throw the best punch. Don’t get me wrong, “old folks” are great, but there is a need for civ­i­liza­tion be­yond the dog and the par­ents, even if the en­counter in­volves fists.

Mem­ory is desul­tory, sim­i­lar to my ex­pe­ri­ences grow­ing up here. Edge­wood School was awe­some. Sheri­dan Mid­dle School (now the Academy for Ex­cel­lence) was pretty cool. They had this quirky les­son on typ­ing and the key­board lay­out: QAZ went to the WSX (White Sox game), RFV (Run Fast Veron­ica), TGB (To Get Back), etc. Sum­mer of ’88Hous­esit­ting, sprin­klers, kitty lit­ter … the late James Tobin (No­bel Prize re­cip­i­ent) who had a New­found­land was one of my first cus­tomers! Be­fore com­pul­sory in­surance and li­a­bil­ity, run­ning my own pet­sit­ting busi­ness just rocked. And, oh yeah, the days when you didn’t have to lock your doors or x-ray your Hal­loween candy … a dif­fer­ent time, for sure.

Dwelling in the past is good. And bad. And bad and good. Thanks to Face­book, the past be­comes the present. Trite, but true. Oc­ca­sion­ally, I’ll get a friend re­quest from some­one at Hop­kins I knew when I was 13. It brings back the mem­o­ries, like an ex­hibit in a mu­seum. Only it’s my life. 2019 marks the 25th an­niver­sary of my ex­o­dus from New Haven to Worces­ter.

I have my own life in Worces­ter: friends, a full-time job at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, a spa­cious apart­ment, a won­der­ful lit­tle cat.

Even­tu­ally, my par­ents will bite the dust. I’ll have to re­turn to tie up loose ends, adopt Gra­cie, empty the house, throw all the crap from the house into the Sound…

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