Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | May 25, 2005

ruby slippers

This weekend I will be going home. Home to the Garden State. When most people think of New Jersey they think of Newark. That’s not Jersey, that’s a transport to Hell. Jersey is beautiful. At least the town my folks live in. Imagine being transformed back in time where main streets existed, people ride their bikes everywhere, the town wakes up for runs, bike rides, old fashioned breakfast, morning coffee, a father and son playing catch in the back yard, a child window shopping with her grandma, and Vino tossing pizza in the restaurant window. That’s Moorestown, NJ. Similar to the zoo, we have a whole section reserved for the Tony’s and the Joey’s occasionally they get out and are arrested but, “hey man I got yous guyses back”

When I last went home for my kid sisters wedding I went for my morning jog and stopped at the WaWa for coffee. It was a typical Friday morning, WaWa was packed as I stood in line in my jog outfit, a HOTT construction worker, yes I said it A HOTT CONSTRUCTION WORKER, was in front of me. He turned around and said, “Miss, I’ll get your coffee for you.”

I was flabbergasted. Someone wanting to buy me a drink before noon tha was destined to wake me up and not make the present company look more attractive. Nonalcoholic. Granted it only cost $1.29 that’s not my point.

In my best Southern Belle accent, which tends to sound more like a Jewish mother, I replied, “And people in the South think everyone up North is rude”

He replied, “It’s not that there aren’t a lot of assholes here; it’s that we are more densely packed together so there are more assholes per square mile.”

That’s the North East and Jersey – straight up saying it just like it is.

I thanked him and hobbled down the cobblestone sidewalk smiling coffee in hand.

I am giddy with excitement at seeing my older sister and her family. She put up with me in high school, to say I was easy to handle and love during those years is the tsunami of understatements. Red Tornado was my nickname, hardly the debutant in waiting more like a cross between Mary Anne and Pippy Longstocking. And now years later, we have grown beyond all the childhood angst and hair pulling. We pulled a lot of hair and somehow were both nominated “Best Hair” senior year. The stretching of the cuticles must have strengthened our outer core. We hurt each other with nasty names and slaps on the cheek as our mother ran after us with soap, Tabasco sauce, and the dreaded wooden spoon. Just thinking about the wooden spoon sends chills up and down my spine.

I don’t know when it happened, it just did. Somewhere along the road roughly after the age of 20 we became friends. The hair pulling and face slapping has turned into smiles, sideways glances, admiration and a deeper unconditional love. We can say A LOT with only 3 sentences. Glancing at one another across the room and stating simultaneously, “Mom will never grow up” as she plays on the ground with the grandkids.

All 4 of my siblings (there’s 5 of us) are the best friends I long to see every day and wish I had cherished the time we DID see one another every day. My warm hugs, finger painting, Cotton pajamas, Annie, grilled cheese sandwiches, funny Halloween costumes, sitting next to the fireplace after a bath, four square, cheese on the rug, and Nathan ate the Yodels moments. My warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Spending the weekend with Sissy, her husband F, 2 kids and the most amazing parents is more than one could ever ask for. Perhaps my brother S (the real writer in the family) will drive up from Baltimore and surprise me as he did last time. Even now, the thought of it all has me sitting at a Tahiti bar on the beach instead of the sterile work enviorment as I troll away at my desk.

If you’re looking to kick off the weekend please join us Thursday night to celebrate everyone’s favorite lawyer’s birthday at Komodo’s 9:00 pm. Man, you never did tell me chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry cake. Fingers crossed, I promise no food fights (some things I will never grow out of).


  1. I loved your description of home. It feels very similar to how I feel about going home to Indiana…
    Which I’ll be doing this weekend too.

  2. Beautiful description of home; made me long for my home. Then I remememberd that Houston is my home and all I have to do is take a drive down Memorial. My family comes from NJ though and your description gave me fond memories of visits there.

  3. my brother and i had the same kind of tumultuous relationship growing up. now hes my best freind. wonder why we cant appreciate this sort of thing earlier in life.

  4. wow even a cake, too too awesome. i like vanilla cake the most, although they all sound good.

  5. perfect description of childhood memories. just substitute Annie with Goonies, grilled cheese with Little Debbies, and yous guyes with y’all, and you’ve got my memories described to a T.
    thanks for taking us back for a moment!

  6. Because it was a beautiful post, I’ll forgive you for blogging me. I’m so excited to see you. We stocked up today on pinot, good and plenty’s and (soy) hotdogs for cheese on the rug (R is a little freaked out about the latter, he thinks we have to eat the rug too). Can’t wait for you to see K walk and R write his name and to catch up on the little details of life.

    2 more days!

  7. Hmmm…. Spring in Gladstone, NJ. The horses all act like idiots that time of year, but I do miss seasons..

  8. Have fun this weekend!

  9. Have a great weekend. Never underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State.

  10. I have a Jewish aunt who lives in New Jersey. I have never thought of New Jersey as an industrial wasteland. Probably because she lives in a rather friendly little town.

  11. I spend the summer of 98 working on an assignment during an internship in Clinton in Weatern New Jersey and man, it was nice and beautiful. I would visit that area any day.

    BTW, I just spent yesterday evening at Newark airport and I doubt I would want to live there.


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