Long before we became this closely acquainted, you held a special place in my heart. I would tell people I’d meet during my travels that even though I’ve hopped around from country to country, continent to continent, you were always my favorite town. And it was true. You and I have a past that is rich in fond memories, uncontrollable laughter, happy tears, rediscovering love, and a place I could call home.
Do you remember when Eric and I were kids, and his baseball games were here in town? I always looked forward to them, not because I paid attention to the games so much, but afterward our family would dine at The Mal, a restaurant that is no longer part of your culinary experience. But I remember it well, probably because I’ve been a foodie since solid foods were introduced to me sometime back in 1981. Sometimes our friends and their parents would join us, and on those days, I’d feel a deep sense of interpersonal connectedness while sharing meals and conversations in your presence.
When my friends and I all turned 16, we celebrated together at the restaurant that is now Not Your Average Joe’s, for a special dinner. We felt so grown up! Out to dinner with just us girls for the first time! No parents, we had our own money, and we definitely dressed up for that one! Afterward, we sat out on the lawn behind the restaurant. It faces the water, and there is a concrete stage where bands play in the warmer months. That night, however, the entertainment was our friends. A couple of them started dancing and singing, taking requests from us. Soon, onlookers became part of the audience and at one point, kids and parents alike, were clapping for our center-stage performers!
When I got my license and bought Skeeter, my first car, I couldn’t wait to drive along the winding road that led from Bradford to you. I loved that ride, with the rolling hills, farms, colonial houses, lush trees that created an arc over the road, protecting any who drove along it. You were one of the first places I wanted to drive to with my newfound freedom. My girlfriends and I would sometimes put on dresses and visit your downtown because we knew we wanted to look nice for you, and you made us feel special. I don’t think we ever had an agenda because all we needed was your waterfront beauty and shops to entertain our young minds.
I think the vibration of my school years still linger on the sands of Plum Island. Late spring, before the season opened, our group of friends would bundle up in hooded sweatshirts, and build camp fires on your shores. We’d laugh, dance under the stars and help each other stay warm. One time my best friend and I decided the water was too inviting to not jump in fully clothed. No bathing suits. Just shorts and a t-shirt. Our parents didn’t quite understand what compelled us to entertain such a ridiculous act, but we did. When we were together, everything was an adventure, and what better way to embrace a moment than to submerge yourself fully into it? Your waters refreshed us, the sands supported all of my friends and me.
Do you remember all of the nights my friends and I spent at Michael’s Harborside after we’d finish our shifts? Sweaty and loaded with cash, we’d organize ourselves on the deck of the restaurant, drink in hand, overlooking the boats in your waters. Do you remember that the deck is where Israel and I first became well-acquainted. That’s the place where you gave me another shot at love. That’s the exact spot where you surrounded me with friends all summer. That was the first time in a long time that I felt freedom again. That summer you gave me hope, laughter, lasting friendships, lots of late nights, and love in every form.
I moved away a few months later, but I often missed your comfort. But I knew I could and would always find my way back to you.
After Africa, and what was the end of my time in the condo, I knew you were beckoning for me to come back. I never thought I’d leave the city, but there was something about your energetic pull that drew my spirit back to your comfort and safety.
It wasn’t long before we reconnected. I knew we needed to find one another again, but this time it wasn’t to dance on your shores or have second and third chances at love. This time it was for another reason: to ground myself and find center again.
Your support has been unending, and these past two years have been some of the most transformative years I’ve had. I’ve submerged my energy into your nature, I’ve connected to a deeper, more spiritual source inside of me, I’ve grown, I’ve healed, and I’ve been let free. You have given me all that there was to give, and I have graciously accepted your offerings. You have been my foundation on which I can now build the life I know I want and deserve.
Before we part ways for good, I want to thank you for all of the sunsets, sunrises, long walks on the beach, peaceful meditations in the woods, concerts, opportunities to meet some of my favorite authors, and so many more memories that reserve your spot in my heart for the many years to come.
With fondness and love,