Your childhood, they say, is the most formative time of your life. An event or a person may come into your life in passing and change you from that day forward or perhaps have a more subtle presence. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
Isn't it great when we can pinpoint when it was for the better?
I spent this Sunday recapturing a glimpse of my childhood. The best part was I got a rare opportunity to share it with my husband and my children. What an absolutely marvelous day.
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with a friend and her family. A good bit of that time was spent at their family farm in Tupper's Plains Ohio. It's such a special place. Special because when you enter through the tree lined driveway..... time stops.
Last week I received an Email from this friend saying that they were spending the week at the farm and would we like to come out? I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to visit the farm again. I will admit that I was a little nervous though. Would I be disappointed? Would there be anything that looked the same? I selfishly wondered these things as I anticipated the trip.
A few days ago, it occurred to me, I hadn't asked for directions! I immediately shot off an email to her asking for directions but it was too late. They has already traveled into the technologically vacuous place that is "The Farm". No cell, No phone, No internet. Could I remember where it was? It had been almost 25 years since I'd been there last and that time, I didn't pay attention to street signs and intersections.
"How hard could it possibly be?" I thought. Tupper's Plains is not that big of a place. Surely if I ask around then I'll find someone who can point us in the right direction. The only landmarks I remembered was Keebaugh's Dairy Freeze and a farm house that had a silo in their front yard. "We can find it" I said, but I still wasn't confident. The kids had their shoes on and we were heading out the door when on a whim I tried a phone number that I had for her mom. She picked up on the first ring! She gave us the very simple directions. This is the part where I leave out where we got turned around and ended up on 33 instead of 7 and had to cut over on 28. No, none of that is going to mean anything to you,, just trust me,, I've seen a lot of Meigs county today!
As soon as we entered the little town of Tupper's Plains it was as if I'd been swept back to 1983. There it was... the little restaurant that I remembered as Keebaugh's. It looked exactly as it had and was still bustling with Sunday afternoon customers. We turned left at the only light in town. This isn't even a real light, just a blinking traffic warning. As we traveled down the road to The Farm, I could still see myself scuffing down the hot asphalt in my dirty sneakers with a dollar in my pocket, heading to Keebaughs to get a vanilla soft serve cone.
Ahh,, the road is never long when there is ice cream at the end!
I was thinking that I was a little surprised that we walked all this way but then I never remembered seeing one car on that road and today was no different.
In just a few moments, we saw the entrance. If you didn't know were you were going you wouldn't even notice it. I recognized it immediately!
"THERE IT IS!!!", "THAT'S IT! THAT'S IT!"
I was almost bouncing in my seat. The road looked as it had with the exception of a new home built where the horse stables had been. Our car turned the corner and I saw the tree lined road ahead of us and it was all I could do to not tear up. As we pulled in, I was delighted to see that not a thing was different. The barn was still there, the farm house was still there, the huge trees in the front yard were still there but the tire swing had long since come down.
Isn't it odd that a house can shrink as a person gets older? It felt so large when I was 10 years old. It's still a perfect size of course, it just seems smaller!
We were greeted by a gaggle of small children and dogs and then my old friend, Andrea. Wow, it was wonderful to see her again. Her mother, father and her husband were there as well. I was grinning ear to ear like a flippin' idiot the whole time.
We took the tour of the property and it was indeed like there was a vacuum around it. I love that. Then we sat on the porch and drew water up from the well in a bucket on a rope, just like we did so long ago. Nothing tastes better. As we sat and talked and visited, we were entertained by at least a dozen hummingbirds that were fighting over the feeders that lined the railing.
For a place that time stands still,, the day surely went fast. I was thinking to myself that Chris and the boys could just leave me there and pick me up next week,,, right? ha ha. I so did not want to go but Chris has to be up early Monday morning and we still had almost 2 hours worth of drive ahead of us.
I did talk him into stopping at Washburn's Dairyette (aka Keebaughs Dairy Freeze) for a quick bite before heading back. It wasn't good but it was the best hot dog and milkshake I'd had in 25 years. I told the boys stories while we sat at the booth, reminding them that there was (and still isn't) no TV or games, or Internet or phones. They were aghast. I just smiled and said "and you know what? We were never bored."