The Return of the Hometown Girl

Photomontage: Seattle Area IconsThis past summer’s middle expedition of the three trips took us Home. A visit to Seattle and environs to reconnect with family, since two of my three sisters, my parents, and my spouse’s parents all live within about 40 minutes’ drive of each other in the same lovely neck of the woods where both he and I spent most of our growing-up years. His one brother and my third sister were both coming out to the Pacific Northwest with their respective spouses this summer as well, so while we hardly felt we got to more than say Hello and Goodbye to everyone in the short stretch of two weeks, it was a rare thing to get to even see them all in the same year, let alone in the same part of the world. A gift, on a grand scale, that, and one we knew we must relish to the full.

A side-benefit of this little jaunt was returning to our roots. My husband had lived other places than the Seattle area for slightly more time than I had by the time we moved to our present north Texas digs, but that region was, remains, and ever shall be our rooted home in many ways. So it was a pleasurable plus for us that our family out there took to the idea of playing Tourist in our own familiar places so nicely. It’s struck me more than once that it’s a bit of a pity that so few of us take advantage of the most famous and characteristic places and activities, sights and signs of the places where we spend the majority of our time, at least unless we have visitors who request such things. So my sisters, his brother, and our parents all indulged this homesick wish on our part to revisit those things that had colored our youth and shaped our loves over so many years.
Photomontage: Hometown Girl

We took a boat tour with my parents and siblings that I’m sure had more out-of-state visitors than locals on it, just to see Seattle and its environs from the Puget Sound side and to cruise leisurely through the Ballard Locks, where the salmon were due, imminently, to make their own annual sojourn up the ladder to their ‘roots,’ to spawn and renew. We wandered the Alki neighborhood and beach, where my grandparents’ apartment was in years long gone a wonderful place to visit not only them but the sun, the sand, and the “ice cream cone lady,” a miniature of the Statue of Liberty that still stands on the beach right across the street from where they lived then. We ate fresh local fish and chips and/or Dungeness crab at every turn. We went up to the trails at Paradise on Mt. Rainier for a sunny afternoon with Mom and Dad Sparks. My sisters and brothers-in-law and I went on the Seattle Underground Tour, a trip through the history of Seattle’s original incarnation before the whole town was demolished by fire in the nineteenth century and rebuilt on top of its own ashes, phoenix-like.

Most of all, we breathed in that familiar blend of resinous tree exhalations, saltwater spray, rich volcanic soil, wildly prolific blooms, and strangely electric, ozonated quiet that makes my heart skip like a young kid in tall grass. And we did so in the company of those we have loved the longest, those who love us for no apparent reason other than that we are family. Home and family are what we make of them, yes; they’re also the things that make us who we are, when we remember to let them. It’s good to revisit that, once in a while.Photo: Space Needle in Sun

7 thoughts on “The Return of the Hometown Girl

    • If and when we finally decide to retire, we have a place up in Sequim (rented out, for now) where we’ll be happy to have you visit when you want to head toward Seattle, Victoria/Vancouver, and the other fun western-WA regions! For now, it really is fun to be able to enjoy the special character of Seattle & Portland when we get any little visiting chances.

      Speaking of which, Richard’s early music choir (UNT Collegium Singers) have been accepted as one of the performing groups at the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s biennial in Portland this year, so we’ll get a quick visit in your town (11-15 Nov) when they perform. Don’t yet know their performance time or the conference schedule, other than that there will undoubtedly be a ton of friends/colleagues for us to see there, but I’m so happy we get to return to Portland after such a long time. Yay! I think I feel a pilgrimage to Powell’s coming on…. 😉

      Hope in the meantime you’re having a beautiful end-of-summer season. It can be so wonderful out there this time of year!!

    • You will not be disappointed. There is SO much wonderfully photogenic scenery around Seattle and the whole region that I know you’ll have endless fun with your Weasel Cam!!! If you make plans, I’ll be happy to make recommendations for any specific things you’d most love to see, do, eat, visit, etc. 😉

    • Yes, we’re spoiled that way. Nice both that they’ve largely stayed in close proximity and that they remain in a place we will never tire of visiting. Oh, and especially that they’re all worth visiting anyhow!!! 🙂

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