Ah Cahokia, Illinois… Now my “home away from home.” I think of you often, and occasionally return to see what’s left of my family I “left behind.” I keep hoping they will wise up soon and depart too because it’s so dangerous in the St. Louis area now…
My Parents Without Partners Conference finished Saturday night (May 5) and Sis called me about 7:30 pm to say they’d love to see Bernard Jr and me; so we planned to drive to their house Sunday for pizza. We checked out of the hotel in Fairview Heights and drove the back roads to Cahokia; reminiscing as we pointed out the changes (and deterioration) of the area.
There were houses crumbling and burned out all along Highway 157 as we drove to 46 W Adams (where we moved when Mom’s property was sold,) and I told Bernie, “See, we could’ve been living in Mom’s house and been “stuck here,” but instead we lived across the driveway renting from her.” We drove down Mildred Avenue: past the grass now growing in the burned out vacant lot that was once The Old Baptist Church Building that we knew as “565” and home. 565, where young Sis and I used to roller skate around on the wooden floor while the front of the building sat vacant, waiting for another church looking for a new home. From there, we drove past 408 (Mom’s House) and 410 (where we lived from 1990 until Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2001).
Bernie said he was depressed from looking at the devastation around him, but I felt elated, like I had been given a gift: the gift of leaving Cahokia behind in 2005 and traveling Down South to start over; creating new memories to reflect on years later just like I did Sunday May 6th in Cahokia. (Sometimes ya just gotta “go back” to appreciate where you are now.) Onward…
“Home,” what a word that evokes so many thoughts of trauma, happy memories, and who can begin to explain how you’ll react. “Home” can be with newly found friends; or old pals from childhood or later years. “Home” can be a state of mind or a location in Memories and Time. That’s how I feel this morning as I prepare for our PWP (Parents Without Partners) Conference in Belleville, IL.
The drive to Fairview Heights, IL yesterday conjured both happy and sad memories. Memories of “Little Bernie” struggling with the divorce of Bernard Sr and I; memories of us finding a sanctuary of like minded, single parents struggling with the same problems I was (PWP), and making happy memories (and many new friends).
Once we arrived in Fairview Heights, IL we drove past Lynda Culpepper’s house. Lynda was one of the first friends I made at Belleville Chapter 559. Bernard Jr became close friends with her 3 youngest boys, and it broke his heart so long ago when they moved to northern Illinois to be near her family due to her health problems. But that’s how Life is: a journey of happy and sad memories that you travel with that molds you into the person you become.
RIP Lynda. It’s good to be “home” with you and my memories. Onward..,
Well here I am, finally traveling again because my wonderful son, Bernard Jr, graciously consented to being my chauffeur so I could attend a PWP (Parents Without Partners) Conference in Belleville, Illinois this weekend.
This is the first time I’ve attended anything PWP since 2012. I’ve renewed my membership yearly since first joining Belleville Chapter 559 in the 1990s. And even though Bernard Jr’s not a member, I’ve been given permission for him to attend because (1) he grew up with PWP and (2) he’s what I call “my seeing eye person” i.e. chauffeur, escort, etc.
Our trip began pretty normally and we drove about 50 miles when Bernie remembered he had his friend’s loaded gun in the truck! (So much for a simple, uneventful beginning). We were going to return to Ozark, Alabama and leave the gun at my place, but drove back to Dothan to return the pistol to Bernie’s friend. (As I said; so much for our simple, uneventful beginning).
Anyway here we are, in Columbia, Tennessee about 35 miles from Nashville, where I’m writing this post, telling you about our “rocky” trip beginning, but I’m traveling again and the conference doesn’t officially begin until 7 pm May 4; so I might get there (on time) yet! Onward…
Weekend with girlfriend
Plenty of warnings ignored
Now will he survive?
First off, I want to apologize for: This blog post if it turns out lousy (I haven’t posted in sooo long I’ve forgotten what all’s been updated). And that this is my first post since last September. (I knew I was lagging, but REALLY!)
I rarely drive to Dothan now due to my failing vision. It’s only about 30 miles round trip, but it’s just not worth the stress. Some days I have difficulty driving around here in Ozark and it’s only a mile to the grocery store.
I’m slowly losing my depth perception, and have had to adjust my driving accordingly. I now must leave the apartment complex by the main entrance because the back one is close to a hilly curve and I recently almost got broadsided because I pulled out in front of a dark colored SUV.
Yesterday a neighbor scared me when he sprayed water on my windows! I’m sure they needed it, but with all the black spots before my eyes, I just don’t pay attention to my windows. Sure hope he washed my car while he was spraying things…
My neighbors think I’m lazy, and sometimes I just want to shout I can’t see, Jerk, but I don’t because I don’t want them to know about my failing vision.
My neighbors think I’m a hermit, and that’s all right because I know I’m blessed to have the vision to do the things I do, even if it’s not very often. So, Bring It On 2018 cause I’m Ready!
Thank you so much for liking and reading my blog. I wish I could personally thank each of you, but my limited vision just won’t allow it.
It somehow seemed appropriate to choose Labor Day for this post. So many of us have worked hard striving for our version of The American Dream; whatever that might be. Let us all remember to help each other and continue to strive for health and happiness, and as Dickens’ Tiny Tim says: “God bless us everyone.”