We went to High School of Art & Design, class of 1981, at 57th Street & Second Avenue, Manhattan.
New York City.
Some of us stayed in touch, some of us drifted away.
Some of us moved away.
I went back when my brother married his wonderful bride, Carol, back in 2003, but I flew into Long Island Islip. The plane banked around the tip of lower Manhattan, where the Towers once stood, but were still eerily missing. During that weekend, I drove into my old neighborhood, feeling like a sightseer, but chuckling at the changes after about ten years of being gone.
This time it was different.
Now I’ve been gone almost twenty-five years.
Barb had put a message on Facebook that one of our old classmates was coming into town to play a gig in Greenwich Village. Apparently, this Brooklyn boy was now a Blues musician living in Stockholm, Sweden, and the gig was part of his annual Invasion of New York.
So I said I would go, and, as those who have read my previous blogs know, I luvz me some good drivin’.
I forgot a couple of things, like how bloody long Pennsylvania is. It’s also incredibly boring to drive at night along the Turnpike in the pitch dark, but I didn’t know that to forget it, since I didn’t get my driver’s license on the East Coast.
I learned to drive in St. Louis.
Basically, I was unprepared for the panic that engulfed me as I entered into New Jersey at rush hour, the panic that screamed into my head that I had to drive through a tunnel (or a bridge) to cross Manhattan to drive through another tunnel (or bridge) to get through Queens to get to Long Island. See, I knew where I needed to go and how to get there, except I had never actually driven it before, myself.
I almost turned around in New Jersey. (I didn’t, though, and had a great time.)
But here’s the thing: I took less than twenty pictures in the two days I was there, and most of them were by cell phone. New York wasn’t my town anymore, it wasn’t my home. Even the skyline on the approach to one of the tunnels was foreign to me; I only recognized one building (thank you, Citicorp Building oldschool).
So maybe Jon Bonjovi can go home again, but for me, home is here, now, in St. Louis.