Travels for Two in a Green Ford Escort #19: A Second Visit with Family and Friends on the East Coast

A Second Visit with Family and Friends on the East Coast

As it was the first time we’d visited some of our east coast family and friends for quite a while, we made a point of stopping by to see them a second time on our return from New England. Although this part of our trip only lasted a couple of days we were able to spend more time with people we’d missed and update them on the most recent leg of our trip. It turned out to be a great final break before we logged some long hours on our return trip to the West. In fact, we were even able to squeeze in a return trip to the Pennsylvania Poconos house where we’d met.

We drove down through Rhode Island and into Connecticut, stopping in Danbury to stay with Ken and Debbie Everest and their kids. This visit we cooked dinner rather than eating out, and spent time talking some more, playing with the kids and relaxing. Although it was a weeknight and Ken had to go to work the next day, we spent the following morning talking with Debbie and left at midday. On the road southward to New Jersey we passed the IBM offices where Deb used to work, Chappaqua where the Clinton’s have a residence and the Tappan Zee Bridge spanning the Hudson River. Deb used to make this trip every day from New York to New Jersey when she commuted to IBM and it was amazing how the roads, gas stations and rest stops came back to her immediately. We finished the day in New Jersey, sitting on the back deck at Deb’s family’s house and talking with her dad, aunt and brother John. Deb’s other brother Mike even showed up, taking time from his summer job as a pizza delivery driver to stop by the house.

After New Jersey we left with our friends Rob and Liz Uibelhoer for a drive across the Delaware River to the Pennsylvania house where we’d met. The house is a large chalet-style residence set into the woods, complete with a hot tub and a series of layered outdoor decks that include a pool. Four years ago we’d both been friends with a Jazz musician, Jeff Desmett who hosts an outdoor party every Labor Day at this house that belongs to his parents. We got to know each other as we reclined on a float in the pool drinking wine and listening to the live jazz music playing right in front of us. At one point, as the sun went down behind the band, Jeff’s father, a normally quiet and reserved man, jumped on stage and began singing “The Girl from Ipanema” to his wife – something he apparently does annually. Along with most of the other party guests we both stayed over that night, and got up the next day to sit in talk in the early morning on comfortable padded deck chairs and wrapped in blankets.

This trip, we got to the house in about an hour after leaving New Jersey. Once we were there our memories came flooding back to us. We walked around the decks, swam in the pool and opened a box of wine we’d bought for the occasion. This wasn’t a time for fine wine, but the perfect occasion for the party wine we’d been drinking when we met. We uncased the wine from its box, and squeezed it from the bag into our glasses while we ate cheese and hummus around the pool. Later, Jeff’s wife Sandy and their girls Molly and Hanna arrived and we greeted them – unable to believe how much the girls had grown over the past four years. After hugs, kisses and catching up, we arranged ourselves around a picnic table for dinner and some table games.

At one point during the evening the conversation turned to literature, as Mr. Desmett is currently pitching a science fiction manuscript to a publisher. We also learned The Desmetts had been family friends of William Carlos Williams, the famous imagist poet and pediatrician from New Jersey. The poet had delivered Mr. Desmett and knew his parents well. Proof of this was a signed copy of Williams’ biography. As it grew dark we read by candlelight around the table from that, and from other favorite passages Mr. Desmett knew. The night finished with a soak in the hot tub and more table games. To make the night perfect, we were able to sleep in the guest bedroom, nicknamed the “honeymoon suite” that had a balcony, overlooking the decks and gardens below.

The following morning, we made breakfast and although we would have liked to linger longer, left early. Our friends had to get going to take care of some things for their jobs, and we had a cross-country trip to begin. We were sad to be leaving as this was the end of our time on the east coast and our visits with old friends. We drove out the Chalet’s long, wooded driveway, trying to savor the last pictures of places we’d known together. Then we set our minds on where we were going. We knew we’d have long miles to the other part of the country, across the plains and hopefully to our new home where we would start our future together, building new memories.