Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My first trip to Pennsylvania

May 28, 2004
Pittsburgh, PA

Tall houses built into steep hills. A little town built all around creeping, winding streets. Shops in the "downtown" area, one in particular, reaching up out of the valley that is the street. The front window is cut glass, thick & mottled, but beautiful. There is a metal framing that twists through the glass pieces, holding the design together. A wrought iron cafe table and chairs, painted white, sits out front. Directly in front of the window, it distracts from the lines of the building.

(Side note from 2009--We were lost late at night in some teensy tiny town. Somehow Kim had managed to get sidetracked from her normal route. Perhaps there was a detour. Who knows. All I know is that I was crammed in the backseat with baby Chandler and Hunter, wishing we would just get on with it.)

May 29, 2004
Lovey-Dovey's House, PA

Lovey-Dovey is Hunter's grandmother. She's my husband's grandmother too, but "Lovey-Dovey" is Hunter's special name for her. In my head, Lovey-Dovey is who she is.

Her house is not at all how I imagined it would be. What is obviously familiar and dear to everyone around me struck me as cluttered, an entire lack of order of styles, and...confusing.

However, within the first few hours here, I noticed the butterflies. Butterflies are in prominent places, often-visited places, and the more I looked, the more I realized they were woven into the whole house. There are three white porcelain ones with blue flowers painted on them--they float above the mirror in the bathroom. Farther down the wall, there are three cream colored plastic "wicker" ones above the towel racks. The inner shower curtain has large, moth-like butterflies fluttering across it.

Butterflies on the sheets, on the tableclothes, on the coffeecups.

In the corner by the door there stands a group of thin bamboo sticks. Frothy nets in pastel colos mingle at the tops, waiting for the grandchildren: butterfly nets. Outside the tiny white darlings dance their stilting jig across the vast lawn, teasing their pursuers.

As evening falls, the house fills with aunts and uncles and cousins, and a warm glow settles in for the night. All at once, Lovey-Dovey's house is transformed. all at once, in an understated way, it shifts...the butterflies that are Lovey-Dovey's delicate beauty, the nets that are her gentle love, the vast array of nostalgic treasures she cannot part with...the stark corners of the house soften into a home.

May 31, 2004
We're on the way home from Pennsylvania.

At five o'clock this morning, all the hills and valleys were covered with a thick misting fog. The lights that usually twinkled on the hillsides gave out only a gentle glow and everything looked like raw silk, soft and luxurious.

The trees that zipped past soon lulled me to sleep.

My mind returns to a train of thought I had earlier this weekend.

The Myers girls are in almost constant contact. The few states between them do not truly separate them. There are phone calls everyday, sometimes several a day. (Thank goodness for cell phones.) Interestingly, while we're in Pennsylvania, the phone calls *increase*. Now if they're apart for more than a few minutes, one thinks of something another *must* hear right away. The cell phone rings: Is anyone feeling carsick? Because up here in our car, Anna is getting queasy. Just checking. We'll be there in about ten minutes. See you then. Love you.

The closer the sisters get, the more they cannot stand to be apart.

(Side note from 2009-- So much has changed since that first visit to Pittsburgh. Relationships, perspectives...so I am even more grateful that I thought to record the freshness of my first time "home" as Matt and Kim call it. I don't think I'd want to live there, but it is true that when we go, there is a sort of magic to our time there. I can't explain it, but there it is. )

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