And back to the future — 7th in the series

September 7, 2011

The truth about living in the Snow Belt is that come winter, and winter is definitely a looong, dark season, it’s cold, it’s snowy and it’s icy. Oh, and rarely that Currier and Ives or visit-to-Tahoe kind of snow. It’s the kind of snow that gets old fast because it has to be shoveled or otherwise removed, sometimes every single day. Yes, it gets old. And dirty. And slushy. And by March, we are all damn sick of it. I do remember that.

But as a Syracuse University college student, snow season meant we all stole our cafeteria trays and used them as small sleds to “tray” down the snowy hills. Like in this video:

Now, here’s what the hill in front of my old dorm looks like without snow. Dorm’s the tall building on the left, M. Street at the bottom of the steep hill. “How did we ever walk up and down these hills in the snow and ice,” I asked, when we were there. “How did we ever get up and down them at all,” he asked plaintively, in the 95 degree summer heat.
I had a better question. “How did our asses fit on those tiny trays?” Especially when our diets included all this fine home-made pasta that our moms made.
And donuts every Sunday morning. Big donuts. Heavy donuts. Sweet donuts. Donuts that Delited Everyone. (I couldn’t resist posting more donut pictures.)
I guess that’s why 40 years later I find myself keeping company with this man at 7:30am three days a week. Back in the day, I’d date him. But now, as my senior years creep in, I’m just happy to have him put me through my paces.
This was more than a trip down memory lane for me. It was a visit to a time and place for which I’ve always had a soft spot. If I could do anything over, I’d do the years I was at SU. They were some of the happiest and most exciting of my life.

Time passes. So much has changed about everything: SU, our lives, our families, the area. Yet we stay connected by things as crazy as a donut shop, a pizzeria jukebox, a storefront or an old apartment.

Things may have changed, but I can see them all in my mind’s eye as if they were still there. I can see my father hoist the American flag on the flagpole he installed in front of our house. How proud this son of illiterate immigrants was to have “made it” in America.

I can see my mother taking me to Manhattan to see plays and shop with her best friend HER daughter and I can hear the laughter on those fun trips.

I can also see my parents on their deathbeds taking account of their lives as they faced the end.

I can see my siblings struggle to come to terms with our upbringing and I can see only too well how that has affected their lives and mine.

I’ve moved on, of course, but it’s all frozen for me in that little space between childhood and adulthood. When responsibilities were…well, they weren’t my responsibility. It’s fun to live in that wonderful innocence for just a little while.

And then, the alarm goes off and I awaken in our house in San Jose with M. beside me as he was all those years ago. The reality of my current life takes center stage, and I tuck those memories away in a safe place for another day.

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