En Route to New York City

The sun rose with clouds covering its upward enclosure. Their hovering above can’t keep up with the break of the day. The fading orange softly utters an amen to another days beginning. I’m compelled to do the same. I’m on my way again, up in the air, traveling above a blanket of clouds now, the present soundtrack in my ears towards New York City. I haven’t been to this great city since 2002. And believe me, I’ve been trying to get there for some time now. I’m always putting out the idea to friends, hoping for a reason to make it.

Much of life changes over the course of a few years. To think for most of my upbringing, I was coming to visit year after year. My Grandparent’s home was an apartment in Forest Hills that my dad had spent most of his growing up years. I remember the overly-full stomach I had after every meal of oatmeal or pasta or pea soup. The upstairs was a couple of bedrooms, one of which hosted countless trophies of my father’s baseball glory days. He played college ball for St. John’s until he got hurt. There was a fire place on the main floor with photos of all of us grandkids scattered about on the sil. The couch in the living room was always covered with some plasticy material I can’t believe guests ever allowed, sitting near the windows facing the street. The
“dining room” was central, where the record player sang her tunes, leading to the kitchen with yellow wall paper making me feel at home.

But my favorite room was through the kitchen down to the basement. There was the antique smell, full of goodies, old collectibles from years of living, working and playing. For a kid like me it was perfect. And my brother and I would often create mischief and have Grandpa Benedito running down the stairs yelling at us in some Italian verbage. That of course only made us laugh and him more angry.

Since 2002, much of life has changed. My Grandpa has passed away. And in April of last year, Grandma Rose moved to Hilton Head  just 10 minutes away from my parents. My older cousin Laura and her husband have two children growing up. Cousin JP, just a month younger than I, lives in Manhattan working for the music industry. My Aunt and Uncle’s house was host to countless parties we attended, dressing up to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

I’ve not only graduated high school, but also college. Come May, I’ll have lived on the same street on the eastside of Atlanta for four years. My love for Atlanta has grown and grown and grown, rolling over from an ideal aspiration, to a pressing reality. I could spend the rest of my life there, live and die there, and not have any regrets.

Traveling is always more fulfilling and healthy if you know where home is. My roots have been sinking in to the city of Resurgence. But here I am on my way again, headed to another land. On Monday I’ll be touring around Upper Westside at Union Theological Seminary, the seminary of Columbia University. This could be my abode come September, taking classes on theology and culture.

Can I leave Atlanta, where too few people understand rootedness? Isn’t it true that Atlanta will be the same when I come back? I will be the one who’s changed. I don’t know if I want to let go of all the people I love, all of my places I stroll.

I guess I don’t have to answer these questions now. Let me enjoy my weekend retreat, my time with family amidst this great place, this cultural mecca of American society. We can tell stories, share in meals and remember our connectedness. Today I will leave my future behind me and enjoy the present. And when I return, the future will find its way in me once again.

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  • SPO

    Where’s that record player now?