I’m pondering taking some time off from work and driving back to New London Connecticut to do some site-seeing and reminiscing. It’s a mere 2000 miles, each way; easy if you stop a few times along the way to smell the proverbial roses.
See, the most formative years of my youth happened in and around New London; when I was in the Navy and ‘on my own’ for the first time… This is where I met some really amazing people, lived in my first apartment, got my first new car, met my first girlfriend – and ultimately married her.
It was 1986 when I arrived on the base in Groton. I was 17, and the world was a limitless adventure just waiting to be discovered… And the place kind of encapsulates the best parts of my teenage years.
This is where I came to the realization that I could eat as much ice-cream as I wanted from the container in the freezer, because I bought it, and that a salad at a restaurant wasn’t all that bad. Where I learned that if you stay up all night partying, the next day’s PT sucked ass. And where I got my first taste of adult responsibility because I had someone other than myself to support and take care of.
Groton / New London is old enough that it is pretty much a time capsule; the place is essentially the same as it was when I lived there… The apartment I lived in is still there, the arboretum where I played Lazer Tag is still there, the Crystal Mall is still there… Hell, even the pizza joint, “Pizzarama”, that I used to hang out at with my ex is still there (on Broad St., across the street from the cemetery…)
From New London I made dozens of road trips to various parts of Massachusetts, and even drove as far as Maine a couple of times. I knew every twisty back road in the area intimately from putting countless miles on the several cars I owned while I lived there, and this is where I got my early education in the school of hard knocks.
I had my first vehicular accident at this intersection when I was heading over to pick up my ex at Pete’s mom’s apartment (the red brick places on the left)…
It’s a blind curve to the left and as I inched out to see if anyone was coming, a parts delivery truck going waaaaay too fast appeared in front of my LeBaron and took the license plate off the front bumper… Everyone was fine and all I had to do was screw the license plate back on, but you always remember your first. 🙂
But I’m approaching my mid-50’s and it’s been over thirty-five years since those heady teenage years, and I can feel the threads of my past tugging a bit.
“You can never go back”, and I know this, but like the skeleton in The Last Unicorn; “I remember…”
Listening to "Los Angeles" by The Midnight