Chapter Seventeen, The Mother Son College Odyssey

It’s the last night of our trip. We went out for a great Tibetan meal in Marblehead and ate yak dumplings.

It took us three hours to make it to Marblehead. We alternated between NPR and right wing radio on 90 heading east. My dad introduced me to right wing radio when we went on car trips, and now I’m passing the tradition on to Eli. “You’ve got to know what the other side is thinking,” I told him.

We arrived in Marblehead around six. Charlotte and Alan live in a large wooden house built by a ship captain; the whole house feels and looks like the inside of the ship. Charlotte’s brother, Charles, a painter, is here on a visit from Florence, Italy where he runs a painting school. He’s lived abroad for more than 30 years.

Alan was our cook, and a marvelous one at that–a delightful fish chowder, spectacular salad, great bread with olive oil and hot peppers, and a luscious fruit salad. Eli entertained us through dinner. At least he entertained me. There’s nothing like a fresh, shiny, young brain, the innocence and vitality of youth, especially when compared to older more used up models–the rest of us at the table.

After dinner, Eli pulled out some origami paper and tried to teach us to make one of Robert Lang’s models of a fish. By Eli’s standards, it’s a pretty simple model. Alan kept up pretty well, but Charlotte and I kept whining and asking Eli to make our folds for us. He was very patient and animated. I kept thinking, “I can’t believe I made him!” I suppose all parents feel this way–amazement that these beings we created with our bodies, our of our DNA, grow up to be these individuals with their own talents and personalities and and lives. Sometimes it just hits me. “Wow–look at him.” It’s the real gift of parenting–watching who they become and keep becoming.

Eli had fun and so did the rest of us. After we finished our fish (and Alan brought one out he’d carved from wood), the men had a paper airplane folding contest. It was a very sweet evening. I just wish it wasn’t so short of a visit.

Eli and I both agreed, we’re getting up at 5:30. We need to leave by 6:00. I bought us food for lunch on the plane. There will be a little bit of schlepping after we drop off our car, but then we get to check our bags (mine weighed down with all the college catalogues we picked up along the way), and soon we’ll be home. I think both Karyn and Lizzy are coming to pick us up. I hope so! I’ve missed them both.

The only plan I have for the rest of the weekend revolves around the roller derby tickets I bought for Saturday night. Eli’s spending Saturday with Ashley, but Karyn and I and Lizzy will be back at the Civic Auditorium for another roller derby extravaganza.  In addition to the Broadway Bombshells, Santa Cruz’ A team, we’ll get to see the Derby Groms, the teen team in training, featuring two of Lizzy’s friends on the track for the first time.

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