He'd proposed months ago to take me to Savannah, my grandmother's birthplace. And then the mere idea of this trip was amazing. The actuality of it was even better than I'd imagined. We eventually decided on what became a road trip along the east coast with the main locations being Richmond, Va, Atlanta, Ga, Chesapeake, Va and the home of my grandmother.
Just a bit of background info, my gramma was born and raised in Savannah. She moved to NYC at about age 25, which was around 1934, I believe. She often spoke of Savannah, which for me seemed like a rustic, old fashioned town as told to me from my gramma's early 1900's perspective. She would talk about doing homework by a kerosene lamp. Most of my sense of propriety, pride, manners and sense of culture came from my gramma. A tough old Southern biddy who boasted about having good posture (as a child) and being a football player. lol This woman meant the world to me so going back to where she was raised inturn meant the world to me and felt like a homecoming of sorts eventhough I'd never been there before.
The trip began on 12/22. Really on 12/21 for me 'cause I had to take an Amtrak that left at 3 am. I arrived in Richmond the morning of 12/22. We drove around a tiny bit, but really Richmond was meeting place. Our first true destination was...
Atlanta, Ga. My first time there. We met up with Linda (with apple crisp made by Jon's mother). The three of us went to an Ethiopian restaurant and had a nice meal. It was Jon and Linda's first time meeting. It was a nice easy night with good conversation, laughs and good music. Linda graciously let us stay at her place the night. I have pics of us with her, but I need Linda to give the ok first.
Next stop was Savannah. Before he left Jon accessed the census info from the library to find the house my gramma and great gramma were registered as living at. The info started at about 1930, so the address he found was for when she was about 19 or 20 (a few years before she left for NYC). We'd intended to go to the Dept of Health and confirm the location listed on her birth certificate (as the address on the one I had for her was a NYC address and I assume she requested a replacement after she moved here). When we got there on 12/23 it was closed. But I assume she didn't move anyway. After a quick stop at the hotel we went to the address that was once my grandmother's.
Now the whole time leading up to this moment I was fine. The idea of knocking on some stranger's door was actually very exciting. Then the day before it suddenly seemed a little crazy. Then minutes before going I became nervous. Despite that I don't think I ever thought "maybe we shouldn't do this." We drove there and google maps directions were a bit off and I almost thought we wouldn't make it. Then I used the gps on my phone and we found it. Knocked on the door and I instantly started crying. Luckily the lady that lives there now is kind and didn't just ward us away (as I'm not too sure I would be so open to two strangers at my door right before the holidays). She didn't let us in, but that was largely because she had very small children running around naked in her front room. But she stopped to talk to us and let us take pics of the house.
Me and the lady that lives there now.
Me in front of the house
The contraption across the street from my gramma's old house
I really can't describe how great that moment was. Being there in the city my gramma'd always spoken about, in front of her former home. It was just amazing and I'll always be indebted to Jon for facilitating that for me.
Afterwards we went to a restaurant called the Pirate House rumored to be haunted (as most places in Savannah are rumored to be) and had a nice dinner before going back to the hotel.
On x mas we were back on the road. He wanted to make sure we woke up on xmas morning at his home in Chesapeake
So a bit of background info: his mother asked all of us to send her info on our "favorite things." It's a really sweet idea that I think I'll be stealing one day. She asked what kind of candy we like, magazines, dvds, etc. So I sent that in and was expecting a gift from her. I wasn't, however, expecting anything from his sister (and I still feel bad I got her nothing). On Xmas eve they do gift exchanges. I got my gift from Meghan and was so touched. It was a basket of tons of my favorite candies, microwave popcorn and a DVD I'd asked for (a season of Curb Your Enthusiasm). I really was not expecting anything, so that was so sweet. I also got a bunch of gifts from his mother including a target gift card, Bath and Body Works products and more candy.
We also spent some time at his father's where I learned to shoot. I think I'm a pretty decent shot, too. Not real guns, just with bb guns a la Christmas Story. Which is something I never would thought I would enjoy, but I'm glad I tried. It was one of the two lessons I got from jon during the trip.
The next day was more gift giving and his mother had a christmas stocking for me as well. We spent the next few days just snuggled up and enjoying time together. Then got snowed in as you all know the weather was insane right after Xmas day. So our trip got extended as we'd intended to drive to NYC on 12/27. That got pushed to 12/29. Spent two more days laying about enjoying his mother's cooking. She really spoils anyone who stays there. It was so hard to leave. Especially knowing I was going back to an apartment with no privacy (which is the most neutral thing I can say about that) and knowing I'd have to cook my own meals and have to go back to work. lol Turns out my office was closed Monday so they had a snow day as well. By 12/29 we were back on the road headed towards NYC.
I need to note that among the many great parts of this trip, just riding in the car with Jon was wonderful. He makes a great road trip partner and I loved just riding around with him. I got to see his road rage side and it wound up infecting me. Before I knew it was pointing out crazy shit people did on the road and mocking them. lol Oh! He also gave me my first driving lessons! (Yes, I am this age and have yet to learn to drive) I was petrified. I've said it before (prolly like 5 times at this point), but I really need actual driving to be as easy as Mario Kart. The fact that it's not bugs me. Also the fact that I have to turn the steering wheel SO much just for a simple turn bugs me. But yeah I don't think I went above 10 mph. lol Looking forward to my next lesson!
We traveled along MD, DE and NJ.Saw a few restaurants on the Eastern Seashore that we might revisit. $5 menu? Yes, please!
So something else kinda random and silly. The things that manifest in me as dating a white man. lol I have this need to... I guess the best way to put it is reaffirm my connection to the Black community (lol) when being seen in certain aspects. For some reason it kept manifesting itself when we drove up to a drive thru window. Like I knew these folks saw us coming. And everytime we'd arrive at a window and the server was Black, I'd have a strong desire to peek my head lower so they could see me and make a point to smile and wave and be extra friendly. Which in my mind was me saying "hey! HI! I know you see me with this white man, but I still love Black people! I'm not a sellout!! Hey! Hi sista! ::pumps fist: Fight the power!!!11!"
We got to the city and did a lot of what we did in Chesapeake, but with me cooking instead of his mother. lol And no driving lessons cause the streets were treacherous. I went to work on Thursday and he dropped in with lunch for me. He'd intended to get lunch for Carolyn, my co-worker, as well, but she declined 'cause she'd bought food from home.
I got to bring in the new year with the best man I know and even got some alone time in there. I have no idea what we will do for Xmas 2011, but I know it won't top last year's. Which is more than fine as I just can't be happier to have had those memories. I know gramma would have loved him and would have appreciated all he has done as much as I do.