September 19, 1999
I spent the day scrubbing the house and getting some papers set in order and then had to scramble to catch the 8:22pm train to Philadelphia. We left at 8pm. Sabs thought the train was at 8:30pm. He drove very fast when he found out it was at 8:22. We pulled into the station at 8:13, I had my ticket in hand by 8:16 and at 8:18 I was standing with the rest of the crowd, waiting to board the train.
The ride up was uneventful, just the standard two hour ride North, with the usual mix of tourists, students and business-people, most New York-bound. I blended in perfectly, in t-shirt, jeans and backpack. I love being able to pack light. The one benefit of the polyester/nylon suit: it doesn't wrinkle.
The train got in a little bit late. It was supposed to arrive at 10:18pm, but when I came up that stairwell it was nearly 10:30. But there were Mom and Dad, smiling down at me and waving as they always do.
I have so many memories of my parents coming to pick me up at that train station. All through college, that was my main means of transportation between Smith and home. I think that now, a lot of people would think I was crazy to take the train so often, after all it is a six hour ride. But there's just something about trains that I like better than planes. Sure, I could have flown, Bradley International Airport wasn't far from Smith and lots and lots of the girls did fly out of there.
But I always preferred the train. So many rides back and forth -- the Peter Pan bus into Springfield, the scurry down the two blocks and around the corner to the Amtrak station. The biting Massachusetts cold, contrasted with the relatively mild Philadelphia wind. Most of the memories stem from Thanksgiving, Christmas and January trips. So much so, that I associate that ride with winter and cold and snow. The initial rides in the Fall and Spring were always done by car, with my mother or father and my Jeep-load of stuff. I always brought too much stuff with me to college. I practically moved into my dorm as if it were an apartment every time.
They always greeted me upon every return with smiles and waving and big hugs; their little girl was home again. Now that Tom and Ted are both gone off to college too, and they're alone in the apartment, every visit of mine is doubly precious.
My mother clings to me like glue, saying over and over how glad she is to see me. I appreciate it, but at the same time, it makes me sad. It reminds me all too keenly, that a phase in all of our lives has passed and that time moves inexorably forward.
The drive back to the apartment from downtown, takes forever it seems. Dad talks and blusters in the front seat, Mom dozes, I try not to fall asleep in the last, but I'm still tired out from Friday and Winnie's Saturday visit.
At last we are there. I get a drink of water, hang up my suit and tuck myself into bed with my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. The alarm is set for 7:30am.
Tomorrow the axe falls.