Archive for June 2010

 
 

Blog #10 You Can Go Home Again

And love every moment of it!

Here I was at a podium in my hometown of Saint John, N.B. last week. At the back of the Saint John Free Public Library’s main room was my brother Mike (my best fan), my niece Carolyn (who got me into the writing kick in the first place), “cousins” Fred and Anita, schoolmates from elementary and high school, my roommate from first year university, friends I see most years when I return home for a visit, and friends I had not seen for half a century. There were friends of my brothers and sister and parents. There were members of my extended family who once lived in my family home. There were complete strangers from a cruise ship stopping by to see a book launch for a local author’s book called Indian River.

Because I developed my working career out of town, no one had really seen me speak in public nor had they read a word I had written. But they were there. Waiting for me to introduce myself to them as a writer. I was so emotionally lifted by their presence, so grateful that they took the time to come out on such short notice. The friends I asked to round up supporters came through. I had an impressive audience.

The reading selections drew their attention, made them remember their own experiences, made them laugh, and made them curious. Just what I wanted. Then they came up to buy my signed copies. What more could one ask for? The book launch went well.

That was not all. I went to my first high school reunion, fifty years after I graduated with a class of fine fellows from Saint Malachy’s High School in 1960. About one week before returning to my hometown, Canada 411 helped me connect for the first time in over forty years with the one classmate I spent the most time with in my high school days. We chatted on the phone, but he would not be at the reunion he thought. At least we had reconnected. At the Alumni dinner, however, he turned up. We sat together, caught up as much as we could, and chatted with five of our classmates from the past. The next night, we went to The Inn at Shadow Lawn for a reception and dinner party for twenty-five classmates and some of their partners and some friends of our class. Conversation flowed easily, noisily, and happily. For the most part, we felt at home with one another. The cement of good friendships still held. And at least two of the people at the book launch two days before had finished reading my book already and loved it.

Earlier that day, my brother hosted a party of family and friends and neighbours that was thoroughly pleasant and I felt at home again.

When I first arrived in the city earlier in the week, I spent four days with my brother. We chatted, he prepared seafood chowder and a superb breakfast, we did some errands, we watched some World Cup Soccer, we visited the cemetery. We laughed, teased one another, and enjoyed each other’s company. Quality family time. Felt like home.