i only technically lived in new london for a grand total of three years. after my family moved from austin to the new london-spicer area, we rented in spicer for a year before my parents bought 224 n. main in new london. after three years, i went to college. i did come home for the summers between my first year and sophomore years and soph and junior years, and i stayed in new london for maybe a month and a half after graduating from st. ben’s, and that is the extent of my actual living time in new london.
my parents, however, have lived in new london for nineteen years. this means that while i had not lived in new london very long, i have made the drive to and from the area quite a bit and spent many a day there.
last april my mom got a new job in rochester, and their house sold last month. their closing date is august 30, and they take possession of a new house in st. charles on sept. 12. this last saturday, i went to the house one final time to help pack up. i won’t miss the house and area as much as my parents will (especially my mom), but i will miss it.
i’ll miss christmas – most of my christmasses were spent in new london. i’ll miss the drive along hwy 23 from st cloud. i’ll miss o’neil’s pub and their awesome bloody marys. i’ll miss memories surrounding july fourth in spicer – working the beer garden at the street dance and seeing people from high school. i’ll miss the heightened sense of familiarity when walking into a local business and knowing i might just know someone from long ago. i’ll miss green lake. i’ll miss lake andrew. i’ll miss sibley state park. i’ll miss the drive from my parents’ house to angie’s parents’ house. i’ll miss driving through new london, up the hill, and coming around the bend to see good ol’ 224. i’ll miss sitting on the deck with the sun filtering through the cedar trees in the backyard. i’ll even miss the little red barn. i’ll miss the autumn orangey-yellow of the maple tree in the front yard. i’ll miss seeing the high school and thinking about what a huge nerd i was. i’ll miss “grandma’s curve” – the curve on hwy 23 right by the roscoe roadside tavern that my grandma once commented was just the perfect curve for driving along. (i won’t miss the midget stairs in my parents’ house, however.)
all my high school memories are nestled in new london. my 21st birthday was spent with angie in spicer with a 6-pack of zima, some apple pucker, and jimmy’s pizza. i attended four high school graduations in nl-s (including my own). when someone asks where i grew up, i have a hard time saying where, which is especially odd since i spent the majority of my childhood in austin.
i drove out of new london last saturday, laden down with a bunch of stuff from the house, and got a little melancholy – it’s the second house i’ve had to say goodbye to within a year. (and as i got closer to the st cloud area, i got even more melancholy.) unfortunately, i can see no real reasons to come back to the new london area, and the thought that this could be my last journey up 23 was making me sad. they say change is good; a new page has turned; turn over a new leaf. all true, but i feel like it’s been nothing BUT change lately. i hope life settles a little.
goodbye, 224 n. main.