My planning cohort and I had planned a family get-together for families as a local playground and arranged for lunch - for those who wanted it - to be delivered. For three hours, we caught up, reminisced and gave our former directors a hard time. It was fantastic to see people who shared the same experience many years over come together. Band was a saving grace for a lot of us and, for me, it was where I made my strongest high school friendships.
Marietta is a lovely place to visit - lots of historical stuff, if you're into that. It was a mind-numbingly boring place to spend your adolescence, though. We has to travel 30 minutes to Parkersburg, W.VA. for a mall, a movie or a decent restaurant.
Lots of things have changed since I graduated in the, ahem, 90s. When we rolled back into town Friday night, I was impressed to see that they had built an Applebee's in the last decade. To the town's credit, they now have a movie theatre (and a Wal-Mart, although I don't believe that is entirely to their credit). Wandering around town Friday evening, there was live music by the river and several festivals and events promoted for the weekend.
I was amazed to see how the town had changed to my senses as an adult and as a parent. Was it me, or did the whole town smell of honeysuckle? I noticed that we couldn't travel more than 7 minutes in any direction without coming across a different set of baseball fields. It seemed quieter. Perhaps it is the nostalgia seeping into my veins, travelling into my nose and eyes and ears, but all of sudden, this one-horse town seemed like the perfect place to raise kids.
Of course, with 48 hours hindsight to my advantage, I realize that the school system is likely not that vastly improved. During the weekend, Osi noted that the entire city seemed "anti-credit," since the restaurant we were eating at offered a 10% discount for cash payment and the ice cream stand had a "cash only window." My response is that they are "anti-a lot of things here." That is still very likely true and I have no idea how my more liberal friends breathe in a place where gun racks are sold in Kroger.
But it was nice to drive around town, noting that many of the landmarks from my childhood still stood. Many of my friends from high school were still the same people and home can still be a nice place to visit.