Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Backtime Road Trip Day 6: Back to the Future

In 2007, Kalamazoo was in the rearview. Today was time to re-live history.

We pulled into Kalamazoo kind of late last night, but it was hard to notice. It's about as far west in the eastern time zone as you can get so the sun didn't set until about 9:30. The kids went to bed late and that may have thrown them this morning.

When we last lived in the home of the Western Michigan Broncos, our son was 3 years old. This morning, Sonny did his best impression of a 3-year old getting into a couple of territorial skirmishes on the McDonald's playground.

First I get talked out of a free Hampton Inn breakfast, then I'm pulling two crying kids back to the car in a crowded McDonald's parking lot. I was naturally beginning to second-guess a lot of things.

But we visited Son's old pre-school where I learned his particular teacher had retired. But everyone else there recognized him. He wasn't so sure. His memory is fast becoming legend in his present digs, but his memories of his previous life aren't as clear. But he remembered the big slide.

Then we were off to his former speech therapist. He said he didn't remember her, but he acted very familiarly there. The floortime and specific reinforcement moving forward was worth the trip by itself. So the second-guessing was now over.

Then we went downtown and checked out both of our former apartment buildings. We went down to the Amtrak station where we went on countless walks and stroller rides.

We hit Irving's Market, which is housed in our former building and we were treated like returning heroes.

Then we hopped across the street to Caffe Casa, where I got my coffee almost every morning for three years. We were recognized and greeted instantly, though they couldn't remember my "usual." The kids split a big brownie.

We went to the Arcadia Park playground to get some ya-yas out. Even though it was crowded with some rowdy kids, both kids were perfectly content and kept their cool.

Then it was one more trip to The Root Beer Stand for lunch, where a car-hop recognized my car and the kids, nonchalantly asking, "What's it been, two years?" Almost three actually.

So the purpose of the 20 hours back in the old hometown was to see what the little man remembered from there. And specifically I'm not sure he recalled much. But he seemed familiar and comfortable.

We left town and headed for my sister's house in Cleveland. With Kalamazoo in the rearview, my son said he wanted to come back next summer.

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