Amidst the merriment and mania of the holiday, a swell of nostalgia has been pulling me to my old hometown, Newport, earlier this week. I spent two days there, peering deep beneath all the superficial changes to reacquaint myself with the city that changed my life a hundred times over.
Upon pulling into town around 9pm, I went straight to my high school. It's been 14 years since I was a Newport Cub (holy shit), and I was surprised by the emotion it stirred. Once upon a time the campus quad was the epicenter of my life, and now it feels like a wrinkle in time.
When we moved to Oregon in 1990, we planned to live in Monmouth, but a day trip to the ocean led us to Newport, a chapter of our lives that spanned 13 years.
I failed to anticipate that our most viable eating options late at night would be to knock on someone's door, but thankfully, we went down to the Bayfront and ended up at the Rogue, which was utterly surreal. Our host, a Quaker named Reuben, was also the manager and he welcomed us warmly and announced us that he's not capable of making most of what was on the menu. It was great like that. I asked for the turkey sandwich and he winced. Upon further perusal, we looked quizzically at the macaroni and cheese. That, he said, he could make. Probably. It took almost an hour and a half, and he had to read directions, and we were nervous. Meanwhile, our Sprites were running low and well, someone had to keep this place running:
La Quinta, Newport's finest:
My first Newport sunrise in 11 years:
Breakfast at the legendary Georgie's Beachside Grill with my fellow NHS classmate Dawna and two of her kids, Cody and Savannah:
Our first house in Newport, in Nye Beach, where we lived just long enough to meet Mesina across the street before moving into something bigger. This house has been renovated, as long as we're being honest:
Who knew that in this humble abode lived a 12 year old who would prove to be one of my eternal heartstrings. Can you believe this Mes?
Next up, Sand Castle Toys, specialty store for some christmas shopping:
It took everything I had not to buy this, sweet Jesus:
Our house in Makai, where Mom and Chris lived for 13 years:
The first apartment Todd and I ever had, with three month old Quinn. Ours was bottom front, #1:
The view from our apartment, I used to walk my Quinny along this road:
The cottage on Cottage Street Mom into which Mom moved once the nest was mostly empty:
Newport's Performing Arts Center, where my bff Zach and I were cast in A Company of Wayward Saints our senior year (I will never post pictures of that, lol):
Pizza Cucina, Newport's finest pizza parlour, where Todd and I met in 1994:
The world's loooooooooooooooongest Stephen King corridor, especially amusing when one is sopping wet just out of the hot tub, wearing a hotel towel (a.k.a. washcloth):
Wi-Fi rocks, but tracking down the grave site of an old friend who committed suicide sucks, especially when you discover he's all the way in Union. Worse still is having enough friends who have taken their lives as to warrant a day of visiting sites:
Visiting the grave of my dear friend from high school, Brian. My heart will never fully mend from this loss. Brian confided his intent in me the day before he took his life. I was 16, and terrified to reach out for him. I was afraid of seeming dramatic. I decided I would force him to join me in speaking to someone the next day but he shot himself that night, just as he said. Having just lost Jon, and spending the evening trying to find Stefan, was overwhelming. I have never driven faster to see my kids:
I took a rose to his grave on the 3rd of every month for almost five years, but it has been so long it was like realizing it for the first time:
This was a much-needed trip, seeing old friends, old teachers, old haunts, our homes, and reminiscence that was at times astonishing, dismal, foreign, thrilling, and sad. If we hadn't come here for the day back in the spring of 1990, Quinn and Reilly wouldn't exist. So it was all worth it.