Homesickness ... and other maladies

Growing up, I always felt that I had two hometowns - Braintree, Mass and Dennis, Mass. Fall, winter, and spring months were spent in Braintree; summer months and certain fall and spring weekends were spent at my grandparents' cottage in Dennisport. It was the best of both worlds, or so I always thought.

I thoroughly enjoyed my growing up years in Braintree (God's country, as I call it -- the birthplace of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and patriot John Hancock, as well as the scene of the famous 1920 Sacco & Vanzetti payroll robbery/shooting). Yet, I also  enjoyed the times spent at the cottage at Haigis* Beach in Dennisport. It was a truly magical place -- in that little cottage slept five generations over the years.

In the late-1970's, my parents built a place in South Dennis and eventually we made the permanent move from Braintree to become full-time Cape Codders during my college years. It was tough saying goodbye to Braintree, but Dennis was a second home to me so the transition was seamless. Every once in a while, though, I get a pang of homesickness for my one-time hometown ... and this past weekend was one of those times.

An old high school buddy visited this weekend and over beers we remembered some of the old times, casting back more than a quarter century to a misty and slightly more innocent era. It was a time when we had few cares in the world. We went to school. We played sports. We worked part-time at a local nursing home -- making about $2.50 an hour, yet that was enough to fund our weekend exploits (and enough to pay for half of my college tuition!).

Over another round of beers the yearbook came out - Braintree High School, Class of 1980. We flipped through the pages and commented on this person and that person. We arrived at the "S's" and there I was, mop-topped and wearing a bad suit (and an equally bad tie). The write-up next to my picture included mention of my involvement in the literary club, the school newspaper, the ice hockey team, and the golf team. Further in the yearbook I came across my sports letter -- a blue "B" for playing left wing for the Braintree Wampatucks. Unfortunately, I never received a letter for golf. I was kicked off the team in my senior year for missing one little sand trap practice! I'm still miffed, all these years later!

By the end of the weekend the feeling of homesickness had subsided, as I looked forward with anticipation to what the future holds. Instead of homesickness, though, I now felt certain maladies associated with the mid-40's - a vague twinge in my left leg and creaky knees (my knees are always cracking and popping when I walk, bend, breathe, etc). The spot where I broke my collarbone - while playing a pick-up game of football back in college - bothers me these days during humid weather. And I swear, even the joint of the thumb on my right hand aches on rainy days.

And my hair is thinning on top. And the crow's feet at the corner of my eyes are becoming more pronounced. And, according to my doctor, I'm not hearing certain decibel levels.  And I'm becoming forgetful. And I'm becoming forgetful ... sorry, did I just say that?

Please, somebody, tell me it gets better!

Or at very least, please tell me that there's a prescription I can take to remedy these maladies!

Jack Sheedy

PS: Watch this blog for the opening of the Autumnal Equinox Coffeehouse! A place where poet-wannabes can step up to the mike and post a lyrical comment.

* Haigis Beach - not to be confused with haggis, which is a round Scottish sausage made of lamb innards. Yum!

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