And so it ends. Another two weeks zooms by as I continued to visit with family and friends – some of whom have been absent from my life for many, many years and in some cases decades. This visit to NH was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. I’ve spent so much quality time catching up with friends and family, and even found a little bit of time to get in a bike ride and even to play tourist a bit. I’ve had a wonderful time here in NH, and will treasure the time spent for many years to come.
More Visits with Family
Being that I’m a born/raised NH boy and come from a very large family (both my own as well as lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.), it probably comes as no surprise that there are lots of family that still live here in the area. So, there were lots still to see before I departed.
I got to enjoy a wonderful BBQ with my niece Becky and her husband Russell, and to meet the newest member of the family Lewis. I also had a terrific time catching up with their older son Jackson, even playing a very close and competitive game of Phase 10 (he let me win!). They’ve got a beautiful house now too, and are well on their way to living the dream. Thanks for all your hospitality for a wonderful day!
My cousin Lucy came up to the RV one evening for dinner. I BBQ’d some Haddock and asparagus, and we wrapped up with some of her home made Whoopie Pies – yummy! Had a nice time catching up, and I look forward to her joining the full-time RV lifestyle sometime in the future. Hurry up and retire Lucy!
Lastly, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my brother Don and girlfriend Darlene, and his son (my nephew) Brian, his wife Alana, and their four wonderful and adventurous children roughly aged 2, 4, 6, and 8. We spent the afternoon at sort of an amusement park that had rides and games to entertain the kids. Even got in 18 holes of put-put golf. Later, we had a nice seafood dinner out with ice cream for dessert. It was really nice reconnecting with their three oldest kids, and meeting the sweet youngin’ for the first time. I really enjoyed spending the day with them. Thanks for inviting me along!
The Old Neighborhood
And this is where it all began for me. Well technically, I’m told I lived in two other houses before this one, but I was too young to really remember them. This is the main house that I basically grew up in. From the outside, it certainly has not changed much. Same color, same landscape – not much is different. I did happen to notice that the pool is now gone – replaced by grass. Sure have lots of wonderful memories of many many pool parties we had over the years. The place was certainly party central growing up.
Speaking of the old neighborhood, I was happy to visit with John and Janet who still reside down the street in the same house they’ve been in for decades. Growing up, I spent lots of time with them, sometimes baby sat with their kids (who are all now grown – some in their 50’s, with their own families), as well as taking many ice fishing trips in the winter. I also had the pleasure of catching up with one of their daughters Sheryl, and meeting her older son and her new 2 yr old little girl. Always great catching up with these folks. Thanks for the dinner out!
I was very thrilled that I reconnected with Marc – one of my childhood friends that, growing up, lived two doors down the street from me. As kids, we hung out and played a lot, camped out together in the backyard in a tent during the summer, and later went to high school together. Soon after high school graduation (1977), I started my Air Force career and we had lost touch. So, following my goal of catching up with as many of my older friends as possible, I reached out to him. He was gracious and invited me over to his house for a BBQ. Being inspired by my action of reaching out, he also reached out to another childhood friend that also lived in the area – John. Also present, was Cathy, Marc’s wife and also a childhood neighbor from just up the street. We had a fabulous time catching up after 35+ years, and enjoyed a spectacular dinner (Cathy is a wonderful cook!). Thank you so much for hosting the mini-reunion, and I really enjoyed catching up with all of you.
So, from an old neighborhood perspective, the only ones missing that I was not able to catch up with were the Bergeron kids. But, as luck would have it, John and Janet coordinated a visit with Mr and Mrs Bergeron – who still live in the same house (58 years now). They winter in Florida, but I was fortunate to catch them while they were here up north. They are into their 80s now, but as chipper and active as can be. I got updates on all their kids (6 girls and 3 boys) and also discovered they now have 18 grands and 8 great grands. It was a very special time visiting with them, and I wish them continued joy and good health.
Old Man of the Mountain
My primary mission for the NH visit was to catch up with people. I didn’t need to play tourist – after all, I grew up here. But one of my very smart friends suggested that I should visit what was once the Old Man of the Mountain. For my non NH friends, the Old Man is near and dear to those from NH, and largely represents the state as its trade mark. It’s the official state emblem, and can be found on pretty much anything related to NH. The profile form sat atop Cannon mountain at Franconia Notch. Created some 12,000 years ago during the ice age when glaciers expanded then retreated across North America, it was first noticed by the white man in the early 1800’s. It was not popularized nor had widespread recognition until 1850 with the publication of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s allegorical tale, “The Great Stone Face”. As time progressed, constant freezing and thawing was having a negative impact to this historic landmark. During the early 1920’s, cracks and gaps were noticed in the rock around the form. These were mended using chains. Later, in the summer of 1958, the state initiated an all-out effort to help stabilize the Old Man, using steel rods and tons of poured concrete. That certainly helped prolong things, but alas on May 3, 2003 in the middle of the night, the Old Man collapsed and crumbled to the ground. It was a very sad day for those from NH – having lost a truly iconic representation of the state.
As years passed, many folks considered what to do next. Building and placing a replica on the mountain side was considered, but quickly dismissed. In the end, a mountain memorial was built along Profile Lake. This memorial includes a viewing platform with metal “profilers” having various shapes which when perfectly aligned with the cliff above, forms the familiar Old Man profile face. Its a nice way to create sort of a virtual view and re-imagine the Old Man for future generations, and I guess that’s about all we’ll have left.
I didn’t have too much time for other activities. I never did do any fishing or kayaking in the lake here at the campground. But I did manage to get in a bike ride along the Goffstown Rail Trail. It’s a five mile trail that includes sections along some nice scenic waterways, and some not so scenic sections along the backside of the local prison. But, all in all, it was a nice 10-mile round trip ride. I also supported a local Cheerleading squad with their fund raising car wash – taking particular notice of their very creative methods to handle the beast that is my truck.
I also spent a nice Sunday morning at the Hollis Flea Market – something that I’ve been going to since I was a kid. Nice to see that it’s still around and going strong. Lastly, while I was in the Lincoln area, I had to stop at Clarks Trading Post. This was a popular locals and tourist stop that features a bear show with them atop a platform up in the air. Wow, has this place grown. I only remember the store, the bear show area, and the train. It now has a water park, segway riding track, and much more. Ah, progress!
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now. I leave in the morning to head out to my next destination – Mystic, CT. Really looking forward to having an RV dinner party with a bunch of my former co-wokers, and also dining at what is probably my favorite restaurant of all time – Sea Goose (sorry Nilou – I’ll send you a picture!). Anyway, thanks to all of my NH friends and family for their very gracious hospitality, and I truly enjoyed spending time and catching up with each and every one of you. Till next time, safe travels!