Thursday, August 21, 2008

On This Day in 1988


Twenty years ago today, on August 21, 1988, my family arrived in NY.

We'd lived in Stanford for four years, while my father was getting his PhD. We'd never lived in the East. My parents met and married in Salt Lake, and in 1984, they and the five of us then-living kids picked up and moved to CA. For four years we traveled back and forth between Palo Alto and Salt Lake, summer after summer, Christmas after Christmas, but it wasn't until 1988, when Dad finished school and took a job, that we packed up and left the West. In the end, it was a choice between Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Long Island, NY. (Maybe, if they'd chosen differently, I'd be blogging now in an OSU sweatshirt.)

Grandma and Grandpa Hoggard drove ahead with our stuff in a Hertz-Penske truck. We followed behind in our old tan van, driving 55 mph without air conditioning through Nevada, Nebraska, New Jersey, to, finally, New York. We wound our way around the city, found Long Island and the LIE, and, on a summer afternoon, pulled into West Sayville. 118 Cherry Avenue, West Sayville, NY. It was a new day. For dinner, we had Chinese food from the Wai Wah Kitchen. When second grade started a few weeks later, I told people who asked that we were planning to be in NY for "three to five years, seven at the most."

Twenty years later, today, Mom hung signs in our livingroom. "Happy 20th NYersary!" For dinner, as usual, we had Chinese food (but not from Wai Wah's Kitchen--our move in 1998 put us an hour west of West Sayville). We looked at old pictures, wrote fortunes for our fortune cookies, and made predictions about what would be true for us in 2028. "We'll have forty grandkids," Dad said to Mom. "That will require some more marriages," she said, looking at Jacob, Peter, Rachel, Bekah, and me significantly. "One hopes," I said. (I'm for children being born in wedlock, is what I mean.)

But today--also today--is my own anniversary. Today I made my own trek from Stanford to NY. I've finished law school, I've taken the bar, and I've moved out of Melville. Yesterday I made a final victory loop around Palo Alto. I said goodbye to my favorite tree. I bought chocolate chips from JJ&F's. I ran up College Ave, stopped by the Klutz store, returned a key to the law school, picked up my transcript, picked up my diploma, and walked down Embarcadero through our leafy, lovely neighborhood to Melville. KT, MH, and I had dinner at Pluto's. I hugged KT at Melville, RM in my heart, and MH at SFO. MH said, "Today San Francisco. Tomorrow, the world." And I dragged my suitcases away.

I JetBlued it over night and ended up here this morning. It's August 21, and I'm back in New York.

2 comments:

Monica Merced Rich said...

Are you here for good? That would cause for celebrating.

Laura said...

Little did I realize that my life was going to change the day your family moved to Cherry Ave (what a great home - seriously, what a great home. Walks to downtown, the Chocolatier, the beach, dancing crazy in the street in your deceased great-Aunt's clothes.....good times).

I knew I was happy that a girl my age had moved into our tiny little ward, but I didn't know then that 20 years later she would be my best friend. Sunday afternoon dinners replete with ginger ale, reading books side-by-side through pre-adolescence while the jury was out on our friendship, teriyaki chicken, early morning seminary with red scripture marked ears and crazy pencil-laden hair, the CTR limo service on prom night and the countless hours spent enjoying each other, whether it be at Cherry Ave, Hillberry Lane, South Shore Ward, Smithpoint beach, Midwood Brooklyn, Provo Utah and now Austin/San Marcos TX -

My world is infinitely indescribably better because your family chose New York over Oklahoma.

I sure do love you O-family. Especially you, Sarah Louise.