Monday, July 13, 2009

Party Pack


For those of you new to my blog, we moved from the city in which I was born and raised (Reno, NV), and lived for 50 years, (OMG 50?), to Portland OR for 2.5 years and then 2 years in the Twin Cities. For all of my life I can remember wanting to move and live somewhere else other than where I was born. Before we moved to Portland we bought a place at Lake Tahoe, about 25 minutes from Reno, and kept it while living elsewhere. So we always had one foot back in my home state.

One of the things I noticed when I moved to these other areas was how hard it was to establish new friendships. In fact what I noticed was that friendships, real friendships, require time and energy. Or they need to have some kind of history in order to be meaningful. Otherwise they are acquaintances. We no longer attend school functions, so friendships were not formed while sitting on bleachers for hours watching our children play soccer, or dance recitals, or school functions and carpools. We met our neighbors, but because of lifestage differences, the friendships were warm but not conducive to being very close. We found that our true friendships remained back in Nevada, where we had left our history.

Which brings me to last night. We were invited to a very old friend's home to welcome back their son who has been deployed with the Navy. To say we had fun is an understatement. There is something about toasts in your honor, great big meaningful hugs, and a "party pack". A party pack is a pack of very thin Capri cigarettes that my friends and I would occasionally indulge, after several glasses of wine, since our children were tiny and easily ditched for ten minutes. They were carefully hidden in the recesses of our shelves in the garage of our home of 16 years. Which was right behind the home of said friends, and right next door to other neighbors who had children the same age. We raised our children together, spent hours and hours talking, laughing, drinking boxed wine, trading coupons, cooking huge potluck dinners, and occasionally disappearing for a cig (gasp!) Women only.

So last night was all about reminiscing. One conversation was about my children being fifth-generation native Nevadans, and that Bruno, a little bar owner in Gerlach, Nevada, known far and wide as the "voice of Nevada" to anyone attending Burning Man, is actually a fraud, having only moved here in the 1950's. My father's family moved there in the 1800's. Who else would care about that story? No one outside of a small circle of long-time Nevadans, believe me!

Little did I know I am known far and wide for my wonderful cooking! Who knew? Of course I did do a lot of cooking in those days as I had children to feed and I took great pride in showing my love for everyone with food. I had no idea I would be remembered for it. And there, carefully tucked underneath the coffee table on the deck of their home, hidden from view, was a thin pack of Capri cigs...

I guess there is no place like home.

34 comments:

Leah J. Utas said...

OMG! You sneak-smoked. That's wonderful. I love it. Good for you.

Momma Moe said...

Sounds like you have some great home memories!

Jeninacide said...

I love my party pack! I miss our neighbors! Wait- would I get to have a sneak-smoke now? Or am I still considered a kid?

lakeviewer said...

This is such a warm, touching post, reminding us of how we feel about a place. You found an old pack? Wow!

Lydia said...

Wow. You are making me think. The Wooster High (Reno, NV) 40th reunion is taking place on July 24-26. I just haven't felt like going to this one, and I doubt that I'll make a last-minute change of mind. But in the back of that mind I'm already feeling sorry for myself that I will miss out on an important part of my group's history together (the 30th and 20th were powerful in that way).

The legacy you have in Nevada is amazing. I didn't realize that Bruno was a fraud (but I still love his place in the desert)! I was a first-generation Nevadan who stayed only 25 years, then moved on. And even those roots are deep so I can only imagine yours. My HS/early college boyfriend had roots like yours in Nevada. His grandfather was Silas Ross, of --mortuary/community leadership/UNR Regents with building named in his honor--fame. That old man took us to places outside Virginia City one Saturday and showed us the remnants of two ghost towns hidden way in the hills. What a marvelous memory.

Obviously, I loved this post!

Chris Wolf said...

I used to negate any comments my mother would make about "putting down roots" somewhere until I unexpectedly realized I had lived in this present Minnesota home 17 years and my children had known no other place.

I think trauma and drama, in addition to time, contribute to that home feeling. My less than three years in New England gave me two forever friends.

Meg Runs said...

Hmm...guess what?! I was the little kid that KNEW that the adult women were sneaking off to do that because, being my curious self, I followed them to the neighbor's backyard and spied on them!! They seemed to be having so much fun, I always wanted to know what I had missed out on way back then...so funny to relive that memory through your post!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I always longed for those roots..... Being a Navy brat with an unsocial mother pretty much prevented that in childhood. Adulthood brought along some close friends, but time and distance worked it's way to dissolve them. I guess at this point in my life my best friends are my husband and kids.

TimK said...

Hi, Nancy. That's a touching story. I too have recently rediscovered the nostalgia of old friends. After I wrote my latest book, a short memoir, I contacted everyone I could who was in the book, and I ended up reconnecting with several very old friends, some of whom I haven't seen in over 20 years. I never realized how happy it would make me feel to hear from them again, even after all these years.

-TimK

Meeko Fabulous said...

Nancy, you are SO awesome! :) Nothing like the rush of an occasional smoke.

CrazyCris said...

It is harder to make friends as we grow older... and it doesn't have to be much older for you to notice the difference! Once you're out of school/college it's more complicated. During your studies it's so easy to get completely wrapped up in your friends, the group sharing the same experiences. Once you enter "the real world" then people have their own lives and you only share a tiny part of it.

This is the single most thing I regret about having grown up all over the place, not having a group of childhood friends... but I'm glad my closest friends from college help palliate that lack!

Must feel great to be back amid that closeness after having been away a few years!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I could picture you guys "sneaking cigarettes" and having a great time together.

Pat said...

What an enjoyable post! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Joanne said...

I too enjoyed reading this. There is something so reminiscent about it, and the connections you have are endearing, I can just see it as a scene in a book or a movie. There really is no place like home.

Brian Miller said...

always great to reconnect with old friends. moving is tough. we have done our fair share up and down the east coast. generally we find a small group of people to connect with. the neighborhood we are in now, not so much. we need much better planning next time...

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

You are so right about moving from place to place and not forming those long lasting friendships. To this day, the place we lived the longest (just moved to this locale about 3 years ago)still retain my dearest friends who I communicate and visit often. Great story!

MzzLily said...

I love the comment from the spy! ...and you thought you were getting away with something.

The Good Cook said...

I too have found that lasting, deep friendships are harder to forge as we get older. I have many acquaintances but few "best-friends".

Time, history and a shared story make those forever friends - I count myself lucky to be able to count a few (and yes, we still sneak a cigarette together every now and then)

Nancy said...

I envy the people who can smoke like that and then not touch them. I never could, smoked for 15 years and had to quit. I remember that brand of cigarettes, LOL
Glad you had fun at the party!

susan said...

Old friends are definitely the best but I have a feeling you don't have to be anywhere for long before you're making all kinds of new ones. Just look around :-)

Kay said...

what a great story, symbolic of the 'little' things that hold people together

Kay said...

what a great story, symbolic of the 'little' things that hold people together

Here Under the Rainbow said...

Thank you for this post. Having been such a gypsy, I hope to one day find a place to call home. To this day, I still have Simone Weil's quote taped to my fridge:

"To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul."

Lori ann said...

Dear Nancy,

What a great memory! so glad you have those friendships to fall back on and I hope you make some wonderful new ones in Tahoe!

♥ lori

asweetcakes said...

Nice one. Your party pack is so totally different from the one my little cousins get when they go to parties lol.

you know, you don't sound like you've lived anywhere for 50 years

Amel's Realm said...

Indeed there is no place like home. And when it comes to finding TRUE friends after you move, I can totally relate to that.

So far I haven't found any TRUE friends who are native Finnish, but I've found a close friend who's also an expat.

But those close friends from back in Junior High School and High School (whose pics you saw in one of my posts) are still my treasure. We still keep in touch pretty regularly and I don't know what I'd do without them! :-)))

However, I do hope that someday I'll have more true and close friends here in Finland, too, not just acquaintances. :-))))

Amel's Realm said...

Oh...one more thing...I think one hard part about finding a close friend in a new place is that usually those people who've lived there don't really need more friends 'coz they have their own inner circle already. So it gets harder and harder to get real good friends.

Marguerite said...

You are so right, Nancy. Old friends are the best and there really is no place like home! I lived all around the country, before moving back home and realizing that. Great post!

Grandma Nina said...

This story is so familiar to me. I also have some wonderful friendships that were formed when all our children were young and we would get together at the local pool, with our kids, our wine, food, and lots of laughter. We are all still good friends but out busy lives now get in the way of us getting together as much. But when we make the time, we always feel that special bond.

California Girl said...

good story and it's true, old friends are the best friends. but I like the new ones too.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

A part of me feels as though I will never find true friends. At the moment my husband holds the title of best friend and everyone else falls short.

My mother smokes Capri cigarettes! The exact same kind!

I hope you guys find some friends again, the real kind. Life is just not so bright without people to cook potluck dinners and sneak cigs with.

:)

pranksygang said...

sounds like you had fun!!! and yes u are right , home is always the best place eon earth ..

Cubil said...

You've got me thinking about roots and sometimes lack of same. Our family moved 11 times when I was growning up.
Since my kids were born we've moved twice (this is in almost 25 years). I like to think I've given them some roots, even though they live 160 miles up the road.
We've both been known to drop in for dinner and still be in our own beds... by 1am anyway.

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