Homesick

I am a Maryland girl.  I was born and raised for a period of time in Washington, DC, but in my heart of hearts…I’m from Maryland.  I have a big tin of Old Bay Seasoning in my cabinet (because what self-respecting Marylander doesn’t), crave Thrasher’s fries and Dolle’s caramel corn on a regular basis, think of mountains as soft and rolling like the Blue Ridge rather than sharp and steep like the Rockies, and likely have a combination of salt, fresh and brackish water running through my veins (because the Chesapeake Bay is actually an estuary which has all three). 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the Annapolis side.

Maryland is neither north nor south having straddled the Mason-Dixon line for the better part of the last 300 years.  Most of the state has very little accent save for the group near D.C who put an “r” in the word wash (as in Warshington), the group from deep southern Maryland who sound like they’re from the deep, deep south, and the group from points north of Baltimore who sound just like they are from Philadelphia.  We have bays and beaches and mountains and lots and lots of places where not only George Washington slept but most of the Founding Fathers’ laid their heads as well.  In fact, MD is a hotbed for political activity and personalities.  (Camp David is in MD you know).  We are the shit yo!

Western Maryland in the fall…only God makes colors like that.

I’m finding that I get homesick less frequently but with greater intensity than I used to and that the only thing that will cure it is plant my feet in good old Maryland land.  I need to soak up some salt air along with the stench of crooked local politics and fresh cut tobacco.  I just need to go…home.

The Boardwalk in Ocean City Maryland.

When this feeling comes over me, I begin to think about how and when I’m going to go.  With whom I’ll stay.  Whether or not I can make a trip to the ocean while I’m there or if I’ll just hang at the Bay.  Who I’ll stop and visit and for how long.  Maybe I can get a trip to the mountains in while we’re there and stop at my grandparents gravesite to maybe “tidy up” a bit.  Or maybe not.  I wonder how to get where I need to be while still managing to avoid the absolute nightmare that is the Capital Beltway.  I know I need to grab a copy of the Washington Post – Sunday Edition and read my favorite comics and talk one of my friends into a crab feast while I’m there.

Steamed Maryland Blue Crabs

My daughter and her family are still there.  My best friend is still there.  My beach is there.  My Bay is there.  The city dock in Annapolis is there.  My football team is there (don’t bust my chops, The Redskins play in Maryland); my baseball team is there (The Orioles).  It’s where I met and fell in love with the hubs and where all my babies were born…all six of them!  My first house is there and my favorite house is there and the only church to which I ever really belonged is there.

One of the oldest Catholic churches in MD (and Maryland has A LOT of Catholic Churches). I love this church.

Of course my time there wasn’t all sunshine and unicorns.  As we all know my upbringing wasn’t exactly Ozzie and Harriet (and if you’re too young to know what that means…Google it).  Could I move back permanently?  I doubt it.  We’ve planted roots here.  It’s a beautiful place to live and I love it.

But 8 hours north (by car) is home and every once in a while…I need to be there.  I need to hug people and wander roads that I’d know in my sleep and see what’s changed and visit old haunts.  Maybe it’s a result of the depression cycle I’m in or maybe it’s just been too long but whatever the reason, I feel a distinct pull to the north.

Now where did I put those ruby slippers…

Namaste

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35 thoughts on “Homesick

  1. I feel the same way,moved to hawaii in 2004 from so. Calif. next to Disneyland,my hubs promised we’d go back every six months.Never happened.My mom passed ,dad remarried,and well its just not the same.I miss the holiday food Sees candy and Honey baked hams.That’s great you can travel by car.

    1. Hmmmm…having been to Hawaii only twice (once to Kona), I might actually be able to make that place work for me!

      I totally understand what you’re saying though. Even paradise isn’t paradise if it’s not home.

      Sherry

      1. Thanks for the reply.I’d get so bummed here at Christmas , no family,no friends,I once asked my hubs to move back to the east coast so we could have a real Xmas tree.haha no crazy in that.I still struggle post ten years moving but it was one of the best things for our family due to my husband’s crazy family and old high school chums.I really enjoy your posts and am really trying to quit the booze it’s not good for me and solves nothing.So on to day 2 again feeling determined.:)

      2. Just keep trying. Took me awhile to get the hang of it. I swore off many times. When you’re ready…it will happen. Day two is phenomenal. Find something to distract you through the five o’clock hour and then hit the sack as early as possible. Sober sleep is AMAZE-BALLS!

        I was in Hawaii once near the holidays – as beautiful as it was, I felt absolutely no Christmas spirit. It was just too warm and tropical!

        Sherry

  2. I understand how you feel. I am a Boston transplant temporarily living in land locked Tennessee. As the Talking Heads said, “How did I get here?”
    I love all things ocean and Boston. I worked for the Red Sox and Bruins for 20 years, I am a die hard Patriots fan. I love New England, snow and all.
    I just went there and went down memory lane with my daughter. It hurts, yet it helps.
    I wish our TN house would sell and we could move North again, back to the ocean, the sea air and the breezes.
    I feel ya!

    1. I’m lucky we’re a little closer to “home” than you are…I mean…8 hours isn’t that big of a deal – unless you’re trying to make it happen in a weekend.

      August may be the first opportunity I have to get back but I feel certain I have to go.

      You can always bury a staute of St. Joseph upside down in your back yard. They actually sell them in Catholic book stores and on Amazon of course. It’s supposed to make your house sell faster.

      I call it Catholic voo-doo but other Catholics swear by it!

      Sherry

      1. OMG, that is so funny. We buried St Joseph about a year ago. we put him upside down, maybe I need to move him right side up. That is funny you suggested it!

      2. I don’t know…I tried upside down, right side up, front yard, back yard and side yard. It wasn’t until I unearthed him and tossed him in the trash that the house sold.

        Go figure…

        Sherry

  3. Have you read any of John Barth? Many of his novels are set in the Chesapeake… It’s where l learned about the area. I don’t think there are many fall photos finer than those from New England. Hope you get a chance to visit again.

    1. I haven’t read John Barth…I’ll have to check him out.

      And I have to disagree about New England…Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is spectacular.

      Thanks for commenting Maggie –
      Sherry

  4. This past weekend, I made the trip “home” to Maryland to visit babies and siblings and parents. Remember how you mentioned visiting family as self-care? I thought about that a lot on the way down and back because the trip really did me good. I’ll get to OCMD this summer if all goes as planned, plus another trip to see the folks and those babies, which are every bit as addictive as sugar and twice as sweet. Oh, but no one will eat crabs with me up here in PA. My husband doesn’t like them and my kids are scared of them, ha! I have to wonder if I shouldn’t just order a dozen sometime and spread the table with newspaper and go to town. We have Old Bay on the spice rack too, of course.

    1. YES! My boys and husband love crabs but they are just too expensive to get here. We need to go home, buy a bushel, steam them and THEN go to town!

      I haven’t seen the ocean (ANY ocean and I’m “only” four hours away) in four years. I think a quick trip to the shore (any shore) would go a long way to making me feel better.

      But a trip home would be MUCH better.

      Enjoy!

      Sherry

      1. We love Ocracoke, NC. It’s remote and relaxing, accessible only by ferry but much more affordable rentals. That was an 8+ hour drive for us, so boy do I get not wanting to make that drive too often.

      2. We’ve done the Outer Banks and honestly, when you’re used to the insanity that is O.C. – it’s hard to be okay with the quiet of those beaches.

        I think our next beach excursion will be to the Wilmington area beaches. My boss has a house there and one of my good friends moved there a couple of years back. I hear it’s gorgeous!

        So many beaches…so little time.

        Sherry

  5. Oh my gosh, what a lovely description! I grew up in Silver Spring (please don’t say Springs) and have lived in Annapolis almost 30 years. I love this state! Mountains to the west, ocean to the right, midway between DC and Baltimore, and all if the Chesapeake Bay to explore by land or boat. My daughter is living in the Midwest right now and is SO homesick for everything you’ve described.

    By the way, we vacation in Topsail Beach on the far southern end of Topsail Island near Wilmington, NC and it’s a special place. The honky tonk boardwalk of OC is fun for a short visit, but I love the serenity of Topsail.

    1. See!!! That’s what everyone says! In fact that’s where my boss’ new home is.

      I promise not to say Silver Springs if you promise to say P.G. County. Everyone running around insisting on “Prince Georges” makes me a little crazy.

      Sherry

      1. Oh, yes, I’m totally with you on Pee Gee County! I lived and worked there (actually in the county Office of Law) during law school so I figure I get a dispensation! I sent your essay to my daughter in Arkansas, who said it made her sob. She needs to come home!

        Topsail is the exact opposite of OC. One stoplight on the whole island, no boardwalk, no nightlife, few shops. But the water is heavenly and collecting sharks teeth becomes addictive.

  6. We drive to the Outer Banks every year, we love Duck. 18 hour drive for us Midwesterners but we stay two weeks and the ocean renews me, I’d love to live nearby. Lake Michigan just doesn’t cut it.Sharon

    1. Oh what bliss a whole two weeks of Ocean must be…I’ve never been for more than a week (except my honeymoon in Hawaii – 16 glorious days). Right now two weeks would be amazing but I’d settle for a day trip at this point.

      Sherry

  7. Love MD! We are in NoVA by Dulles Airport. But it wouldn’t be summer without going to Ocean City when I was younger! And blue crabs and old bay seasoning (and beer, but that’s another story!) Love, love Annapolis and Baltimore! Wow, you sure got me going down the memory lane. Every summer my dad insisted that we go to the Polish festival in Baltimore, I was a teenager and thought it was b.o.r.i.n.g. – funny how those are the fond memories now.

    Dag it, haven’t eaten any crabs in a looong time! Oh thanks for the memories! Hugs.

  8. Hi Sherry!
    I hopped over here from Kristen’s article this morning. I loved your view of home and am so happy you shared it. Even though I’m from the middle of the country, I often feel that same call to the sea and salt. MD is beautiful and I keep Old Bay seasoning in my pantry just to remind of the best crab cakes I’ve ever had while staying in National Harbor. The people there are pretty darned cool, as well 😉

    1. Um…yeah…we are the bomb!!!

      We moved before the Harbor was built so I’ve never set foot on it. When I lived there it was just a place to go and make out…ooops…did I type that out loud. My daughter and her family don’t live far so they are there often and love it. I’m just happy that the PG side of the Potomac finally got some love. 😉

      Thanks for commenting!
      Sherry

      1. Hey…everyone needs a place to go make out, right? Unfortunately, where I’m from we only had an old abandoned airport…which did in a pinch!

        I ran the Marine Corp marathon a few years ago and remember being in the Harbor at that time, too. I also remember seeing a huge bronze (?) statue of a man’s arm rising up out of the ground. I have lots of crazy (but wonderful) memories associated with your state. So glad our paths crossed this morning 🙂

      2. That statue is called “The Awakening” and has been at Haine’s Point for many years. If you looked closer you would have seen his legs and head also. The problem is that it’s so big that it’s hard to get perspective.

        Sherry

      3. Thank you for that info, Sherry!
        I was running so slowly by then (it was mile 18) that I should have seen it all. It was definitely a memorable part of the route.

  9. My heart is in Western Maryland. Grew up in Hancock and graduated from Frostburg before it became a “University” and my home parish is St. Peter’s in Hancock. One of my favorite spots is Point Lookout above the Potomac just outside of Little Orleans. We are blessed with such a beautiful state.

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