|Davis, Adam and Braeden (Braeden's friends had his dad's name...)|
We drove toward New Haven and stopped at the Eli Whitney Water Park which used to be a highlight in Braeden's life.
He marveled at the waterworks toys which he vaguely remembered.
|I could be wrong but I don't think the tree branches brushed the top of his head back then...|
I had him throw a rock in the water for old time's sake because it used to be his favorite way to pass an afternoon. (I know, you can be glad I'm not your mom making you throw commemorative rocks into bodies of water.)
As for Emma, (the little Connecticut Yankee that was born in the Constitution State but didn't remember it a bit), she felt like her soul had returned home. She loved Connecticut. She tramped off into the woods by herself. (I told her, "Don't get Lyme Disease!" because I like to give helpful advice to my kids.)
Our next stop was our apartment building on Prospect Street. We showed Braeden the window that had been his bedroom. This was one way Braeden and I used to like to pass the time. There was a lot of world going on outside the window.
Also, this happened inside that apartment:
And about a million other happy things. How could we not love the place?
We stopped by the church building where we used to meet. It's been renovated and rather than just the two bottom floors, the entire building is now used by the church. I almost got teary when we were there but I was very brave and held it in. Inside that building I made lifelong friends. I was buoyed by a community that held me up when I was sick and far from home. Emma was blessed there. It was a good place; kind of the centerpiece of our lives for awhile there.
Here's a picture I dug up of some cherubs at the church for a Halloween party:
|Taylor, Adam, Davis and Braeden|
We used to go often to survey the city, count church steeples, gaze out at the Long Island Sound. It was one of our Places.
It was lunchtime so we did what you have to do in New Haven and had apizza. It's probably one of the best things that's ever happened to me.
We went to Pepe's. Because Pepe's. We ordered three large pies. The waitress looked a little taken back but didn't say a word. Here's the crown jewel (in my opinion), the Margherita:
We also got the clam (because you have to):
And a pepperoni (because Mark):
It was an emotional experience for some of us:
It's that good.
Adam asked Emma how she thought it compared to Elliott Bay, which was the far and away winner in our pizza challenge a few summers ago.
Emma said, "This kicks the crap out of Elliott Bay."
Spoken like a true New Haven native.
Here are Adam and the boys watching the amazing brick oven where the magic happens.
And here's Frank Pepe himself. I want that picture in my own house. I think I love that guy.
From there we went on an official Yale tour which I had never done. Emma was completely enamored by it and thinks she'd like to go to Yale.
I told her not to make college decisions based on architecture.
Adam said, "I'm sure you could get in."
I said, "Maybe for graduate school." (What have I done showing my daughter Yale University which as it happens is on the other side of the country?!?)
The architecture is pretty amazing though...
Braeden had a less ambitious takeaway from the tour. He said, "When we toured BYU, I thought, 'I want to go here!' Touring Yale, I think, 'So, this is where the smart kids go...'" That's my boy.
A highlight of the tour was the Sterling Library which was always one of Adam's favorite haunts for studying:
He liked showing them where he used to drink deeply from all that Yale knowledge.
Here's Mark, rubbing the statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey for luck. His toe is discolored because of the tradition but I don't know, maybe he doesn't mind?
We swung by the New Haven Cemetery briefly. This gate always seems very forbidding and grim to me. I mean, the dead shall be raised, but this seems like a threat somehow.
Our last stop was the Yale Bowl. We love telling our kids the story of the time we went to the Yale/Harvard football game there. It was quite the culture shock. People were wearing furs and tweed and tailgating on tables with linens and fancy dishes. There were limos everywhere. We felt sheepish in our sweatshirts and jeans.
I took a selfie with the bulldog statue:
He had a very earnest and wise face.
Thank you New Haven. Thanks for the memories, the good education (for both Adam, the graduate student and me, the young mother), thanks for the friends.
Thanks for Pepe's.