Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where It All Began

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." ~Confucius

Turns out, you can go home again. And in doing so, you can introduce your child to a part of her past that she was too young to remember. All through the magic of Groupon. Well, we didn’t exactly need Groupon to take Peanut back to the town where we lived for the first 15 months of her life. (And for nine years of our relationship.) But it did give us a good excuse when an offer for our favorite restaurant in Hoboken popped up in my inbox. So I pounced.

That Groupon, however, sat printed in my mail bin for months, and was about to expire. So I came up with the idea to take the Peanut there one weekend. Retrace some of her roots. And some of ours.

As we talked about it one night at dinner My Director asked Peanut if she knew what Hoboken was. "That's where I got born," she said. (Technically, she was born at a hospital in NYC, but close enough.)

This restaurant is nothing fancy. It serves mostly bar food on its lunch menu. It turns into a more sophisticated yet still low-key Italian place for dinner. We fell in love with the atmosphere, though. It was laid back, and served good food. A place where we could get drunk, feed a hangover, or celebrate with a nice meal. A lot of our family history has played out in this restaurant. The night we got engaged, Peanut’s Baptism, dinners with our parents. We always seemed to end up there.

This was also the place we were partying with friends when we received that horrible phone call about my dad. But all of the memories are fond ones, for even on that night we were celebrating something: a rare Jets playoff victory. On this day more than nine years later, we shared the fried calamari like we always used to. Peanut had a pizza:

A Sinatra song began to play. Then another. Summer Wind, followed by Moon River. Peanut said, “It sounds like you singing, daddy.” She’s too kind, but that’s a compliment I’ll take. Then I told her that Sinatra is my dad's favorite. All of those memories of this place coming full circle in one tiny observation by my four year-old.

After lunch, we drove around town to see what’s changed, and what hasn’t. There’s a perpetual line of people waiting outside of Carlo’s Bakery now, because the man who made Peanut’s Baptism cake is now more famously known as “The Cake Boss.” I think it’s kind of silly to wait an hour in the cold for a cannoli. There’s so much more to Hoboken that that.

Peanut's tiramisu cake from Carlo's
We made one last stop at the park. This is where we took her on her first walk, her first time out of the house. The same park where she rode a swing for the first time. The one right next to our old condo. Her first home.

March 2007: Her 1st walk (we're all very tired.)
2012: Same park (I'm wearing the same hat too)
It was cold, and we had to get Peanut to a haircut appointment. So we headed back to the swagger wagon, which I parallel parked expertly... twice. (I still got it.) As we drove away, we said goodbye to our old home. Again. "I like Hoboken," Peanut said. "I want to live here again." Then we reminded her that if we lived here, we wouldn't have a backyard. That changed her mind quickly. "Can we come back and visit then?"

We thought about it. And found the perfect occasion to return. (And maybe make a tradition out of it.) Next time we'll take Luna. She was born there too, after all. And we'll do it on Luna's birthday in June. (You can be sure there will be a blog post about it.)

Perfect. See? You can go home again. With or without a Groupon.

The last post I wrote before Peanut was born is an ode to our favorite Hoboken tradition, which was cancelled this year due to the persistent bad behavior of hooligans and amateurs. (Some great shots of us in this one, pre-parenthood.)

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I spent the first year of our marriage living there... We loved it! It's a great town.


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