A workshop I needed to go to for my yoga teacher training cancelled last minute yesterday, leaving me with a gloriously-free afternoon. I took the moment of unadulterated free time to drive all the way down to the South Shore and just reconnect with some people.
While I was born in Boston, I was raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts, home to Abigail Adams and George Jung (which, really, sums up that town pretty accurately). I've been slowly trekking up north ever since, from Boston, to the North Shore, to Nashua, and now to the Manchester area. With my friends slowly moving out of the area, I only go down to the South Shore on occasion, and that's usually directly to my parents' house. Today, I drove to the one place I considered Mecca as a whiney pubescent kid: the mall.
The South Shore Plaza used to be this simple, no-fuss, concrete building. When I was around 10, they completely overhauled it, adding in more modern touches, like a food court and glass-walled entryway. Aside from a quick shopping trip in 2011, I really haven't been back to the area.
I might as well have been in a completely different town. The mall had expanded again, with most of the stores I knew well long gone, replaced by glitzier storefronts (ever been outside a Love Culture? If you thought Forever 21 was gaudy...). The hotel and movie theatre across the way was a completely different area; the Sheraton was torn down and replaced by a Hyatt, a shopping plaza was built from the ground up. To the side of the mall was a whole new set of buildings, again with enough flash and light to give anyone a headache.
I'll always have love for the South Shore. There are few things that can really match up with a walk on Nantasket Beach or a drive through Hingham. The coffee at the Dunkies by my old high school will always taste just a little more like home than the Dunkies anywhere else. But it's important to recognize the difference between a home base and a jumping point. The South Shore was a jumping point. The same way Weymouth High was a jumping point. The same way Northeastern University was a jumping point. Or Nashua, NH. All places that have such a huge place in my heart, but are not home anymore. And to pretend like they are is to reverse my forward momentum.
That being said, it was still a blast to catch up with old friends. We enjoyed a Brazilian Steakhouse that opened up along the side of the mall (and you haven't truly stuffed your face until you've stuffed face as a Brazilian Steakhouse) and went across the ways to get Ben & Jerry's at the new shopping plaza. And, after we said our goodbyes, my husband and I got into our car and took the hour-and-a-half drive up, past my hometown, past Boston, over the NH border, and into home.