Posted by: chptr37 | 04/13/2009

Pg. 12: Pennsylvania to New York


My ‘baby’ sis (I have 15 years on her), my ‘little bro’ (I have 20 years on him and, despite his crouch in this photo, he has nearly a foot on both of us) and me. Yes, we spend a lot of time laughing.


  • Miles Today: 316
  • Miles Total: 4907
  • From/To: Wilkes-Barre, PA to Ithaca, NY
  • Slept: On an air mattress that leaked slowly all night long. My butt is the biggest part of me, apparently, as I woke up with it resting on the floor.
  • Soundtrack: The gaggle of giggles that occurs when my siblings and I are together.
  • Worst Thing: Internet? What Internet? -dies of withdrawal and it’s only day one-
  • Best Thing: Being home
  • Quote of the Day: “What is that creature?” Said by me upon seeing my “baby” brother for the first time in nearly three years. He’s grown at least a foot, lost all of his baby fat and gained a semi-adult personality.  I wouldn’t have recognized him if I walked by him on the street.


“What’s ya’ address deah?”
“What’s the address on that?”
“Where you from?”
“And your zip code is?”

As many times as I rented hotel rooms and wrote down my address for various reasons on this trip, I found myself often thinking of ‘home’. I was never sure which address to give… the one I’d come from? The one I was going to in NY, which was my childhood address? The one that I’d call home for the next six months overseas? Where was my home now that I lived in a traveling and constantly moving vehicle? Even as I was writing cards to friends and colleagues, to mentors and teachers and students—saying goodbye, saying thank you, saying I’ll miss you, saying goodbye—I found myself stumbling over the return addresses. Finally, I settled on one that seemed right:

Homeless Girl
On Her Way
To the U.K.

Of course, if they don’t get where they’re going, the cards will never make their way back to me with that kind of return address. But then again, where would ‘back to me’ be by then anyway? My sister suggested using my car’s license plate as my mailing address, which seems appropriate somehow, but not likely to land me any good mail in the future.


Country roads, take us home. Truly, it just feels amazing to be out of the car.

Right now, home means a lot of laughter. My family is that raucous kind of collective full of secret languages (does anyone else laugh as hard as we do when we use ‘martyr’ as a verb, as in “I don’t martyr’ and ‘Tell him to stop martyring”?), inside jokes (Grasshoppah! and “Your room is really shiny”) and a competitive, tickling, poking, punching (not usually on purpose) kind of spirit. Home means great food. It means Internet is an endangered species. It means cats meowing for attention and kneading their claws into both my leg and my air mattress. Long walks on which I drag the entire family down the road (yelling, “the world is my crosswalk), full on into the onslaught of tractors, cows, the smell of manure and early spring daffodils. Laughing hysterically with my sister (who, yes, may be younger and cuter and nicer than I am, but who is not taller than me. Small favors). Getting shot with a nerf gun by my brother who I used to swing by his feet and make him puke up chocolate and who now suddenly towers over me and and talks about real-life issues, analyzes Lost plots and no longer jumps around like a complete spaz. It also means spending a rare bit of time with my parents, who don’t seem to have aged this time around, but who are the eternal constants that we all revolve around, each of our orbits entirely different, but someone all meeting together at the same time without exploding into anything beyond laughter.

This, for now, is home.

Smooth and slow, s.


The new CD cover for The Coat Quartet (Yes, it’s another inside joke). Of course, I’m always going the opposite way of the crowd. Also, often looking rather lost. Maybe it’s the lack of Internet.


“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” ~Robert Frost



  1. I don’t know. She looks taller to me.

    *running away, running away*

    ; )

  2. OMG – there’s a tractor behind you!!! Move… move.. awww crap … we have an add…

    Sorry.. couldn’t resist.

    My parent’s live up in the sticks here in WI. They too have no internet and when I go to visit I get a bit techy about Sunday.

    What I really want to know is: Did you get any petrified rice?!?!


    ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Sometimes I don’t know if I am truly ”home” either.

  4. Glad to see you made it – and there must be internet somewhere – or this wouldn’t have been posted. Enjoy the “vacation” from the wired world. It’s a chance to “reboot.”

  5. Your sister is totally not cuter than you. Now way.

    When we lived in Wales, we used a friend’s address for US mail-type stuff. For the official “change of address,” magazine subs, that sort of thing. Once a month or so, the friend would package it all up and ship it to us.

  6. Feels good to get out of the car, doesn’t it? And I’m glad ya made it home darlin’, even if ya can’t get your fix of internets. And I’m with Nikki on this one, she’s totally taller than you.

  7. Truth be told, I only have two things to say:

    I scarcely believe the words coming out of my fingertips, but I agree with the first two sentences of Dak’s.

    Secondly, I’m just glad you managed to escape the City of Dis that took the form of Pennsylvania.

  8. Hell hath indeed frozen over when you have the 3 of us agreeing….

    Btw, your home looks like my home… only with more pavement, less cotton.

    See the Great Punkin has returned though *grins*

  9. Welcome back to your home away from home Shanna!

    (P.S. I almost wrote home as “hoe” which might have stirred the wrong emotions)

  10. -would respond to everyone, but has a five-minute window of Internet at the moment so will just wave and say hi and thanks and “Just wait, Nik!”-

  11. -squishes her sister’s head and yells, “She is not!”-

  12. are you wearing your Texas dress on top of your jeans in these pictures?
    Thinking of you with envy and happy thoughts……heading out for the big show tomorrow. I might even snap my gum for fun!

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