Ever since 1960-that’s most of my lifetime-my father’s relatives have been having what they call a family reunion each year in Hilldale, in northeastern Pennsylvania. Starting from around the fourth or fifth year it’s always been on the weekend nearest Independence Day. Anyone who knows the first thing about northeastern Pennsylvania knows that it’s quite a mountainous region. One day, at a reunion in the late 1980’s, when I was either twenty seven or twenty eight years old, some cousins of mine and I got together and took a long walk through the nearby mountains. They wanted to pick blueberries. The mountains in that region are very steep and isolated and they have lots of bugs and rodents to contend with. Eventually my cousins all finished what they were doing and went back to the house. I, however, got the idea to keep walking through the mountains alone. Because I’ve never been even the least bit familiar with those mountains I eventually lost all track of where I was and couldn’t even try to backtrack to where we’d started out. Because I’ve always, throughout my adult life, been prone to anxiety, it was an exceptionally frustrating experience for me. Nothing eventful, either scary or interesting, happened while I was in the mountains. It was just a rotten time. Eventually I ended up on a road that led back to someplace in one of the local towns. I wandered over to a neighborhood and asked an old couple there how I could get to Chamberlain Street. They said, shocked half to death: “Chamberlain Street!?!? That’s way the hell over in Hilldale!!!” and explained to me that I was in Miners Mills, about a four mile walk from where I wanted to be. I kept walking endlessly and pointlessly in the hope of figuring out what to do. After a while the sun went down. Eventually a truck pulled up toward me from the distance and the driver yelled out: “Hey Larry I’m your cousin Danny’s friend Jonny!!”. Jon drove me back to Danny’s house and my parents, and all the other relatives, proceeded to pounce on me over what a stupid stunt I had pulled. To this very day it’s still quite a significant topic of conversation.
13 thoughts on “no direction home, a complete unknown”
Picking blueberries in the mountains sounds idyllic!
O yes it was quite a nice experience