I’m currently in Littleton, New Hampshire.
This place reminds me of Alaska. I guess it should… New Hampshire and the southern part of Alaska occupy a similar latitude. Littleton reminds me of Eagle River, the town I lived in during those carefree Alaska years. I remember Eagle River as having a real homey feel to it, which is odd because the town was growing so quickly. In fact, it was billed as the fastest growing city in America when I lived there (1982-1985).
But there were a lot of constants: playing Donkey Kong at the laundromat, trying to eat a whole steak at the Northern Lights steak house (they gave you a sticker that said “I ATE THE WHOLE THING!” if you did; funny what you’ll do for a sticker when you’re 10 years old), watching the houses go up all over town. We used to sneak into the under-construction houses and steal sugar cubes the workers would leave there for their coffee. Yum.
I wonder what it looks like today, what my old neighborhood is like. Does that long sloping driveway still go down to 2403 Teklankia? Does it still flood every spring when the snow melts? Are there still fish in the creek behind the house? It’s sad that those years played such an influential part in my adolecence, and yet I haven’t kept in touch with anyone. I wanted to. I started to, but over time things like high school, teenage angst, and life in general get in the way. The relationships wither away and die the death of a hundred letters and phone calls never quite made.
In any case, the graduation ceremony was yesterday. It was a real small-town affair. Stephanie went to a private high school called “The White Mountain School”. Total student population: about 85. Her graduating class had just over twenty people in it. The graduation was held at the Littleton Opera House. I cracked up when they told me that. Can you imagine a town of 5,500 people having its own opera house? I sing at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with Opera Pacific all the time; now that is an opera house. It seats 3,000. This place probably sat 300.
It was a beautiful building, built early 1800’s and restored about ten years ago. But it’s far from a serious performing arts facility. I’ve never seen a real theatre that had a half dozen large windows streaming light into the performance space. And the stage was no more than 20 feet wide. I asked my family if any opera was ever performed there. They looked at me like I was crazy.
Anyway. Today we went horseback riding with Stephanie. She has been riding since she was nine, and now has four horses. Only two of them are rideable, so she took the mustang while I rode Sugar, a quarterhorse with a mind of its own. By the end Megan was pretty banged up from having to sit on the back of the horse; she was essentially sitting on the base of it’s backbone which was surprisingly sharp and bony. We both fell off once due to a loose saddle. Megan got bumped off a second time when Sugar tried to run us into a tree. But we had a great time going through the countryside. As usual, I forgot my camera.
In the fall Stephanie will be going to a college in Virginia to study equine business and other horse-releated things. It sounds pretty cool, she will even be taking one of her horses to college. I’ve never seen her at a show yet, but Steph was recently out west to compete with her newest horse at Del Mar.