We’re Walking to New Orleans (Well, Driving, Really)

To borrow from the great Fats Domino, we’re walking to New Orleans.

That is, if walking consists of driving a red Jeep Cherokee that is already loaded to the gills before Aidan has put in all of his clothes.

He’s planning to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to put the finishing touches/cram everything in whatever space remains.

You get the idea.

Suffice it to say that my trip West to Stanford in September 1983 was just a tad different.

If memory serves, I had a large suitcase, a pair of middle-aged anatomically correct dolls Mom had just bought for me, and a poem she wrote entitled, “For Jeffrey Who Made Me A Mother.”

Mom signed the poem with her name, Alice Adelman Lowenstein, and then put in parenthesis the words, “your mother,” in case I had forgotten.

These are my memories of my experience.

But now, of course, it is Aidan’s time.

I’ve talked with others who have gone before me, and they confirm my feelings of time moving impossibly fast, of Aidan’s childhood and mine all having gone by in a blink,  and of being firmly entrenched in the middle of my life.

On Sunday, Dunreith and I will say goodbye to Aidan, tell him we love him and make the return trip home to Evanston.

For the first time in our married life, it will be just us in the house.  We will be empty nesters.

I don’t know what that will be like, and I do know that I feel fortunate that we’ve had the time that we have, with the first stage of Memphis tomorrow.

The walk starts in six hours.


5 responses to “We’re Walking to New Orleans (Well, Driving, Really)

  1. Good luck! A landmark of life. A time when you will with particular intensity see what has been, imagine what will come, and be able to touch only what is present. You have been and will be a wonderful family. (Sorry for my confusion in my note yesterday–I thought it was last weekend you were going to N.O.) “Anatomically correct dolls”?

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Dave, for your typically thoughtful comments. I’ll fill you in on the doll later.

      Love from our crew to yours.


  2. When Fats sang Walking to New Orleans , he meant he was walking to a place he called home, a place he loved, and, ironically, it was a song of separation. Aiden’s leaving the home he loves. I cant think of a more welcoming place for him to be than New Orleans.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Good point, PT.

      I hadn’t thought about it that way, and you make a typically insightful contribution about your adopted home!

      Let’s talk soon.



  3. Alice Lowenstein

    Dear Jeff,

    I can’t remember preparing things for you to take to college. All I remember is how, now that you were at college, I would never see you again. It’s amazing how wrong we can be, especially when we are so sure because of strong emotions. Now Aidan is leaving your home to begin to create life for himself. It’s very exciting. All I know is that it’s also sad. A whole stage of life has finished for everyone. I know that when I begin a new stage, to get fully into the new stage, I have to feel my grief.

    God knows how much money I’ve spend in therapy learning how to feel what is already in my body. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I cannot really feel joy unless I feel grief before it. Aidan leaving with both of his parents on a journey to college is happy. What I am very sure about is that he had the habits of learning, of knowing how to master what he wants to learn. I also know he is confident in his learning from all the success he’s had before.

    Since he lives away from me. Every time I see him, I see how he has changed. This is no different. So I can celebrate all of you for a life well lived. I know that the energy out of which you created this past stage will carry you forward.


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