Yeah, You Kinda-Sorta Can Go Home Again: Tacoma Tribute Edition

I’m not sure I believe in reincarnation, but I do believe in past lives. I have several, and I like to keep in touch with them. After all, to misuse Faulker’s famous line, the past isn’t even past.

This past weekend The Mate and I headed down to Tacoma, where I had scheduled a reading of The Flying Burgowski at King’s Bookstore. Tacoma is also where we moved in 1990, became Northwesterners for good, raised our kids, and spent the bulk of our professional careers.


Although we moved away four years ago when our youngest graduated from high school and The Mate retired, Tacoma is our most recent and vibrant past life. And I do mean VIBRANT.

Need an example? Here’s a shot of said high school from which our boys graduated:

I KNOW, right?!

I KNOW, right?!

Tacoma also has its very own zoo and aquarium, at Pt. Defiance, which just happens to be within walking distance of our old house. Seattle’s zoo and aquarium might be bigger and snazzier, but OURS has a walrus (actually 3 at this moment). A WALRUS. ‘Nuff said.

(orig. image courtesy Partner Pages)

(orig. image courtesy Partner Pages)

I could go on indefinitely with this Tacoma boosterism: the Bridge of Glass (where I used to stop with my students on our History Museum field trips); the Antique Sandwich Company, which serves killer espresso cheesecake, lets you sit all day on their mismatched furniture, grading essays and drinking tea, and is working on its 50th anniversary; Pt. Defiance Park with its giant firs and twittering eagles, right there in the ‘burbs.


But what really draws me back to my latest past life is people.

Despite having moved away four years ago, I still see…

…my same dentist. He’s from Iran, and he gives me tea, even though we both know it stains my teeth. I ADORE my dentist. My favorite hygienist is from the Philippines; we compare notes on our boys. I adore her too. I actually look forward to my dentist appointments like little reunions!

…my same doctor, for annual physicals. He’s a distance runner like me, and doesn’t get freaked out by my resting pulse of 40. I even forgive him for making me do things like get colonoscopies and mammograms.

…my same book club (now starting its 15th year). True, I only make about half the meetings now, and I’ve even skyped in, but I read the books even when I can’t make it off the island. Brownie points!

…my same musical potluck group of former neighbors & forever friends, affectionately known as the WingSing. (Come @ 5 to sing, @6 to eat…except these days it’s pretty much a free-for-all since we only see each other quarterly instead of monthly as we used to.)

I know that someday I will start seeing a dentist and a doctor on Lopez Island. I already have friends there to discuss books with and sing and potluck with, and I suppose it’s possible that someday I will stop leaving the island to discuss books and sing and potluck.

But no time real soon!

Our previous Past Life, in North Carolina, is also still very much with us, and the focus of our annual Cross-Country ACC Basketball (and BBQ) Pilgrimage. But Tacoma, bless its aromatic little heart, is a little easier to get to.

How about you? How many places do you count as really having LIVED there? How well–or how–do you stay in touch? Is it the place, the people…or both?

8 thoughts on “Yeah, You Kinda-Sorta Can Go Home Again: Tacoma Tribute Edition

  1. A pulse of 40!!! That’s awesome! At best I’m just under 60, but I DON’T have the high blood pressure that plagues the rest of my family. Do you still run a lot? I’m off this summer to heal up totally from some killer tendonitis, but I have a 1,000 mile bike challenge going on with a few friends–which I’m leading handily, hee, hee. Figured if I have to cross train, I’d make it fun. 🙂

  2. Michelle, yeah, I have been planning to respond to your blog about your bike challenge, but hey, I guess I’m doing it this way! Injuries are such a downer, so I’m really proud of you for finding a way to turn that frown upside down and make cross-training positive. I’d ride some with you if I were a couple thousand miles east!
    I do still run, but these days only 2-3 times/week. When I can, I ride my bike to work, which is 11 miles each way, and sometimes after my early-morning baking shifts, a power walk is more appealing than a run. My new mantra is “a mile’s a mile,” meaning, it really doesn’t matter how fast you go as long as you GO. Some sports just take longer. Of course, I’m not racing any more–that mantra doesn’t apply for real training.
    I’m also lucky that my injuries have been more in the category of muscle tears, not tendonitis, which takes forever to heal. Luckily you’re young, so you should heal faster. Hang in there!

    • “A mile’s a mile.” Exactly! I’ve been doing a lot of walking the last three years because of this stupid recurring tendonitis. Last year, though, it disappeared and I had a ball running with my daughter who was training for her first year of high school cross country–not that I could keep up with her. But one stupid softball game and I pulled both hamstrings and aggravated it again. (I can’t not play all-out so I just need to not play at all anymore!) So, yeah, I’m not racing anymore either, just doing what I can to stay active. Hopefully this tendonitis will heal up, because there’s a huge annual 25K/10K/5K run in my town which I’d love to participate in again. I doubt I’ll do the big one anymore, but I could still run the middle distance. 🙂

  3. Again, my twin!

    Some of my past lives have been in places with names like Florida Bay (in the Everglades); Moqui Lodge (at the Grand Canyon), Old Faithful and tiny Gardiner, Montana (while we were at Yellowstone), and in little Dexter, Oregon, out in the woods….

    Those places have given me so much, and, one day, I hope to go back to them, with the man who made them even more magical, and the kids (Montana Boy and Upstate New York Like Her Mama Girl) to show them what we can of those other lives.

    And that school – I think all kids ought to be able to go to a school like that, if they go to school. What a soaring and beautiful building! =)

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