The homecoming

Returned to my roots yesterday, doing a Sweetness talk and signing at the Mahopac Public Library—probably, oh, one mile from my childhood home.

I’m 39-years old … haven’t lived regularly in Mahopac in 21 years. Yet it remains a very important place to me. First, because I happen to be extremely nostalgic. But also because, well, in Mahopac I see much of my life path. Riding bikes up Kings Ridge. Sledding down Emerald Lane. Max the dog from across the street, showing up at our door for crackers. Hitting tennis balls over the house with a baseball bat. Night tag in Gary Miller’s yard. Sitting on Mr. Gargano’s couch and watching the Mets. Mahopac is the place where Jon Powell introduced me to Run DMC; the place where I had crushes on Melissa Fiore and Michele Sheehan and Teresa McClure; the place where I (slowly) developed into a man. I probably ran around Lake Mahopac 200 times. I could still do the walk from Emerald Lane to Rodak’s Deli blindfolded. The smells … the sounds … the tastes. Still fresh. Still vivid.

So standing there yesterday, looking out upon an audience that included Mr. Gargano and Mrs. DiGioia and classmates and peers and aspiring scribes … very emotional. Sitting in the front row was Mike, a sportswriter for the Chieftain, Mahopac High’s student newspaper. Twenty years ago, that was me. I would have been there, anxious to hear the ramblings of someone lucky enough to cover sports for a living.

Now I’m the lucky one.