There’s no better place in the world than Buffalo, NY.
Okay, that’s a complete lie, but there is something quaint about it.
I visited Buffalo this past weekend to see my mom’s idyllic hometown, East Aurora, which I’d only ever heard about in stories. It was exactly as she described, and so little had changed in 50 years: cute shops, a Main Street that caters to bikes, children running around and everyone just generally feeling safe. It was like I’d stepped into a Beverly Cleary novel.
I also met some distant cousins I had no idea existed: nieces of my grandmother’s, and one of their sons. I think, if I’m not mistaken, that makes the ladies first cousins once removed and the guy a second cousin, but I don’t know anything other than that I could legally marry any of them and our kids probably wouldn’t end up super deformed. Which is good news, because my second cousin is 22 and super cute. What? Don’t judge.
It was wonderful bonding with my family, and also seeing my brother, who normally lives in Philadelphia. I do feel like I’m getting just a hair closer with all of them, and that feels good. Especially because when you’re not feeling 100%, there’s nothing like having family around to restore your spirits and remind you that you’re awesome. And life is short, so you’ve gotta love on your family while you can.
My grandmother is going downhill mentally, but it’s clearly been a wonderful experience for her to see her old town and some of her old friends. She may not be able to understand us every time what kind of pizza she wants (she just smiles at us blankly), but she does remember Vidler’s 5 & 10, and that’s a win in my book. Even if she did buy a child’s sheriff hat there and elect to wear it around all day.