The northeast leg of our trip was fast and packed. We spent 4 days traveling from West Chester, PA, to Queens, NYC, Providence, RI, Northampton and Albany, NY.
West Chester was a surprise—both in the story and the trip there. When the survivor originally emailed LBP, most of the road trip had already been planned and it didn’t look like it was going to be possible for us to squeeze it in, but we worked it out and I am so glad we did! Her story was one of those stories that is both heartbreaking and incredibly inspiring all at once. It is a family response that taps into the kind of commitment, courage and love that many of us long for. I feel honored to have gotten to record it with the storyteller and her mother through laughter and tears.
New York City was warm and full. It was time with old friends and catching up and stories and headlines. It was Friendly’s milkshakes and tea at small tables with big love and lively conversations. It was traffic and traffic and more traffic; bridges and tolls and delicious food. It was driving on the L.I.E. and familiar sights and sounds. It was quick and abundant, reminding me of how much I will always love New York and how it has left its imprints on me as a child and youth.
Rhode Island was all new leaves in greens and reds, and trees growing out of rocky earth lining the highway. It was hot and humid by the time we reached Providence and the blue water sparkled in the sun. I met a storyteller there who shared about growing up with her survivor mother. We were both “children of the movement” and her story made me reflect on my own story and the similar themes many of us share who were raised by activists.
Northampton was lush, rich greens mixing with colorful blooms. It was survivor spiritual stories stretching into the complexities of love and understanding. It was deep, dark shadows from tall, old trees and roads winding through the countryside. It was a quick stop on our trip, lasting only 3 hours, but reminding me of my days doing reproductive justice work and traveling there each year for conferences and convenings.
Albany and Troy (a neighboring city) was cool, light breezes in the afternoon sun and belly laughs, wide smiles and frequent hugs. It was survivor love and care, and stories about family, healing, rage and learning. It was loud talking and laughter in kitchens while foods from our childhoods were being made. It was making new connections and deepening preexisting ones. It was remembering and dreaming, letting go and welcoming. It was sharing about each other’s work and making plans for the future. It was the last stop in the northeast before we left for the Midwest and it was the perfect way to say goodbye and hello.