It has been about a month since I've had any head-on interaction with Bristol-Warren Patch, and to tell you the truth, it's killing me a little. Which is why I’m glad Patch has a platform that enables me to blog and stay involved even though I no longer have any affiliation.
While I’m enjoying my new position as the Marketing Director for a national company in Cranston and love devoting my free time to my own social media and marketing consulting business, I have a really hard time letting go of Bristol-Warren Patch. And if you read my goodbye letter, you’ll understand why.
This community became my life. I watched so many things happen in Bristol and Warren in two years. I met so many amazing people with so many incredible stories, talents, interests and passions. And even though I’ve lived in Bristol my whole life, went through the public school system and even attended Roger Williams University, I never felt like I was more at home than I have in the last couple of years.
So moving on to a new job, in a new town with the Rhode Island mentality that I’ll likely need an overnight bag to travel to Cranston for work, was a very scary thought for me. But, like everything else, you learn to get comfortable and turn it into your home away from home as best you can.
But driving back into town on Friday after work thinking about all of the things I had left undone at the office (and after sitting through an outrageous amount traffic on I95 and 195 and even 136), I crossed the Swansea/Warren line and an instant wave of relief and comfort washed over me. I was home.
While I crawled at the pace of the traffic, I saw the new construction on RISSCO Fabrication and remembered the day our firefighters worked tirelessly for hours when the blaze broke out in the building last August. A little further down the road, I caught a glimpse of the graduation sign posted in front of Fatima High School and thought about the class of 2012, the last class to ever graduate from our only local private high school.
I kept driving and passed Iggy’s and thought about when Tropical Storm Irene hit our community. I remembered sitting in my car in the parking lot, running low on steam and computer battery, posting a story to let the community know that it was one of the only gas stations in the area that hadn’t run out of fuel by day two of the power outage.
I continued on my way following the Arlington Avenue bend to Metacom where I tried to remember what the old corner Shell Station looked like when I was a kid. I looked at the empty lot across the street and frowned to myself, wishing I had taken a second to snap a photo while Ferrazzano’s Flowers still stood so I could show my kids what a piece of the community looked like when I was growing up.
I drove by Burger King and thought about the fight that Warren resident David Silvia has been fighting since before I started my career with Patch, begging for the town and business owners to keep the sidewalks clear after a snowstorm. Then I looked off to the right and wondered why the old convenience store and Brother’s Pizza are still vacant storefronts.
Moments later I pulled into the Valero gas station and stopped the car to get gas at the new digital pump that took months to put in after a man crashed his vehicle into the old one. As I filled my tank to prepare for next week’s commute to work, I looked at the construction on the old Tuscan Tavern and wondered whether or not “Fat Bellies” will really be a good addition to our community.
I got back in my car and drove past Beasties Pet Supply where a woman was picking her dog up from the new doggie daycare and passed Dunkin’ Donuts where Mr. Potato Head waved from the front of the building. Just as I crossed the Bristol/Warren line, I snapped out of my reminiscent trance and flipped my turn signal on and headed down the road to where I live.
Before Friday, I hadn’t really thought about it, but in just a few miles of driving I realized that no matter how far you go or where you work, or even where you live in some cases, you never forget the people, the places or the memories that make you call your community “home”.