Tuesday, August 21: Today I drive Sarah back to Richmond since she has to work, and then I head another hour right on down the road to Yorktown to meet two of my oldest and dearest high school friends for dinner.
Yorktown is my hometown in the Tidewater area of Virginia. It’s about 3 hours southeast of where I live in northern Virginia. Louise and Charlene are two of our group of 4 high school friends; we jokingly called ourselves the Fearsome Foursome. We have remained fast friends to this day and have followed each others’ lives throughout 40 years!
We meet at Riverwalk, a restaurant overlooking the York River. We sit down outdoors under an awning, but it starts sprinkling the minute we sit down. Raindrops start falling on our heads because the awning is not waterproof. So we move inside, where we shiver and freeze under air conditioning set to sub-zero temperatures!
No matter. We have fun catching up with each other, as if a year hadn’t passed between our last meeting. The food is mediocre at best, but the wine makes it palatable. Louise tells about her son Larry who is now serving in Korea. Charlene talks about her grandchildren. We talk about people we have known our whole lives and then about Charlene’s work, Louise’s retirement, and my time in Oman. After dinner, we take a walk along the river, talking and strolling and admiring the York River, the beach and the George P. Coleman Bridge.
The George P. Coleman Bridge is a 3,750-foot-long double-swing-span bridge built in 1952 with 2 lanes, connecting York and Gloucester Counties. For two years ending in 1996, it was widened to 4 lanes. The bridge has movable spans which allows ships to go upriver to military installations including the Naval Weapons Station and Camp Peary. The bridge was named after George P. Coleman, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Highways from 1913 to 1922.
We grew up in this place. We sunbathed on the sandy strip of beach, we ate at the Yorktown Pub, we sipped on limeades from the drugstore that is no longer in existence. We celebrated birthdays and graduations at Nick’s Seafood Pavilion, which was ruined in the last hurricane and then demolished. We flirted with boys, slathered on coconut oil, frisked about in the water. We hopped on friends’ motorboats or motorcycles when they dropped by the beach and cruised on the river or on the roads through the little historic town of Yorktown. We have memories of this place, and even though it’s changed more than we believe it should have, we can walk along and recognize enough to reminisce.
It’s always a great thing to spend time with long-time friends, people who will be in your life until the day you die…. 🙂