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COLUMN: Home Is Where The Heart Is


The following is a column submitted by WestfordCAT Intern Kyra Kruger. To submit your own content, e-mail asylvia@weestfordcat.org

Home is where the heart is.  We all know this well-worn, clichéd phrase.  But like most clichés, it rings with a tone of truth.  I believe that for most people home is not just one place, but includes all of the different directions their heart pulls them in.

Home is each person who has dug their way inside of me and taken root.

For me, home is Villanova: where I have started a new life. But home is also New York City: the place my heart most longs to be. And of course, home is Westford: the town that watered my roots and watched me grow.

Part of my heart will always be in Westford.  So, when my boyfriend Peter came to visit this past week, it was important to me to show him where I came from; show him the parts of Westford that mean the most to me.

I thought about this and ultimately there were really three places that I felt defined my hometown.

Driving home from Boston with Peter, I became increasingly nervous.

“This is stupid,” I thought.  “It was just a town, who cared what he thought of it?”

It wasn’t like I was planning on moving back some day. I didn’t even like Westford sometimes.  But deep down, it mattered to me that Peter liked my childhood home, because deep down I knew that this place made me.

After getting off the highway, we passed through the center of town.

“It’s so quaint,” he said.

My mind hearkened back to high school for the times when my friends and I had heard that phrase.

“Suburbia at its finest!”

“Of course there’s a Gazebo,” he continued. “I really just want to sit on one of those benches and watch moms in minivans drive by.”

I laughed, not so nervous anymore.

The next morning, deciding to do anything other than lay on my couch was proving to be quite a struggle, so I proposed that his first Westford experience be an active one. Twenty minutes later, we were making our way to East Boston Camps, or should I say, Stony Brook Conservation Land.

This park, whatever you call it, has been one of my favorite parts of Westford ever since I was first introduced to it during 5th grade camp.  To me, it has always been like an oasis of nature in the middle of a small town desert.  We walked the perimeter trail all around the lake, neither Peter nor I speaking for the most part, while my dog Riley led the way and continued his quest to pee on every tree we passed. There is a place for everyone in nature, and the fact that Westford can offer that escape always meant a lot to me.

Later that night, we returned home for Peter’s second, and arguably most important Westford experience: Kimball Farm. When new people come to town and ask what there is to do in Westford, Kimball’s is always my first response.   The Kimball family is probably the closest to a Westford Dynasty that will ever exist and their ice cream will always be the standard to which I compare all other ice cream for the rest of my life.

After a delicious meal of hamburgers and fried seafood, my family and I waited with baited breath as Peter took his first bite of Heath bar crunch.

“It’s good,” he pronounced.

I could finally feel myself breathe.

“Um, I think you mean it’s God’s gift to the human race, but I guess we can continue to date.”

Yes.  That is an accurate testament to how much Kimball’s ice cream means to me.

The final stop on our Westford tour was again food related (as all good things are) and was a perfect Westford send off for Peter’s last day.

When I think of Paul’s Diner, the images of family, friends, and the best omelets around always come to mind.  So naturally, it was the perfect place to grab breakfast with Peter and my friends before he left.

We walked in to the jam-packed diner to the smell of pancakes, eggs and bacon sizzling away as we searched for my friends’ table.  I pointed out the signed mural of Fenway, which never fails to bring out my Bostonian pride before diving into my favorite breakfast.

Everyone laughed at me for ordering both coffee and hot chocolate.

Over my mug of, let’s face it, mainly whipped cream, I looked around at the faces of my favorite people, old and new.

Although Westford as a town will always mean a lot to me, it was these people: the ones who had been with me from pre-school to gradation, my first travel soccer team to varsity, child Kyra to adult Kyra, who really made it home.  At that moment, when the different pieces of my heart came together in one place, home was Paul’s Diner and those who came with it.