This morning I received a text from a friend asking if I had any interest in a “guest blogger” for my blog, as this is the day he and his family are moving out of our neighborhood. A few of my thoughts follow his note:
Goodbye to Dartmouth Green
Today I say goodbye to an old friend. In fact, it was a friend I thought I didn’t need. And since one thing I struggle at is goodbyes, I have borrowed my good friend Pat McBride’s blog to say a few words.
Karen, Brendan, Lauren, and I moved into Dartmouth Green in 2003 and today we set out on the next chapter of our life. To say it is bittersweet is an understatement.
Our introduction to Dartmouth Green was through Katie and Allen Clarke, who we had met in 1998 in baby class. Though we lost touch after our kids were born, we reconnected in 2000 when we realized we lived near each other in Harrisburg and, obviously, had identically aged sons.
In 2002, the Clarke’s announced they were moving and late that year moved into a new neighborhood called Dartmouth Green. I was not happy. We were close and we had so much in common. I truly believed we lost our only Harrisburg friends. I chalked it up to never getting close to new friends as adults, and vowed to keep the circle tight.
From the minute Katie and Allen moved in, they couldn’t stop gushing about the neighborhood and the new friends they had made. They pleaded with us to visit Begged us to tour the model home. Even volunteered to watch our kids while we met with the salesman.
I had no intention of moving there. We were East Shore people and that’s where we were staying. I distinctly remember telling Karen that I had all the friends I needed. But the Clarkes were relentless. Finally, we gave in and toured the model home. The house was great, but I wasn’t sold. Then we went to a party with Katie and Allen and I quickly realized something: this neighborhood was littered with people just like me. I knew then that this was the place for us.
In August 2003, we moved in. I should have known how things would go when Allen delivered beer to the house in a babyseat on his bike, only to sit in my kitchen and drink it with another neighbor, Ted Seeber, who had wondered in, while I unloaded boxes.
In the months and years that followed, we all grew up together. It seemed everywhere we looked, there was another young family with young children popping up. The neighborhood soon became a second family. There were parties and play dates. There were sleepovers and Super Bowls watched. Flashlight tag and beer bongs. Poker tournaments and Easter Egg Hunts. There were welcome to the neighborhood soirees and sad goodbye debacles. We celebrated more births than one can count and, sadly, we mourned losses together. But the amazing thing was how we all clicked. It was truly a family. Dysfunctional and unpredictable, of course, but name one family that isn’t.
So many of us didn’t have our own biological family in the area that we became each others’ families. Through the good times and the horrible times, we knew our friends were there. We laughed together and cried together. Our kids played and fought and played again. Lifelong friendships were made and that bond will never be broken. I never once worried about where my kids were because I knew there were 16 mothers watching them.
Looking back, it is almost unfathomable how many first time parents were raising toddlers. I don’t think any of us fully understood this parenting thing, except the wise old sage and his bride, who had already conquered that age of child. I cannot imagine how many calls Pat and Leigh McBride received seeking advice, asking overprotective questions, and just needing help in those early years.
We spent the very best years of our life in Dartmouth Green, with some of the very best friends we ever had. Every wonderful memory of our kids’ childhood will be centered around this neighborhood and the people in it.
Today we leave Dartmouth Green. Honestly, I am still not sure I am happy about it. I truly believed we would be there until, well, forever. But time moves on and while I am sure we will love our new neighborhood, nothing will ever replace what we had in Dartmouth Green.
I can only hope that as families like us move out, a new group of young families with young kids move in and that the bonds that were forged on Chelsen Cross and on Windsor and on High Hollow are rekindled. I can only hope that other young parents make friends for life and find an entirely new family. I can only hope that the next generation of Dartmouth Green kids form lifelong friendships the way our kids did and tear up the athletic fields and dance studios all across the West Shore.
Life is funny. Eleven years ago I didn’t think I needed any new friends. And now, I am not sure how I ever survived without them.
So to Dartmouth Green, and the people there who mean so much to us, we say Thank You, one last time.
p.s. Wentworth is only a couple of miles away and the bar is always open!
This note was written by my friend Rob Tribeck on June 17, 2014.
I find it almost unfathomable that 11 years has passed since Rob and his family moved into our neighborhood. I remember the party at Clarke’s when I first met the Rob and Karen, who were “thinking about buying”. I’m not sure if it was that day or shortly thereafter that I copied the line from Rob, “My favorite word is ‘allegedly’”.
I have no idea Rob is really as smart and savvy as I think he is, but I know he can deliver any message he wants with unflinching conviction and passion.
As with any open and honest reflection on a long term relationship, there are certain things that should be said, and some things that certainly should not be said. For instance, Rob’s unparalleled love and commitment to all things Penn State Proud cannot be overstated. On the other hand, the display of his photo-journalistic skills which prompted an Onion-esque expose’ on bucolic Dartmouth Green’s social scene, should probably not be said.
I’ll always remember Karen as constantly in motion supporting Brendan and Lauren’s (and every other family in DG!) activities; I’ll suspect I’ll always carry the vision of her looking like the smoking-hot, spitting-image of Danica Patrick when she sports her black wrap-around sunglasses. Oh yes, I just said that!
As for the Tribeck children, there are very fond memories.
I’ll always remember a young Brendan during the summer of 2007, standing in his wet bathing suit, fingers wrapped through the wire fence, next to the 15th tee box.
“Hey, Mr. Pat – did you break 80 yet? Huh,? Did you?” He’d shout. Every time he saw me he would yell to me with enthusiastic anticipation; every day I would purse my lips and shake my head in disappointment.
When I finally achieved the goal later that summer (on August 30, 2007) he wasn’t there. As I drove into the neighborhood instead of turning left, I turned right and headed up to the Tribeck home on High Hollow Court to show Brendan the ball with my score marked on it. I think the only person genuinely more excited for me and this milestone was Brendan.
I also will always remember young Lauren who had an entire community surround her with love when she had open heart surgery. This past year we all saw just how big and strong her heart has grown when she and a friend choreographed and performed a dance in memory of her friend, Addison.
There are some things you can’t teach your children. There are other things a child can only learn by example.There are no words to describe the love and beauty of life this family has shown all of us.
So after 11 years of constantly threatening to “finish his basement or move out!” he finally decided to move on out. Rob Tribeck is a good man with an even better family. We’ll miss you, but you’ll never stray far from our hearts.
One thought on “An Even Better Family”
Joe O’Connor email@example.com