6.06.2011

TRAIN TRIP WITH MY SONS

Readers of Slow Love Life will remember that I took a sentimental journey, last winter, across the country with my sons. I wrote a couple of posts about this trip--one about setting out, and another called Slow Arrivals. The journey stayed on my mind for months afterward, and, thinking about why it was such a meaningful experience for me, I wrote an essay about it for The New York Times. I love the way the Times illustrated the piece--I've reprinted it here. The artist, Carol Fabricatore, perfectly captured my wistful delight. And she gave me a good new haircut. I hope you enjoy the piece. (Hey, Pops, here's the link again!) 

24 comments:

Bruce Barone said...

I read this yesterday in the paper and loved it--and I read your book reviews, too.

I wanted to say you might enjoy an old cookbook (well, not that old!) called Dinner in the Diner. I have a copy and sometimes use it when I feel the whim. It is all about food on trains. Old trains.

And you also may enjoy The Gardener's Handbook by Richardson Wright, which I read all the time.

Dominique said...

Thank you Bruce. I love Richardson Wright's books. I wrote the introduction to one of them that was rereleased a few years ago, and it was a great excuse to reread all his work. He was prolific, and a terrific magazine editor--House and Garden!--for many years.

I will definitely hunt down a copy of Dinner in the Diner, sounds perfect.

VL said...

This NYT essay was beautiful. Your writing always moves me, often to tears (as this piece did). Perhaps because you present a way of being in the world that acknowledges the fragility of beauty, or rather fragility _and_ beauty as the warp and woof that weave in and out of our lives. We want to hold on to the beautiful, the good, but the grasping can crush; all we can do is behold and admire. You seem to inhabit this world with tender restraint, a lovely lightness, which I find beautiful and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Lovely piece, Dominique. Always enjoy your writing.
Doreen Copeland
Vancouver, Canada

annie said...

Dominique, thank you for a beautiful article As a divorced mother of two boys (10 and 15), I am inspired and in awe of your journey. I sense a shift with my older son to friend sometimes and I realize how important this will be for our future. I look forward to long trips with my boys maybe biking in Italy or a loverly train ride as you described. I just ordered your book and look forward to reading your beautiful prose. I sent the link to many of my friends and family via email and facebook. You are a beautiful writer and true inspiration.

Warren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren said...

Dominique, great article.

When I was about seven, my parents put me on a sleeper to travel south to my grandparents. The trip was an adventure, yet I don't even remember being scared. How times have changed! As a parent I'd probably be arrested today.

I spent about two weeks criss-crossing the country from Seattle by train in the '80s, photographing. I will never forget it. Sounds like the experience is still as memorable.

My daughters have enjoyed the trip to Portland from Seattle. Guess we will have to work up to something like yours. Kind of like marathon training.

You would probably enjoy the Empire Builder between Seattle and Chicago. The views are spectacular though I fear that the food service has declined to microwave... But hey we really go to the dining car for the communal eating anyway...

Judith Ross said...

Oy, oy, oy. The tears are flowing as I finish reading this. Dominique, you hit all the right points.

My husband and I are taking a train from Florence to Paris this summer with our two sons, aged 25 and 28. So they have been on their own for a while.

I am so glad to have this article as a reminder of How to Behave! And I will share it with my husband. I am on the fence, however, as to whether my two young men will appreciate it.

Thank you!

Tru Dillon said...

I like the new hairdo!

quintessence said...

Oh I missed this so thank you for the link.What a wonderful article - and advice. Just love the little interjection reminders!! And what a lovely illustration!

Dominique said...

Oh Judith, what a fantastic trip! You are so lucky. Perhaps your sons will have some interesting pointers--let me know if they do read it!

Warren, sounds like you are a serious photographer, I loved your line in the last post about doing such a lousy job of dating when you were a bachelor--because you always wanted to be in the darkroom. Very funny. Are you still using film? I interviewed Jack Spencer, one of my favorite photographers, last weekend for a panel. He said he has stopped using film entirely, and does everything digitally. Some in the audience were horrified that he used photoshop too, but he said it felt like painting, and only added to his creative palette. He added, in true Spencerian form, that he was horrified to learn that anyone wouldn't avail themselves of every tool in the kit....

Doreen, apparently the cross Canada trip is breathtaking. On my list.

Lost in Provence said...

I might be repeating myself but as an adult woman who did not have children, your posts often open a world for me that would otherwise remain closed or unimaginable and I am so appreciative of that. The points that you made are not only wise for a mother with her grown children but for many relations between adults.

Remi Benali, my wonderful companion, used film (and defended it) until it was no longer possible in the press. He finally switched to digital and has admitted that it has allowed him to do photography that would have been impossible otherwise, even though he misses the depth of film. He also uses Photoshop, sparingly and makes the good point that even Ansel Adams always said that half of any good photo was created in the darkroom--aka using tools to enhance the original image.

As for the Canadian rail, I can only speak of the all too short leg between Jasper and Vancouver, one of the most breathtaking experiences in my travels.

Thea said...

i feel what you feel. just do.

pamingram said...

those who've written before have touched on why this piece so resonates with me as well as with them. i have to say as well that your interjections-section titles- pearls of wisdom and advice with a touch of self-deprecating humor - from the biting of one's tongue to bittersweet acknowledgements, really tapped something within me. my grown son soon turns forty and i'm now relishing two fabulous grandsons- one fifteen and the other twelve who still think that their Mimi is great to be with. And while i never traveled the rails with my son, we have lovingly traveled and negotiated some distances and discovered how much we like eachanother. thank you for the beautiful art you continue to weave with words and images that speak so honestly and sincerly to what is valuable in our lives. i am ever grateful to be one of your readers. psi.

Bruce Barone said...

OH! I had no idea you wrote an introduction to one that was recently released :)

Our book is dated 1939. We have to turn the pages carefully. But I do so love reading it before falling to sleep.

I am going to photograph the cook book for you. And then send you the link tomorrow, I hope; Wednesday.

I had a friend, years ago, in Hoboken. I lived above People's Photography! On Washington Street. He worked for the railroad. He went on to be a photographer for Tommy Hillfiger, catalog work.

When he, my friend, John, turned 30, I threw a party for him in our humble apartment above the photography store. I set up my Lionel train set on the dining room table; it ran only backwards but that was fine because after a few glasses of punch from a recipe from that cookbook, we were all backwards!

Anyway, I made about 5--7 recipes from this cookbook. Not fancy. But fun.

Peace and Love.

Sherry said...

I had followed with great interest your preparations and trip with your boys. I have three adults under 30 and so appreciate your point of view. But I had a rude shock after reading today's comments. I was so enthralled with your tale that I completely forgot that I too, have travelled the rails. Now I may be forgiven as it was 36 years ago, but still..... My new husband and I were broke and my parents sent us money to take the train from Vancouver to Edmonton, across the Rockies, at Christmas, at night. I remember how beautiful the moon was across the untouched snow. The train takes an entirely different path than the highway. The Rocky Mountains are ragged and bare on top, and the snow stretched on forever. We would pull into each little town and pause at the station. I enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights in these little places, but more I remember the moon and the snow and the complete sense of peace. Thanks for resurrecting an image I had forgotten. Definitely a Slow Love Life moment.

Deborah A said...

Lovely story...every mothers dream come true.
Did you notice in the picture that there is a reflection in the train window of your sons when they were younger? I think the artist caught the essence of your thoughts...reminiscing of when they were younger to the sheer delight of having them with you at this time in your life and theirs. I, too, seem to be spending a lot of time wondering where time went...all the good times and the struggles of early parenthood gone in what seems like a New York minute.

Warren said...

Dominique, one of the saddest days was when I took my enlarger to the dump. Definitely pros and cons about digital. My daughter presented me with a photoshop rendered B&W. She chose and captured a mood so quickly.

Hitchcock had it right in N x NW. Trains and sleeper compartments... If you can't be with someone to love, then love your family ... (with apologies to CSN)...

Debbie Hemley said...

Domininque, what a lovely essay! Can feel the train and the emotions, too. Brought back some wonderful memories too of a train trip I did with my sister across Canada back in the 1970s.

Leslie Brunetta said...

Dominique,
I loved this essay, and drooled over your earlier posts about the trip. I'm hoping to figure out how to take the trans-Canada trip with my mother sometime in the next two years, and maybe one or both of my daughters (now 14 and 17). My mother has driven all over the country in a converted van, at one point in her 60s or 70s taking nine months to travel cross-country and then up into Alaska and back. She lived in Toronto (emigrated from England, where she was a truck driver for the Women's Land Army) for a few years in the early 50s, so I know she would be amazed at the transformation of that city. She gave up her van last year. On the one hand, being cooped up in the train and having to eat someone else's food might drive her nuts. But I know she would love the sights and (I hope) my company. And the sound of the wheels on the rails....
Thanks so much for this inspiring piece.
Leslie

Cristina said...

yes, your portrait is beaming with irrepressible joy - and pride -: what you described so nicely some months ago comes out beautifully in the drawing.

Max's Mom said...

I am a late comer to your Blog and book. I was introduced to you by a wonderful friend and we talk endlessly about you. You are such an inspiration and though I only have a toddler, I drink in everything you say about parenting and reaching an enlightened state with your boys. I am a fledgling blogger and can't wait to see what the future holds for me, my son and baby daddy. Keep on living your slow love life and enjoy every minute of it. As you already know and I am just discovering, it goes by way to fast. Thank you for the inspiration.

Courtney said...

Dear Dominique,
My husband and I took our two small children to New York City to celebrate the end of the school year. They are five and six. We hit all of the hot tourist spots we never visited when we lived in New York, and fell into bed exhausted every night. Sunday morning I woke up early, drank coffee in the quiet of the hotel morning with my daughter snoring softly from a cold she had acquired, and read your essay. I connected to it in the same way I connected to your play structure conundrum in "Paths of Desire." Please, don't ever stop writing. That morning in the hotel was one of my favorite moments of our trip.
Thank you,
Courtney

Lisa said...

the NYT article was lovely. i'm sure you are proud of your two men... when you entered iowa you entered my hometown - burlington. too bad it was dark!