I spent today driving around Virginia Beach and Norfolk, visiting my old haunts and feeling sentimental and nostalgic. I spent a lot of time at the beach itself, taking in the changes. The Beach has grown a lot in the 30 years since I left, but there are still several old standbys hanging on — The Jewish Mother deli and bar, the saltwater taffy joints and the palm readers. I ate at Lynnhaven Seafood House (fresh local flounder, scallops, stuffed shrimp and oysters rockefeller, accompanied by homemade hushpuppies and a couple of nice India Pale Ales from Dogfish Head brewery).

I also spent a lot of time driving around my old neighborhood. Aragona Village has seen its better days, but there are signs that things are picking up a bit (a BMW dealer and a Land Rover dealer just up the street, for example, plus a couple of high-rise hotels over by Pembroke Mall). I was really missing my mom as I pulled up in front of the old homestead to shoot some photos. I can still remember her painting the house each summer in her bikini top, stopping cars out in the street as drivers tried to get a better look. The trees are almost all gone, including the tree in the side yard where Jimmy and I had our treehouse. The pines along the driveway are also gone. Looks like the Sentmans’ old house next door might be abandoned — the wooden front door is badly damaged and looks almost shredded.

Tomorrow is the all-alumni reunion picnic and tour of the school, then a homecoming pep rally, alumni barbecue and Headmaster’s reception. Sounds like a full day. On Saturday, we have another barbecue, the homecoming football game and my class of ’79 party at a classmate’s house. I have the day free on Sunday, before flying out that evening.