I was woken up from a pretty rough sleep by the pilot’s muffled voice over the intercom saying we were about to land in Philadelphia. I sat up and looked around, not really sure where I was for a moment or two. I finally got my bearings and tried to look out the window as we were on our descent. It was cloudy and kind of dark even though it was the middle of the afternoon. As I’ve come to learn, that’s pretty average for Philly.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew I’d see my mom, and from what she’d told me, we were going to stay with a friend of hers for a few days in NJ. It was the last week of a play she was doing at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. NJ was close, and staying with friends was free, so we would crash there before heading back to her home in NY. I was just along for the ride anyway, so I figured what the hell.
We landed. I was nervous, but it was pretty smooth. There were rides at Universal that were scarier. I grabbed my bags, got off the plane, and made my way down the ramp, and just as you might have guessed, there she was. Mom was always the punctual one. She was trying to be funny, holding a sign with my name on it. I was actually happy to see her, but I didn’t want her to know it. I just wanted to be miserable, but it was hard. We shared a big hug and made some small talk as we walked out to our ride. I was expecting to have to take a bus or pile into the back of one of her friend’s cars, but to my surprise, she actually hired a limo service to pick us up, chauffeur and everything. It wasn’t that she was poor, but she wasn’t rolling in it either. I just didn’t expect it, but I appreciated the extra effort she was making to make this a special moment instead of a miserable one for me.
The driver loaded my bags for me and opened the door so we could get it. This was the life. I played with the divider and the neon lights for a few minutes, probably pissing the driver off, but he took it well. The drive wasn’t that long, maybe 20 or 30 minutes, but it gave us time to talk and catch up. My mom was very excited to have me with her and it was obvious. She couldn’t stop talking about the plays she had been in and the opportunities that were coming up for her, and for me. I would get the chance to be back stage and see how things worked. I would be able to meet directors, actors, stage and lighting experts. I just saw it as a good time then, but she saw it as experience and a chance for me to learn.
We crossed a bridge and were soon at her friend’s house. I think it was in a town called Deptford. A nice spot. Pretty cozy I guess, but nothing like it was in L.A. We didn’t stay long, but it was a good first experience being on the East Coast. I just remember how nice everyone was and how excited my mom was for us to be together again. Even though I still kinda felt alone, I was happy to be with her and even a little excited to see what she had been doing. I figured I might as well make the best of my time there.