States of Mind – Part 1

For the past ten years I have been making an effort to visit all 50 states. As my personal quest nears its completion, I decided to write down recollections of the 46 I’ve seen so far, roughly in chronological order of my first visit.

I was born in New York and lived there for the first 18 years of my life. I spent plenty of time in Manhattan and saw some of the obvious tourist attractions like the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center but never made it to the Statue of Liberty. One of my favorite places on earth is Noyac, a small area between Sag Harbor and Southampton on Long Island. When my son was looking at colleges in 2007, we made a detour to Niagara Falls. A couple of years later, we spent the Fourth of July in Saugerties.

My parents took me on trips with them when I was still too young to realize it. I may have gone with them to D.C. and New Orleans. The first trip I actually remember was to Florida when I was in kindergarten. At the time my sisters and I called our destination “Daddy’s Ami” because he went there frequently on business for Bacardi Rum and we thought he was saying “My Ami.” We went again a couple of years later. I remember going to the Miami Seaquarium and seeing Flipper. I’ve been back to Florida many times, including trips for remote broadcasts on WAVA and KROQ.

My memories of Connecticut involve going to football games. My dad had season tickets to the New York Football Giants. He took me to games at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York and then to Yale Bowl in Connecticut. I remember driving home from New Haven one time after a game when the grown-ups had too much to drink. On the college tour with Frank Jr., I finally got to see the rest of Yale’s campus.

New Jersey also means football to me. I saw several games at the Meadowlands with my father. Years later, I was working at WAVA when we filled a plane with Redskins fans and took them to a Monday Night Football game against the Giants. At the same time, the Mets were playing the Red Sox in the World Series. Fans in Giants Stadium were cheering at odd times. It turns out they were listening to the baseball game. My other memory of that trip is that the plane we took was slightly too big for the airstrip where we landed. Fortunately we had good pilots. I also think about going to see Steve Martin at the Garden State Arts Center and visiting my mother’s Aunt Jenny in Spring Lake.

Pennsylvania makes me think of visiting Independence Hall as a child. My parents also took us to Hershey, which I remember for the chocolate, not the amusement park. During my unsuccessful year at Villanova, I went to a Papal Mass in Philadelphia and waited outside a seminary to catch a glimpse of Pope John Paul II.

More states tomorrow!

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