By: Joey Uva
When I was ten years old my older brother Patrick and I took a trip to Catalina Island with some other kids that were selected from our local park and recreation center. We lived in a lower income neighborhood and the local park did a lot to help the kids in the community. We lived right across the street and I remember going for free lunches in the summer time. It was fun grabbing our lunch that came in a little cardboard box and being with the other kids to eat and play. One summer the park sponsored a trip to Catalina Island for some of the kids in the neighborhood.
I remembered how excited I was to get on the boat and sail across the ocean to the island. We arrived on the island and had to hike a bit to reach our camp site. Each group of kids was assigned an adult chaperone to keep an eye on us, guide us, and help us set up their tents for the night.
I don’t remember all the details of that trip, but I do remember it was beautiful, peaceful, and it felt far away from home. You’d think feeling far away from home would be scary for a ten-year-old, but not for me, I felt free. Free from the things at home that weighed me down, free to think, to be me, free to escape to this beautiful place if even for a day.
Trevor bought tickets to Catalina Island a few months ago. The trip had been scheduled for a while but I hadn’t really thought about it. We just took this trip last week with Trevor’s parents and Grace. Even in the early morning as we got ready to drive to the harbor and board the boat, I still hadn’t thought much of my trip to the island thirty-five years ago.
Grace loved being on the boat and couldn’t sit still for the boat ride. Even with the boat rocking back and forth, she wanted to stand up and hold on. As we approached our half way point to the island, we passed a few seals and a school of dolphins, Grace got excited and said, “This is my first time seeing a real live dolphin in the sea!” This got me thinking of my first trip to the island. I asked Grace if she would like to go out on the back deck of the boat to see the view, she said yes. It was a bit chilly so we put on her jacket and headed out. As Grace and I walked out we found Trevor’s parents and stood with them enjoying the scenery and the cool sea air. Soon we could see the buildings and houses far in the distance. I told Grace it wouldn’t be long; she got more and more excited.
At this point, my memories started to flood my mind. It was beautiful, peaceful and I felt free. There was however, a difference. This time I was taking peace, love and freedom with me. And although it was far away from home, I felt at home. My home is with Trevor, Grace, my family, and friends.
This was a full circle moment for me. I have seen the island as a child and I have seen it as an adult. It hasn’t changed much, but I have. I am free, I have love, and I am home.