We drove through Virginia to Greensboro, North Carolina, where we had a chance to spend two lovely days with Mark’s stepmother, Genevieve. We caught up on our lives and shared concerns about the direction of our state and the country, then returned to Interstate 85 South.
In Concord, North Carolina, we stopped for a quick hello with my old friend and neighbor, Ophelia, after a 30-year absence.
She had been a stalwart of our efforts to organize a union at the textile giant, Cannon Mills, whose former mills are now offices and lofts.
Back on the highway we drove past the iconic Peach of Gaffney, South Carolina, a roadside attraction of top quality.
We planned to stay in Atlanta for a week, parking in the driveway of our friends Octavia and Ameer and their two daughters. Octavia is an award-winning Lebanese journalist I worked with at CNN who now teaches yoga and meditation – a big shift!
Our first night, Ameer and Octavia treated us to the most sumptuous sushi meal I have ever seen! Here we are with Octavia and their two daughters, Noor and Aya.
The next day Mark and I did some sightseeing, returning to our first home together in Grant Park where both our sons were born.
We went back to the sidewalk where I had scrawled our son’s name and the date in wet concrete. We were happy to find it was still there.
A visit to pay our respects to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in order and the peaceful sanctuary moved us. The Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached, is right next door to his memorial.
More reunions followed, with Audrey and Dave from CNN.
Former CNN assignment editor Deb D. and her husband, Scott, had us over for dinner (Scott took the photo below).
Thelma and Talia, who both worked at the company for years, joined us for lunch one day.
After a week of enjoying the hospitality of our friends and two centering yoga classes taught by Octavia, we started off again, headed to St. Petersburg, Florida. We finally hit warm weather and palm trees – yeah!
Once again we stayed with friends, Donna and John, who piloted us around the channels and Gulf waters in his fishing boat.
We also took in a great exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s work that emphasized the physical barriers and pure pain she faced throughout her brilliant career.
After nearly three weeks of travel and enjoying the hospitality of friends, we cast off from St. Pete and headed west to the sugar sand beaches of the Panhandle to sleep again in our van.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.