Grocery shopping in Ireland continues to be somewhat of a challenge and therefore a frequent topic of discussion for me. I realize now that growing up in American I was spoiled for choice… I still get so frustrated sometimes that I can no longer peruse an entire aisle of salad dressings but I’ve also learned to make do and be happy with far fewer options to choose from in Ireland (and more importantly have allocated suitcase space for packets and bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing with each trip home).
But beyond being an American, I am a NEW YORKER….from upstate.
Which means I grew up with the privilege and the luxury of Wegmans. To this day the thought or mere mention of Wegmans fills me with longing and an intense need to go home and well…go grocery shopping.
I was a card-carrying member of the Cookie Club in the 80’s. I LOVED grocery shopping with mom because it meant a free Wegmans original chocolate chip cookie and a hole bunch on my Cookie Monster club card. Does anyone else remember the cookie club?
I’m not gonna lie, my family talks of Danny Wegman like he’s an old family friend.
It was cool in high school to work at Wegmans. They had the best college scholarship programmes. I could actually see the disappointment on my parents face when my first part-time job was NOT at Wegmans.
When I went to college in Pennsylvania I first learned that not all grocery stores were created equal. Those PA grocery stores had nothing on Wegmans. Thankfully, a few years later Wegmans opened up an hour away and I took it upon myself to convert my college friends to the faith and we travelled regularly to Wegmans.
In grad school I remember waiting patiently for the grand opening of Wegmans in Sterling, VA and I fought the traffic with what seemed to be thousands of blow-in “yanks” that first opening week.
And finally I dragged my Irish husband to experience the wonder that is Wegmans. And he got it.
Throughout my life I’ve gone home to Wegmans. In fact, no trip home is complete without several trips to Wegmans. I keep trying to explain it to those who haven’t been, you just have to go to understand.
To be honest most of my out-of-the-blue, tears-in-the-eyes, lump in my throat moments of homesickness strike me while standing in a grocery store in Ireland. Only a New Yorker who is far from home where Wegmans has yet to expand could possibly understand this.
Wegmans is more that a grocery store for New Yorkers far from home. It’s the comfort and familiarity of home and I miss it. More than could possibly be sane to anyone who doesn’t get it.