#FreshAirForever: A Fresh Air Family Reunion in Lititz, PA
Sabrina Rivera grew up in Manhattan, but when she was six years old, she left the city and traveled to meet the Crawford family in Lititz, Pennsylvania where she heard something she never had before – the still silence of nature. Crickets replaced car horns and stars replaced streetlights, that experience still leaves Sabrina in awe decades after her Fresh Air summers ended.
“In New York, we go 24 hours a day,” said Sabrina. “In Lititz, you stop over there, there’s no choice but to stop. I don’t even know how to explain it, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me!”
Sabrina recently took a trip with her husband and son to visit her Fresh Air family – it had been 30 years since her first visit!
“This was the first time we saw Sabrina since she was a little girl,” said host mom Carol Crawford. “We reminisced about so many things, and she came out to our backyard and just stood there and stared at our yard and the rest of the farm country. She looked and looked, remembering her summers here while she took pictures upon pictures.”
Sabrina spent her Fresh Air summers with the Crawfords experiencing new things from riding bikes around the hilly farmland, taking trips to amusement parks – Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland and even visiting and learning about nearby Amish Country.
Sabrina spent a lot of time with her two Fresh Air sisters and other kids from the neighborhood, running in the front yard, playing with animals and exploring the neighborhood – things Sabrina had never really done back home. The relationship between Sabrina and her Fresh Air sisters continues to be strong and full of love years later.
“When Sabrina came up a couple of weekends ago, she had her husband and her son, and we got together at my house and my two girls made a great big basket of all kinds of Lancaster County things for them,” said Carol.
Sabrina remembers fondly that the Crawfords lived on a farm, so a lot of their food were either produced locally or right on their own property. “I was able to drink fresh milk from a cow,” said Sabrina.
“Sabrina said she didn’t like some of the food until she tried it,” said Carol. “I remember one time we had shepherd’s pie and she wasn’t going to eat it, and once she tasted it, she had three helpings!”
At their recent reunion, Sabrina was excited to bring her family to see the place where she spent her summers as a child. Her son, just like Sabrina, spent his time playing in the Crawfords’ backyard on the swing-set looking out into the farmland and enjoying the peaceful scenery. “He disappeared and that’s where we found him sitting, just swaying back and forth,” said Carol.
Sabrina always knew that her summers with the Crawfords had an impact on her life, but it was not until she visited Lititz again with her own family when she recognized the significance of gaining a different perspective through the Friendly Towns program.
“I feel like it changed my life because it gave me different viewpoints on a lot of different things.”