November 15, 2007
Official moving day is November 30. Today is organization day. My subconscious is preparing for the move be providing me with dreams of confusion in a strange location, lost-on-the-streets scenarios; while my conscious mind is occupied with stuffing cartons with books, clothes, dishes, and the detritis of my life, asking whether I shall really ever need this particular object again.
Why leave where I am? Why Hoboken? I've posted about the upcoming move in a series of reflections on my old blog Finding Fair Hope which started life in early 2006 as an attempt to promote Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree, my book about what life was like in Fairhope, Alabama, in the 1950s. Tracing the blog day by day, a reader could discern a gradual disillusionment with the direction the small city was taking, and a decided spike in excitement during a trip to my old stomping ground, New York City, over Christmas of 2006.
This is what I wrote in that earlier post:
A recent blogpost suggested that I am more at home in the Northeast that in Fairhope, and elicited the eternal question, "What exactly are you looking for?"
The eternal answer to that is that at this point in my life it's not that I'm looking for anything except maybe a little positive energy, which I certainly don't find in Fairhope. Fairhope is in flux -- and while I think of myself as capable of flexing with the flux, it becomes clearer and clearer that that particular flow is not going the way I want it to. I spent 18 years in fair hope of trying to stall the inevitable, but I cannot see that my efforts are being effective.
I never thought of retiring to a low-stress area, but in Fairhope my baggage is too heavy. My expectations are, perhaps, a tad too specific; my memories too sacred and my heart on my sleeve. It's not gonna happen. The improvements "they" plan all seem to be innovative ways of tearing out the past...which is the only thing I cherish about the place.
Then I look around in New York City, and, sure enough, it has changed too -- it has beautified and upgraded its marginal neighborhoods, and kept the good parts too. It parades its history while embracing its future. And there is so much stuff going on, always, that the city continues to grow and to glitter with promise. Many of the friends I made when I worked here in the 1960's and '70s are still here, and people in the streets are friendly.
The difference is that in the days I remember New York, you didn't have to be rich to live there. The friends who have stayed lucked into cheap real estate when it was still available, and now they are flush enough, having stuck to jobs until they became careers, and having socked away enough to manage to live comfortably in this extremely luxe atmosphere. Others have found friendly environments within easy commuting distance and split the difference.
That was followed by the travel posts that led me to choose Hoboken, NJ, as the place I wanted to be. You'll find more of this as this blog takes on a life of its own.