January 16, 2008
The trip was a sad one, back to Alabama to settle some accounts after my mother's memorial and to hug old friends and family...and talk. It was good for me to do this, in spite of its difficulty, in my transition from the place that once was home to the place that is.
I moved back to Fairhope in 1988, because my husband, recently retired, needed something to snap him out of the depression that was beginning to smother him. The little town was on the verge of becoming a major retirement area and looked to be a logical place to spend the rest of my life. Also, my mother was entering her 80's and she was alone there. Of her three children, I was the first to move near to her again; my brother and sister would follow.
In the 19 years that I lived there I watched the character of the town change. When I moved back, it seemed the new residents were interested in the charm of the place and its history, but that faded as their numbers overwhelmed the local populace and they formed their own clubs and began making their own history and remaking Fairhope's. Everybody seemed so nice, and so happy, but my own life was shrinking after I discontinued my theater and my husband died, and my mother had a few small strokes and was admitted to a nursing home. I found myself not wanting to grow old and die in the place. I looked for a way out.
Hoboken was my choice, and I have only been here for six weeks, but am already beginning to think of it as home. When I got on the plane to come back, I felt I was leaving Fairhope once and for all and coming home.
The flight to the Newark airport is a breeze. One change of planes and the next one coming to a nearby gate and less than an hour away. I was picked up by Cristina, who was running errands and seemed not inconvenienced to do so. She even took me with her to the shopping center where she was looking for something and I bought a lamp shade to replace the one that was shredded in my move in November.
One topic that came up constantly in Alabama was how I was adjusting to the cold. The temperature in Hoboken was something like 40° and with the humidity under 60 per cent, it didn't feel as cold as Alabama had the previous day.
I decided when I got to the apartment to pamper myself with a light supper at Court Street, the restaurant-bar around the corner on Sixth Street. It is a lovely place, with dark paneled wood walls, a bright and very good bartender, and a clientele of people who always seem very intelligent to me. Sometimes I talk to my neighbors at the bar, and last night there was a young couple (younger than I, anyway)I couldn't resist striking up a conversation with. They were impressed that I had started a new life and had chosen Hoboken as the place to do so. We talked for quite a while -- I didn't tell them I had just returned from the bereavement visit that I had -- and they bought me a glass of wine while I ate an absolutely delicious plate of spinach ravioli.
I slept as well as ever on my still-incomplete bed in the little "hall" room, surrounded by my furniture and with the new shade in place on the lamp. Have banking and grocery shopping to do today, and people that I promised to call and haven't yet, lunch dates to confirm, and a feeling a joy down deep somewhere as I deal with this new reality I have created for myself.