Some of you may know our lifestyle changed in 2015 to owning just one house in Tucson, Arizona. We have spent this summer of 2016 trying to get out of the Tucson heat – obviously that hasn’t worked too well. The whole country seems to be sizzling or pouring rain – sometimes both. We have driven or flown to various places renting apartments, houses and also staying in between rentals with family and friends. We have been in Santa Fe, NM, Yardley, PA and Long Island, NY – still ahead are NYC, San Francisco, White Plains, NY, Asheville, NC and Atlanta – all before returning home to Tucson in October. Like most plans, much of what we were certain would happen did not happen (we did not mind being in the witness protection program as one of our dearest friends described this lifestyle), and new things came up that have turned into gems of experience.
Here’s a few highlights:
- We confirmed our love for Santa Fe. It is a magical, artistic, historically a very Hispanic town with charming architecture, warm people, nearly perfect weather and a real liberal vibe. Spending time there is like taking a course in the country’s colonial past, art history, and kindness. We made new friends with an old friend of mine from college who I had forgotten lived in Santa Fe – she and her husband fit all the descriptions above.
- We rented a house in Yardley, PA without a washer or dryer. I referred to this in an earlier blog. The surprising event was becoming friends with the manager of the store and her niece who helped us figure out how to get back in the groove of Laundromats – we discussed work, getting raises, school, politics, and life and got along famously. I found the connection with these great people that we have little externally in common with, super interesting and amazingly comforting for the future of our country.
- Episcopal churches are everywhere and yet extremely consistent. The churches are beautifully traditional and, of course, old (many were built when towns were founded), situated in the heart of downtowns, and only occasionally more than half full. One is always greeted by people who recall the 1950s style we grew up with – charmingly formal in the sense of respecting boundaries and not assuming “being your new best friend” – softly open and welcoming, low key and anxious to make you feel you belong. It is the America some of us grew up in frozen in time. I love these church visits and the sensitive sermons and people – like Stacy, the manager of the laundromat, comforting in these loud mouthed, obnoxious times.
- I read serious books that touched my soul. Among them were Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me; Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb. I feel I actually learned something real, intimate and important about being/growing up African-American, Chinese-American, and Norwegian. The bravery of these books, their glimpse into realities of people I could never really know expanded my sense of what it means to be a human being.
- Finally, I fell in love. With John (not his real name of course), a late 50ish beyond handsome physician (sort of a mature JFK Jr) who is neighbor and friend to friends of ours. Like the old time falling in love of 1960s it was both intensely sexy (in my dreams) and totally innocent with absolutely no basis in reality of any kind. I saw him playing fetch with his black lab on the beach looking happy and carefree. He then was introduced to me and I knew “he was the one”. Though of course he is totally someone else’s. Like our fabulous teen/young adult love for Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, and Rock Hudson it was both unrequited and impossible. A reminder that the pure joy of hearing “see you in September” is coming up next.
Being a vagabond is working for us. I could share so many more stories about how being loose and moving frequently is making us stay in the present moment and give up judging others. But to be honest, I admit some nights I am looking forward to being HOME. We fabulous women love change, our treasured summer memories, and yet miss our comforts too don’t we?