Monday, December 18, 2006

Reviewing New Jersey

December 18

After a frenzied and happy three days and two nights in Manhattan, I took off for two days and a night in New Jersey, staying with friends in the Ironbound, a Portuguese neighborhood in Newark.

I was in for treats, literally, with intellectual foodie friends who took me to some delightful eateries and regaled me with stories of their adventures since I had seen them last in 2001. They were the couple with whom I was visiting in Los Angeles in September of that year; it was at their house where I heard the news of the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I had left them at that time in a flash, with that awful homeward impulse of having to get there before something even more unthinkable might happen.

We had a lot to catch up on. They wanted to know about my trip home and I gave them the story in detail, much as I did on this blog. We talked of many things and walked the street of Newark and Jersey City and went in whenever we saw a sign that said "Open House." I even found a darling little apartment for sale, which, if it had been in another location I would have been sorely tempted to buy.

My mind snapped somewhere on the Manhattan leg of the journey. I began thinking, "Fairhope is not going to get any better -- when I move, why don't I move back here?" I couldn't get this notion off my mind, and as a matter of fact it's still there. I had been thinking I could take ten more years in Fairhope, but after the mind-shift I realized I probably won't have to wait that long.

Money is always an object, and New Jersey is nowhere near as expensive as Manhattan. The Ironbound is only $1.75 (Senior price) and at 17-minute train ride from Penn Station. Is it for me? I don't know. But my friend owns a little apartment that she rents out and she has suggested that she'd rent it to me while I decide.

Travel broadens one. Sometimes it stretches the mind. Sometimes we end up moving where we just went as a visitor. That's what brought so many new people to Fairhope. It may well be what takes one of them out.


Bert Bananas said...

Just what is it you're looking for?

Finding Fair Hope said...

What an odd question. The name of the blog is a clue. I found fair hope and now I'd like to go where I might be happy for the rest of my days, which definitely won't be as many (days) as the previous.

Anyone who has read the blogposts here on Fairhope could discern its reality in the past and present and my frustration at accepting what it has become. I was thinking about Asheville NC or San Antonio, but know I would meet there the same newcomers as in Fairhope -- and I'd be one of them. In New York everything is still as different as it ever was.

Bert Bananas said...

what an odd reaction to my question...

The name of your blog? or this post?

You want to go where you'll be happy for the rest of your days, you say. I got that. So thus my question, what is it you're looking for?

To say, "a place where I can be happy for the rest of my days" is not an answer. If you'd said, 'a place with great weather/varied weather/no weather, etc. we'd be on the track of something.

Could you be, at heart, a vagabond? There are people like that, and good fortune to them all. Always wondering what it's like over the next hill, around the bend of the mountain range.

If you gave us hints as to what you wanted, maybe some of us could go all 'Horshack' on you: "Uu, Uu, Uu!, I know!!!"

Finding Fair Hope said...

I can't believe that you really don't understand what I'm saying here, in spite of your poetic rendition.

When I say the name of the blog, I am talking about "Finding Fair Hope." That is the name of the blog. Nothing enigmatic or even poetic about it. You ask what I'm looking for and I suggest that I'm finding fair hope.

Yes, I've traveled to a lot of places and live in some of them for several years. I was raised in Fairhope but it is nowhere near the same town I live in today. Now I see that New York, the city that I have always found stimulating and even thrilling -- and I lived there for 14 years -- is just as full for me as ever. I had intended to stay in Fairhope for ten years or more, but maybe I won't.

I wouldn't say that I'm looking for anything -- Shangri La perhaps, or Brigadoon -- just that New York speaks to me as clearly as it ever did.

There'd be a lot of mountains to move to get back in the area, but it might be possible if everything were in line. We shall see. I will not really think seriously about this for another year or two when I see about my financial status, among other things.

I like the weather in Fairhope fine. Summers are hot, but that's okay; winters are mild. The scenery is nice and the people are pleasant. But my choice of domicile has little to do with weather.

I didn't go to New York looking for anything. It was just a vacation. However, I had been thinking where I might go long-term for several years when I have found what I have in Fairhope. I kept hoping the town would be somewhat as it was portrayed in the little book Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree but in the 16 years I've been back it's become less and less so. I was looking for a place that would give me more and take less from me (it's heartbreaking to me to endure the assault of the new people in this once-quaint burg), and I forgot how much I had loved New York.

Yes, I felt that about Fairhope when I first returned, but I don't any more.

I love my life wherever I am and I like to travel too. I don't think I need to explain any more than that. But maybe in time I'll post about it, if I can clarify it.