Here I am in Fairhope again, driving around in a rental car and staying in a sweet one room cottage.It's one room with a little kitchen, a little bathroom--and a lot of charm. It's in a pretty corner of Fairhope, close to town (and to the bay, of course--every property in Fairhope is always advertised as "Walk to town and bay"). I do walk some, and drive some too. I deliberately go out of my way so that I might see what has changed and what has stayed the same. I show up at the door of people I used to know and they are telling me the latest news and gossip.
Above is very close to the center of town, the gaping hole on Fairhope Avenue where the movie house used to be. Soon a new edifice will be erected here for yet another building for gift shops and tourist attractions. It's the way things are going (and have gone for the past 25 years or so).
The weather is pleasant--it'll be 73 degrees today--and birds are singing and people are smiling. All of that is to be expected in Fairhope at this time of year, although I'm told it's been a mild winter, even for here.
I lived here for almost 20 years before I decided to move away in December of 2007--to a more hostile climate and a more confrontational atmosphere. I live in New Jersey, and for the first year, whenever I met someone and said I had just moved there from Alabama, people said, "Oh, you're the one..." I'm close to New York City, where I can go to matinees of first rate productions of first rate plays as often as I can afford it, and where I'm a 20 minute bus ride from a trip to visit my daughter and grandsons.
Whatever I may say about not missing Fairhope, it's always fun to return. We who leave are tempted to quote Thomas Wolfe's famous title You Can't Go Home Again, but I have found it possible and in many ways the best of both worlds.
Most of the time so far on this trip I find I'm still doing what I do in my non-vacation life. I check and write email, go on Facebook and make snarky comments to strangers. Soon I'll resume sending my query letter to agents who may be willing and able to hawk my novel to legitimate publishers. I've gotten two rejections so far after sending the query to ten high-powered agents--I should have a full complement by the time I go home at the end of March.
I'm catching up with friends and relations one by one and observing the changes in all. I think it's going to be a lovely two months--even though I can't say I left to get away from bad weather. I came home for a visit.