Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hoboken Journal: Day Three, Over and Out

October 25, 2007

Having completed my business in Hoboken in just a matter of hours -- if you don't count the commute back and forth to the Motel Essex Regency -- I found myself with two days to kill just exploring the place. I'll sum those two days up in one post and prepare to retire the Finding Fair Hope blog once and for all as I wind up my time in the little town I came from.

I had signed the lease on the third floor walk-up and was waiting only to receive my copy signed by the landlord, and the key. But the plane I had booked was for noon Monday and it was Saturday morning. The realty agent had told me that the nearest shopping center was at the Pavonia Newport stop, so I decided to explore that, not expecting much. At least, I thought, I'll find a decent coffee shop and have breakfast. When I came out of the subway I wondered what planet I was on, or at least what country I was in. I was surrounded by glassy towers, wide streets, clean, classy architecture. I could hardly believe the shabby Motel Essex Regency which looks pretty much like we unenlightened think everything in New Jersey looks was just a subway stop and a $7 cab ride away. This could have been some modern corner of Europe; or, more accurately, it could have been Chicago. But it was Jersey City. What a delightful find. I snapped the photo you see and an attractive woman in a police uniform came up to me and said, "I don't know if you took a picture or were just looking at your pictures -- but you aren't allowed to take pictures in here." I must have given her a blank look because she repeated the sentence word for word, with a sweet smile, and I said to her, "All right. I won't take pictures in here," and put the camera away.

I browsed through a very upscale branch of Macy's and walked through the glittering mall, not jostled by crowds of overweight teenagers (or anybody else). I was fairly floating on air, hoping that when I move to New Jersey I can afford to shop in that mall from time to time.

Then I decided to go back to Hoboken and explore the neighborhood where I would be living. I took the "Light Rail" train, which is different from the subway, and takes you to a different part of the station. The trains are clean and travel mostly above ground. When I detrained I was in a real train station, just like in Europe, or like Grand Central.What do you know -- the Hoboken station is celebrating its Centennial, just like the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education! Beautiful mahoganny benches and old chandeliers in a truly awesome timewarp-station.

I walked up Washington Street, which I've decided is one of the major thoroughfares of the world, and I'l tell you why I think that. It's a huge, wide street, well-lit at night, and the sidewalks are as wide as a normal street. This makes it a natural for the sidewalk caf├ęs and the constant buzz of city life they inspire. It was a perfect October day, a little breezy and the sky a bright blue, as I walked up Washington Street (it seems to be just about impossible to take a photo of that street without half of the street being in shadow, by the way) and saw the people chatting on the sidewalks, pushing baby strollers, and drinking coffee in the many sidewalk venues. There was a happy, outgoing American attitude in what was essentially a Old Town atmosphere -- a very appealing combination.

I had a salad at a restaurant with tile floors and again the dark wood walls, and walked up to the new building where I found a tenant going inside who let me in to look at my new apartment and investigate where the electrical outlets are and walk the room for rough measurements so I could decide what furniture to bring. I stopped in the office of one of the realtors I had spoken with on the phone to tell her I had found a place and wouldn't be needing her services. She had found a place she wanted to show me in Guttenberg, but I was sure I could never love Guttenberg. She gave me a map of Hoboken and when I told her the buildings I loved she recommended I look for the library. When I heard her say, "We have a beautiful library!" I thought of how many times I'd heard that exclaimed about the unappealing structure that is the new library in Fairhope, and my heart sank.

I needn't have worried. Historic preservation has a place in Hoboken. The library there was probably built in the 1880's; it is small, Victorian and cozy. It smells of books and only has two computers. I hope it has friends, friends that don't think the best thing you can do for a library is make it five times the size you need "to allow for growth."

Hoboken, known as the Mile Square City, is actually two miles square, but it cannot grow because it is enclosed by neighboring cities. It has a historical museum which is ironically in a new building, and the display there now is of Hoboken's musical heritage. There is a corner devoted to favorite son Frank Sinatra, of course, and displays of the poster from Hair (authors Gerome Ragney and James Rado, who were hippie actors in the 1960's, lived in a warehouse loft in Hoboken when they wrote the show.) Stephen Foster apparently lived in Hoboken for a time. It was an interesting show, and I had a good time browsing through it.

On my travels through town I actually did meet a bona fide curmudgeon, a man with shoulder-length hair who had set up a table with old books and records for sale on the sidewalk in front of his apartment. We talked about the books and records, and he told me "Hoboken isn't what it used to be," and he gave me an inside track about the corruption in politics and the snobs who have moved into town. I know where he lives and plan to stop by again when I'm in the neighborhood.

Since I've started posting about Hoboken here, I've gotten lots of traffic and lots of email from Hobokenians too. It's as if my new life is calling to me. Now for the next three weeks I've got a lot of packing to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day Two, Mission Accomplished

October 24, 2007

The next morning I arose from the scratchy sheets of the Motel Essex Regency and managed a shower in what must be referred to as the bathroom. This turned out to be less an ordeal than I had anticipated, as there was plenty of hot water and the little coupon-sized towels sufficed if I used all three to do the job of drying. There had not been as much noise in the night as I expected, even though a crowd of three or four people did decide the space in the parking lot directly outside my room was the best place to start their party. Lots of shrieks and loud laughter gave me the impression there was alcohol involved. I was certain that this meant in a few hours the laughter would turn to noise, arguments, misunderstandings and probably a good bit of creative profanity. Fortunately for me, it didn't really happen, but the intermittent car sounds from the nearby expressway never abated.

I had to get to Hudson Street by nine. This meant having the motel page a cab to the Jersey City Terminal to take a train to Hoboken. A hyper little man with a cell phone was also waiting for a cab. Apparently he was late for a meeting. He owned the business, but the customers can't stand to be kept waiting. I told him I was on my way to Hoboken to look for an apartment. He quickly started scrawling something on a piece of paper from his pocket, telling me he had a nephew who was in real estate in Hoboken and to call him about getting me a place. We were joined in the cab by a black woman who looked to be nine and a half months pregnant. I thought we might have to make a side trip to the hospital.

The little man, who looked like James Caan in a way, kept talking on his cell phone and identifying himself as Jerry to the person on the other end of the line. He ended up following me through the turnstile and standing with me on the platform as I explained the way to get to Hoboken -- getting off the train at a stop called Pavonia Newport, and waiting for the next train on the same track which would be to Hoboken. I thought Pavonia sounded like one of those mythical kingdoms in an old operetta, but decided to keep this notion to myself. On the train from Pavonia Newport to Hoboken, an Asian couple with a decidedly unresponsive baby sat across from Jerry and me, and Jerry did his best to engage the baby in a little across-the-aisle kootchie-koo, waving and making faces, to no avail with this dullard infant. The question in my mind was if Jerry were Jewish or Italian, and his behavior with the baby cinched it. Italian. Also, as we parted at the Hoboken station, he said, "Call me," reminding me of the piece of paper with his phone number on it. I said, "I think I have a place lined up," and he again said, "Call me." Italian.

I went into a little bagel shop for breakfast. This place specializes in square bagels. Apparently it is a marketing tool in Hoboken to do something different with your bagels -- smashed bagels worked, so why not square? What I ended up with was kind of an Egg McMuffin on a square bagel and a glass of orange juice. Then I was ready for the trek up to 6th St. and Hudson.

The apartment was on the 3rd floor, on a beautiful block of a very nice street -- as reported, the nicest Hoboken has to offer. Across the street is Stevens Technical College, which happens to have a beautiful theatre space used for local productions of all kinds. A block away is a nice little park, Elysian Fields, and the local Little League ballpark. Just the other side of that is Frank Sinatra Drive which borders the river and one of the exquisite views of Manhattan Hoboken offers.
You will note in the picture there is a For Rent sign on the stoop in front of the second building from the left, and also a For Rent sign in the window of the third floor apartment of the building. Neither of those signs is there any more. I took the apartment after very little deliberation. The accommodating realtor drove me to Jersey City where he had another place for rent and we drove past two buildings I was considering. After I looked at the apartment he was renovating in Jersey City, and generally got an impression of Jersey City, I knew it had to be Hoboken for me, and that the Hudson Street place was just about perfect. It has one large room (10 x 20 feet), a tiny side room -- known as a "hall room" in brownstones, fine for a little bed and/or my laptop office; a big, eat-in kitchen, lots of closets and windows. There are actually three big windows in the kitchen, from which you can see the rooftops of Hoboken at sunset.

By noon my fate was sealed. I had written the requisite checks and signed the application form, called the realtor with the basement place. I celebrated by having lunch at Benny Tudino's (known as the best pizza in Hoboken, as long as you order it extra-crispy) and exploring Hoboken, including the library which is small, compact, Victorian in vintage and utterly beautiful, until I was ready to drop. I bought a sandwich and a banana and two bottles of water at Blimpie's and took them to the motel for supper and an early bedtime.

I slept fitfully on the hard mattress (and the sheets were no less scratchy than the night before) and wondered what I would do for the next two days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hoboken Journal, Day One

October 23, 2007

I just got home from four days in Hoboken. Let me tell you what happened on the first day.

My flight left Pensacola at 7 A.M., which meant leaving the house at about five. I only needed a few changes of underwear and a hairdryer so I was able to travel with only a carry bag and my purse which holds a multitude of small objects and papers, none of which I can find without a lot of fishing and fuming. I included a little digital clock because I was going to be staying in a cheap motel in Jersey City, and cheap motels seldom have amenities like clocks. More on that motel later.

I arrived at La Guardia at 2 P.M. To get to New Jersey from La Guardia, which is in a different state, is quite a trick but I had instructions from the motel guy when I made reservations. A cab from that airport to anywhere in Jersey is at least $90. Instead I took the airport bus to Grand Central and started walking to the subway station known as the PATH (Port Authority something) which goes to New Jersey destinations. I called the realtor who had been so nice to me on the phone and he said he could show me the apartment whenever I got to Hoboken. He said, "Welcome home!"

That's the news, folks. This was not a pleasure trip. This was part of a plan to move from beautiful Fairhope, in the lower part of Alabama, to Hoboken, a city of undiscovered delights that has been calling to me since I first laid eyes on it last June. Convenient to Manhattan -- a ten-minute ride either by underground railroad or on the speed-ferry -- and crawling with local history and lore, Hoboken is the place I want to be next (and probably last).

Where was I? Oh, yes, the trip into Jersey City. I was standing in front of the New York Public Library, having walked from Grand Central, when I realized I didn't understand where the PATH train was. I hauled out my heavy old Nokia cell phone, virtually unused in Alabama, and called my nephew who lives in Manhattan and knows all about the transit system. After the pleasantries -- his surprise to hear my voice and learn that I was standing in front of the NY Public Library, and my revelation of my mission and need to know how to get to New Jersey from where I was -- he gave me the info that the PATH train is in the Herald Square station, just below Macy's.

This was a cinch. I took the #4 bus which goes down 5th Ave. to 34th and turns to take you to Macy's, and from there walked under the streets of New York until I found a sign that said "Journal Square Trains." Per instruction from the motel guy, I took that train and from there, now safely in the arms of New Jersey, got a taxi to the motel that cost $7.

So far, so good -- until I saw the motel and my room. More on that in another post. Now I'm going to tell you what else happened on my first day of this journey.

I checked into the Regency Essex (I've changed the name to protect myself from lawsuits brought on by later comments in future posts), and got another cab back to the train, hopped on a train to Hoboken, and found my friendly realtor.

The place he showed me was very pleasant. The ground floor of a row house lately made condominiums, this was a convenient place on a nice street. The realtor and his wife owned a condo above, and he had "saved" this place to show me because he thought I would be an interesting person to have in the building. I had a little problem with space -- there were closets, but they were small, and being on the ground floor it was essentially a basement apartment, with a dark central room but windows on either end, in the bedroom and the kitchen. There was a washer and dryer in the apartment. There was access to a nice little backyard. Such apartments are referred to as "garden apartments," because that sounds nicer than "basement."

I liked the realtor, liked the possibility of living in the building with him and his wife above me, and didn't dislike the apartment. I began mentally fitting it out with my furniture. Then my creaky old cell phone rang, and it was another realtor. He had a place on the top floor of a brownstone on Hudson Street and could show it to me the next day. My realtor informed me that Hudson Street was the prime location in Hoboken, "the Park Avenue of Hoboken," he said. "The mayor lives there." He said I should look at the other apartment before making a decision. He also told me that there had been so many calls about the apartment I was standing in that he had raised the price by $45 per month, but would give it to me at the price advertised if I wanted it.

We shook hands, and as we were taking leave he asked me how I'd liked the Orient Express. I was thrown by that -- what could he have known about my trip on the Orient Express some 25 years ago? He said when I told him on the phone I was a writer he'd Googled me and found my website He wanted to know if the lady who'd gone canoeing in the nude was a figment of my imagination or if she had been a real person. I told him the truth of the matter: She was a real person, and she did all the things I report in Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree -- and quite likely a great deal more.

I had time for a drink or two before finding a place for dinner and finding my way back to Jersey City. I stopped off in an appealing old bar called Busker's, which inside made me think of the old White Horse Tavern in the West Village. It was crowded mostly with men, apparently business guys, jovially talking sports and the like. There were about four flat-screen tvs at the bar (I was to discover this is a must for Hoboken bars). There was a pretty young woman mixing drinks like White Sangrias by the glass, and when a customer approached, she said, "What do you want from my life -- besides a Heineken's draft?"

From there I found a place I'd read about in a Hoboken blog as a jazz bar, "You'll find it from the English phone booth in front." I had a long conversation about cell phones and the possibility of a Frank Sinatra festival in Hoboken with a nice looking young man, finished another glass of Pinot Grigio (which he paid for), and then went looking for the Hudson street address. There I saw the beautiful street itself, looked at the outside of the building (very nice), found a good Italian restaurant, and took a cab from Hoboken to my Jersey City motel for the night. I spent the night decorating two apartments in my mind, one of which I hadn't even seen.

Tune in tomorrow. Decision time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Man in My Garage

October 13, 2007

At the recent reunion of the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education, a.k.a. The Organic School, people came into Fairhope from all over. I expected to have a couple sharing one of the little bedrooms upstairs in my cottage, a student teacher in the other, and a man living in the little room at the back of the garage for the duration.

As it turned out, the only one who was able to make it was the man in my garage. Playing hostess to him as well as partaking of all the events of the reunion weekend and giving something of a lecture at one of them (plus reading a chapter from Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree at another) gave an offbeat dimension to my participation in the proceedings.

He turned out to be in some ways typical as a product of our unconventional school, but for the main part, a man like no other. He likes to go which ever way the wind blows him, and this has taken his windblown persona in many directions. A delightful raconteur and observer of details, he carried big blank notebooks with him wherever he went, asked questions of everybody, and wrote down almost every damn thing anybody said. He was quick with a quip, but quizzical about many of the answers he got. I had a wonderful time with him.

As it turns out, he's a retired environmental consultant who has decided to relocate from the grey Northwest (Anacordes, WA, where he says "everybody is nice nice nice -- so nice I had enough,") to the desert country of Azo, AZ, to be part of an artists' community and develop his talents in art. He lives quite comfortably on almost no money, reads omniverously, and writes all the time too. He was complimentary about my writing, and made good suggestions too. He read When We Had the Sky and suggested some rewrites I shall use.

He and I had long talks in which we enlightened each other on the ways of the world. We both have had varied and amusing experiences and enjoyed each other's company enormously. I took him down into one of the gullies that once were so popular for youngsters in Fairhope. I introduced him to a local restaurant where he warily ordered crab gratin and was amazed that it actually had a lot of crabmeat in it. He said in the Pacific Northwest they don't put crabmeat in their crab dishes! Hmmm...that must be quite a trick. I introduced him to the Lower Alabama specialty of fried crab claws and he was quite taken with it.

Mostly he was looking for himself, the young self who had boarded at the school in the 1940's. Some women remembered having had dates with him and told him how much fun he used to be -- one time he went to the Country Club with one and walked a few miles in the wrong direction going home until somebody found him. Reunions are good for this kind of exploration, and he is nothing if not an explorer.

He's been married a few times, has grown sons, and takes a lot of time off to visit old lady friends and make new friends of all ages. He says his exposure to Organic Education put him on the path of discovery that has been his life. He didn't want to leave the school by the time his parents decided he didn't need it any more, but it really never left him, and he seems to be searching for more than the old landmarks and contact with people now shadowy in his memory.

I enjoyed the diversion of having this character in my garage. He stayed on a couple of days after the reunion broke up, and after he left I received a phone call at 9 P.M.

"I'm in a youth hostel in New Orleans," said the voice. "I'm having a wonderful time. It's $17 a night and full of young people. We're all drinking and singing."

Wherever he is, I'm sure he's having a wonderful time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

October 11, 2007

I'm not accustomed to linking with such as this, but Jerome Murat is new to me and I think you'll find this fascinating, as I do. Please watch it all; it goes from interesting to absolutely astonishing. Just click here, sit back, and wait to be amused. I'd love your comments.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just Relishing Fairhope

October 8, 2007

There are moments when all the petty complaints about the changes in Fairhope, or the changes in the world, its new generations, the erosion of a way of life -- all just disappear as we are surrounded by loved ones banding together to share memories of the past and hope for things to come. The Centennial Reunion of the Marietta Johnson School, the Organic School, was just such a time.

We gathered Friday night, as you see above, at the former campus of the school. Some of us were standing in spots where we had played in some 50 or 60 years before, in that longed-for childhood of our memory. But Friday night was a time to look into faces almost forgotten, erase in our minds the wrinkles and white hair, see the essence of eternal youth, look into the spirit of the grown person before us and cherish the fact that we were back together for a moment. At any reunion there is always the bittersweet phrase in the back of our minds, "Maybe for the last time..."

After the first gathering we went over to the new building that replaced our beloved Fairhope-tile Arts and Crafts Building, an auditorium with all the charm of the wedding chapel of a Holiday Inn (not my phrase, but I had to steal it here), and recited the prayer of the school, probably written by Marietta Johnson herself:

Give us thy harmony, oh Lord,
That we may understand
The beauty of the sky, the rhythm of the soft wind's lullaby,
The sun, the shadows, of the woods in the spring,
And thy great love,
That dwells in everything.

I read a chapter of my book Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree, to trigger memories and kick off the event with a positive punch. A speech of gratitude followed, and I was surprised with a beautiful silver bowl, engraved to me for the work I've done in holding the school together in recent years. I could not have been more surprised and touched, and will keep this trophy in a place of honor.

The feel-good events continued without a break from then on. We had a varied potluck supper and time to mingle until late in the evening. The next morning the new library hosted a talk by Dr. Paul Gaston about the role of the school in his life, and the place of the school in the context of the educational system. He is a gentle, wonderful speaker, a citizen of the world and a favorite son of Fairhope (whose grandfather, E.B. Gaston founded the town). Afterwards, people all over the hall spoke up about their memories, capped by a dynamic comment by the indomitable Elsie Arnold Butgereit summing up the need for continued support and attention to the school as well as personal heartfelt gratitude for the benefits all who attended it, however briefly, have reaped all their lives.

There was an Open House on the campus, managed by a dynamic group of younger people who happen to have children at the school today. The students demonstrated the folk dancing that they have been taught by Melanie King, a sprout from the Arnold strain, who happens to have a daughter in kindergarten. Melanie is a single mom whose child is being raised, not only by her and her huge, loving family, but by the village that is the Organic School.

Saturday night we all folk danced at a party in the Methodist Fellowship Hall. I went to that one with some trepidation, but as soon as I heard that familiar music from the past, you couldn't stop me dancing.

We wound up with a brunch, more mingling, hugging, and the reassuring news that we had reached our fund-raising goals for the time being.

I went in to the Museum, expecting to stay an hour, not expecting any traffic. There was someone waiting there when I arrived, and just then Edna Rockwell Harris showed up to donate some pottery made at the school in the 1940's by her and her cousin Helen Baldwin Telfer. Then Dr. Donald Rockwell dropped in to see if we could scan his graduation photo. Everybody was sitting around chatting when Shaw Smith Waltz came in with her husband to see if we needed any of the things she had saved, including a 1945 Organic Merry-Go-Round (the school's mimeographed newspaper), which we didn't have. Then two young ladies, one who had attended the school in the 1ate 70's and 80's, came in. The graduate confessed that in 1983 she had checked out a book about Shakespeare and Francis Bacon from the school library and then came in to return it. We looked at the old volume and noted it had been published in 1916!

Everybody began strolling out when Malcolm Campbell (SOE 1942) and his wife Jeanne dropped in, and we all had a wonderful chat.

It was quite a day, the end of a wonderful weekend. I'm still too tired to sleep, but don't worry. That will come.

Oh, I forgot to mention this. I sold two books.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Selling a Dead Book

October 6, 2007

I had great expectations for my book Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree when I paid for the reprinting of it a couple of years ago. Luckily it's a pay-as-you-go online operation that gives me a chance to order books on demand. Luckily, because the demand has been dwindling over the years since the book sold its first thousand copies in late 2003. A little book of memories of an odd little American town in the 1950's, it apparently has not all that much long-term appeal.

However, I refuse to believe that its chances are dead. You can find out about the content of the book by clicking here. When I wrote it I thought of it as a low-key kind of Lake Wobegone Days that would reach out to people who had never heard of Fairhope and had no interest in the economic theory from which it sprang. I thought the characters I remembered would resonate generally and entertain audiences I could hardly imagine.

Over time there has naturally been less interest in the book, which stirred a great number of people after its first publication in late 2001. I thought, however, that the best place for a final splash would be at the reunion of graduates and former students from the Marietta Johnson School , an event that has been in the works for over six months and is taking place this very minute.

We expected 200 visitors to town for the reunion, but the guest list turned out to be more like half of that. Each event during the weekend has drawn a different crowd. The shocking thing is, with all the pats on my back by all the people attending -- they even gave me a silver bowl for service beyond the call of duty over the past 9 years -- not one book has been sold.

I tell myself they all already own copies. They have bought enough for gifts that they don't need to stock up on any more. I tell myself the readers for this book haven't really found it yet, and they will, one by one, year by year.

I also remind myself that there are two more events as part of the reunion -- a folk dance party tonight and a good-bye brunch tomorrow. Maybe they're just waiting.

Or, maybe I'll become one of those authors with a box of 50 unsold copies of her only book, a little treasure that she once wrote about her home town. Maybe I'll lug those copies around for the rest of my life and start giving them away at every opportunity. I know this sounds churlish, so much so that I am reluctant to post it at all. But you just don't know how hard it is to sell a book whose time has come and gone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why People Don't Move

October 2, 2007

Here I am all up in the air about another life change and wondering if that means there's something wrong with me. I remember a lifelong friend, when we were in our early 30's, saying to me, "Have you ever noticed that every five years you change your whole life?"

Psychiatrists say there are a finite number of personality types. Surely this tendency to overturn and uproot is an aspect of one -- "the mover," perhaps. "The hysteric," perhaps. "The seeker," perhaps. I and other movers would probably prefer the latter -- it sounds so lofty and poetic.

I've lived in Fairhope for 19 years now, having lived my first 20 here and then taking off to other climes for a good 40 (divided not in five-year increments, but close to it if you count the moves-within-moves). Over this recent period of time in Fairhope I've lived in six different abodes. I really thought The Captain's House would be the last in my life, and that I'd stay here until I was ready for assisted living. I thought I'd stick it out for another 20 years or so. I spent considerable time and money feathering this nest with furniture and accessories that I felt enhanced the Fairhope ambiance of the place, from Mission antiques (the furniture style I remember from older homes here in my childhood) to the addition of air conditioning for 21st Century needs. I attended yard sales, went to Thrift Shops, antique auctions, and actually invested in a few rather expensive antique pieces over 20 years.

Now that I'm fixin' to move again I'm beginning to think it's other people who are wrong. They are bound to stay in the same place year after year for one main reason. Going through their stuff -- editing, purging, and just plain cleaning up -- is too damn hard. I watch "Mission: Organization" on HGTV, and "Everything Must Go!" on BBC America, and I see the kind of homes most people live in; I see their attachment to their stuff. In recent days have conditioned myself to look at every piece in my house individually and decide if I can live without it, and if so, put it in the yard sale pile or plan to give it away. I put all the small things into cartons, and deal with the cartons one by one, picking up every piece of paper, every object, looking at it, and making a decision.

It ain't easy, but in a way it's kind of fun. It's a wonderful feeling to be shed of the piles of stuff in the closets. I don't know how many cartons, files, and drawers full of papers I had labelled "Writings," I have found in my recent purges. I don't know what makes people today think they need so many clothes. I don't know who will want to buy my pottery collection, or my Mission furniture, but I don't see any of it fetching much in the marketplace. I'm even going to sell my car and travel by the great New Jersey rail system, saving money on insurance, upkeep, and gasoline as I go forward into the sunset.

And I don't care what anybody says, it's the people who don't move who are missing something. If you're standing still you're probably not getting anywhere. I may not be either, but staying here is going backward. I know why people don't move.