Sunday, March 29, 2009

Little Potato

March was a much more reflective month than it usually is. In the last eleven years, I've been dedicated to producing what seemed like week long festivals in honor of Ben's birthdays. Now he is eleven and big parties are being replaced by a special gift or overnight excursion. I can see that bittersweet look in his eyes as he watches his little boyhood slip through his fingertips. He still wants to want those experiences - the pageantry of balloons, a noisy crowd of kids, too many gifts and too many sweets. Tweenhood is all about going two steps forward and one step back on a daily basis.

So what does this have to do with the East Village? I've been finding it difficult to write about the neighborhood for much of the same reasons. It's coming time to go. To leave the building I've known since my birth. I don't know that this will ever be my home again -- even though I will visit from time to time and will be in the neighborhood often.

American culture tends to downplay the sanctity in a sense of place. Our economy wants us to be mobile and our character is ever onward and upward. But love it or hate it, we all sprouted somewhere and it's in our blood. In many ways, I'm at peace with our next steps. The generations of family who walked these same streets have taught me all the things they thought I should know. They've given me their blessing and I see it every day in the spirit of my son.


OHN said...

It is so true. I have lived in my town for 27 years, yet when asked if I am "from here", I STILL say no, and refer to the town where I was born (and moved from, at the age of 10). I lived in town #2 from age 10-17, left for college, graduated, landed in this town and have been here since, longer than the other two combined.

Recently my 19 year old son told me he hopes to return to this town after college to raise a family. Roots do run very deep.

east village idiot said...

Thank you for sharing that insight. I think my son will feel the same way you do.

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

The East Village will always be a part of you, evi, and of Ben. And while our national obsession with mobility does keep us on the move, I think the roots always remain. And given that mobility, your new home, wherever it is, will give you what your life needs now. But that's not to say you'll never return to New York--or move on to some new place, for that matter.

We love Chicago, our home now for a second time. But a number of interesting places have been popping up on our radar screens lately--Portland, Oregon, New Mexico, even rural Michigan. What is most interesting to me is that I'm able to imagine living happily and productively in places so different from where I am now.

Dr. Deb said...

What a beautiful post. I have those same issues and feelings with my daughter, who will be 16. It goes by so fast, and feels so fragile and precious.

I think it is a very hard thing to move from a sense of identity, of familiarity, of so much history. I totally get where you are coming from with this.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I've moved so many times that I don't have real roots anywhere, but there are places that really tug at my heartstrings (NYC being one of them, Burlington VT another).

But why do you have to move?