As I said at the time …
Aha! Thanks for both your latest edition and the letter. So I finally get down to replying, after many intentions to do so … and wind up with writer’s block instead! Last night, all fired up to get this piece down, I instead encountered a message from my Norton Utilities warning me that my PC was on the verge of death if I didn’t defragment the hard drive immediately … which took up the next hour. In the portion of the evening remaining, I wound up replying to my honey’s last email, which naturally took far more time than I had expected … and then went to bed without a real dinner because, well, time was up and two martinis were kicking in.
Yes, so much has changed since we last communicated in any depth. I know how unsettling it is to move and then be living out of boxes. Roommates, too, can unsettle any routine/rhythm in your life – and it’s so crucial to find ways of maintaining those quiet times/spaces in our individual lives if we’re to nurture our own vitality or at least any depth in our experience and outlook.
In a nutshell, I’m preparing for a major move in the next several months. Get out your atlas and notice where Manchester and Dover are situated in New Hampshire. While my job is in Manchester, the Quaker Meeting I attend is in Dover – a congregation founded in the early 1660s by three traveling English women. John Greenleaf Whittier, whose parents married in our meetinghouse, has a long poem about the persecution of those fearless visiting ministers (and so, you know my outlook on the failure of many denominations to recognize the ministry of women). In the best of conditions, the trip is 40 minutes each way, but the route is quickly being built up and will no doubt be heavily congested in the next half-dozen years. At any rate, because of the social life of our Meeting – between committee functions, workshops, presentations, dinner invitations, even parties and picnics – I’ve been considering moving in that direction for some time, but the idea of a commute, plus the further distancing myself from Boston, now an hour away, kept me in place here where I am.
That is, until things began to connect.
You mention “being single for two years now,” and that rather parallels the way my life had been going. I realized there was no point jumping into a relationship if it wasn’t going to have a chance of continuing for the rest of my life. For so much of my life, it has seemed that when I finally did connect with someone, she could offer only half of what I needed, and my love-life history appears as a zig-zag course between two polarities.
Jump ahead again, and I’m now spending half of my free time living out of a duffel bag and half trying to catch up on things here on the hill – and feeling not totally in place in either location. The relationship itself is incredibly solid, in ways I’ve not experienced before. This is the woman I’ve dreamed of, one who could go to the symphony with me or to the mountains (we’ve done both) and felt equally at ease. Someone who could understand the importance of Meeting – both as worship and as a community – in my life. Who could enjoy a whale watch (throw up three times and still smile) and Canobie Lake amusement park down the road. One who owns as many books as I do – and perhaps a larger vocabulary – while maintaining both girlish delight in life and an earth mother ability of keeping a household afloat. One who can be intensely intellectual and also viciously humorous. As well as compassionate elegantly frugal. The upshot is a recognition that we will marry – just when is the question, depending, in part, on the reality of college aid for the elder and health benefits for the younger child.
What we are looking at now is the move – whether to leap straight into the purchase of a home, or to find a large apartment first. I’d love to skip the apartment step, having packed and unpacked too many times already. But I’d like to have more in hand for a down payment, and prices are ballooning again. I’ve already seen that bubble burst, cutting some valuations in half. Fortunately, we recognize we have no reason to rush … and just beginning to dream about some of these matters has both my imagination and hope reawakening.
I realize that even as we piece together the essentials for this move, there’s more discussion – and give and take – than I had experienced in marriage when purchasing a house. A place, in fact, that would be perfect for this set-up if we could only find it, and afford it, here.
Or, as the elder one and her boyfriend call all this, Geriatric Love. Never mind that her age and her mother’s combined finally surpass my own – by one year!
Now, of course, for the Geriatric Love poem all this brought about:
with your sixteen-year-old daughter
and her twenty-year-old boyfriend
our tongues meet.
That, actually, inspired from events while watching a video of The Full Monty together nearing midnight.
Or her revenge, in the conclusion of a long bit of verse concocted at Ogunquit beach in Maine, July 5, air temperature 100, but the ocean 56 F, and 20 mile-an-hour winds blasting sand:
Somebody, come rescue me, please!
This is all the fault of my mother’s Main Squeeze!
As I’ve said to others, we had a choice between Hell or Hell Froze Over – and all the Novocaine delights of being pushed into the frigid Ogunquit River as the icy tide rolled in. Egads! Only a week before, arriving before low tide (the timing, it seems, makes a huge difference), we had floated blissfully more than a mile down that river, on our backs, along the dunes and beach, only to run back upstream and jump in again.
Well, you get a sense of how the summer is going. Add a bit of Junior Chautauqua at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth (a collection of antiquity along the lines of Williamsburg, Virginia, but covering a wider time span and less contrived in its presentation) and British Coaches’ Soccer Camp. Many new experiences for me, to put it mildly.
For another take, click here.