Sent to mailing list March 30, 2010
Dear Co-conspirators in Fun,
Well, we made it! We are in the middle of the first week of our Evaluacy at the Oakland Morehouse. The journey from where we were to where we are was possibly the greatest challenge either of us had ever faced, and the results have been well worth it. Here's a taste of the first few steps of our adventure:
Once the decision was made on February 20th that we were going to leave Yonkers, the subsequent three weeks were spent pretty much non-stop sorting through, throwing out and packing 16 years of accumulated worldly possessions, and navigating the bureaucratic obligations of dismantling New York More and turning over operations of the charity, We Are Family, Inc., to the Board of Directors.
Don't worry: There was also much that was entertaining during this time. On the very first weekend we started packing, we got to experience our final major East Coast snowstorm prior to becoming residents of the State of California. It was a doozy! After 48 hours, we ended up with about 18 inches of snow, more than either of us could ever remember from one storm. The following Tuesday and Wednesday (once the roads had been cleared enough to go out), we had back-to-back days of farewell lunches at our favorite restaurant in the area, Harvest on Hudson, in Hastings. The first lunch was with my father and my father's girlfriend, and the second one was with Deborah and Keith. These meals were poignant, opportunities both for final best wishes to each other, and also for discussions of our expectations for our new life, which were just beginning to become real to us.
On Saturday, March 6, our dear housemates threw us a going-away bash which 40 people attended. It was an extremely fun and gratifying way for them to have arranged for us to say good-bye to so many good friends. Thanks, guys! The next day, Sunday, March 7, we drove into Manhattan and had a farewell brunch with my mother and sister, also a very emotional experience. My mom, in particular, made a point of letting us know that, while she was extremely disappointed that we were leaving, she completely understood it was the right move for us to make at this point in our lives.
On Saturday, March 13, the movers arrived and loaded up the boxes of stuff that we were shipping to California. That certainly felt like a milestone! My brother and sister-in-law had invited us to a dinner party that same night which was also to include my mother, my niece and nephew, my nephew's recently-pregnant wife, and her parents. During what should have been a half-hour drive to their house in White Plains, there was a violent rainstorm. (It was later rumored that the winds had reached 75 mph.) Our way was often blocked by large fallen trees, and several times we had to detour off the main road because emergency crews were clearing branches and downed power lines. We sometimes had to drive right over branches and wires, and flying debris occasionally struck the car. It felt as if we were in a movie, driving through a war zone.
Had it not been for the fact that we were on our way to be with family members whom we'd be seeing for the last time before moving 3,000 miles away, we would have considered turning back. But there was no way we were going to miss this party, and we kept going. It took us 20 minutes longer than it should have, but we got there. In addition to the relief of arriving alive, it was, needless to say, a joy to see everyone. (We always have a great time with my family.) Then, just as a truly lovely, intimate dinner was about to draw to a close, the storm took out the electricity in the entire neighborhood. We had dessert by lantern-light and then moved into the living room where we all sat quietly chatting around the fireplace in the relative dark, save for the light of the fire. Rather than risk driving home in the storm, we spent the night at my brother's. The next day we were going to be leaving Yonkers for good.
We're figuring that this may be more than enough of the tale for one sitting, so we'll sign off now. Please stay tuned for the next installment. In the meantime, to quote Thornton Wilder, ...we're hoping the rest of you have just the right amount of sitting quietly at home... and just the right amount of adventure!
Trust is built on a repetition of experience.
-- Vic Baranco