I think I am feeling a bit maudlin or nostalgic. There are many writers who comment on the concept of going home. For sixty-four years I have always identified home as New York City. I have lived in Massachusetts more than two thirds of my life and yet I still feel, or realize, that I have felt that New York is my home. This May, it will be ten years since my last parent, my mother, died. Since that time, I have only been back a handful of times. More recently, I took some time to really consider why I have been resistant, almost avoidant of going back to visit. My FHB has never been a New York City fan. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and never yearned to be a part of the city I grew up in. We would visit my mother on a fairly irregular basis but we never spent a lot of time there. Extended family and friends still call it home, but there too, we just stay away, despite invitations and opportunities. There are several older cousins of my father, who still are around and they are in their eighties and nineties. I am painfully aware that they are the last links to that generation.
My father has been gone almost nineteen years. His death was sudden, and defined for me the concept of being a half orphan. It meant that I had lost fifty percent of my childhood responsible adults. My mother kept going for another nine years and she loved “The City”. She would travel in by subway until she decided bus rides were easier and she was never in a rush, even if she was running late. She took full advantage of all that the city had to offer whether it was the New York Philharmonic or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She stayed a part of the city scene which kept her vital and engaged in the world. Then, she too, left quickly. My sister and I reeling from the loss, packed up her apartment of 58 years, and took what we wanted as memorabilia of a life we shared and moved those contents to Massachusetts. My sister continues to visit the city and maintains a strong connection to the culture. It was actually her gift to my FHB and to me, that now makes me contemplate a visit and a re-entry to the city that still holds so many memories of a childhood, teenage years and a early adulthood that I had put aside.
“Come From Away” is a Broadway show that my sister wants us to see. She says it is something she believes we would love and enjoy. We have the means and now the motivation. I love Broadway, or at least I grew up loving Broadway. My mother would bring us regularly to see musicals. We listened to the albums and learned the words and sang the songs. It was magic. I know I miss the magic. We watch the Tony awards annually and talk in vague terms of going to see a show.
We live in the safety of a small city which has music, museums and theater. We take regular advantage of all it has to offer. It’s not New York. As winter digs in I know that spring is really only nine weeks away. We forced some narcissus bulbs several weeks ago and we have lovely white fragrant blooms. In the dead of the winter, we have spring in our loft. The flowers of Park Avenue in spring, and the blossoms and green of Central Park as the city comes alive, are memories I have and I want to make again. As children we used to dress up in coats, hats, and white gloves to celebrate the spring. I’m not sure those will be in our suitcase but I remember the city being welcoming and open to strangers from all over. I have a feeling it won’t take too long to be in a ” New York State of Mind”. I’m going home.