Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Five: Location, Location, Location

Singing Owl over at RevGalBlogPals has this to say this week:

"My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.
Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?"  (People who haven't lived in so many places can do fantasies; but that wouldn't be me.)

1. Brunswick, Maine: that's where I live now.  I haven't moved as often as Singing Owl's husband, but I've moved a good many times, so I'm fairly adaptable.  But I have waited a long time to get back to Maine, and I'm very happy to be here. I like that it's a small town (21.000) with a fairly cosmopolitan atmosphere because of the Naval Air Station (due to close in a couple of years) and Bowdoin College (been here since 1798 and set to stay another 200 years at least). Without even leaving the town limits you can be in a rural area, see Casco Bay and the Androscoggin River, yet also see movies both mainstream and independent, art galleries galore, and lots more. My house is within walking distance of our wonderful library, which readily acquires for me anything they don't already have on their shelves. Bowdoin has numerous cultural events that are free to the public. I could go on and on, and probably should to improve the housing market here, but I won't. By the way, the winters aren't that bad at all.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: I understand that Maine comes high on the list for good places to raise children, but for us, Minneapolis was a great place, and I think the kids would agree (two of them still live there and one would be pleased to get back, Minneapolis churches please copy).  Big enough to have a lot of city amenities but small enough so that the middle class has not left the city entirely; incredible cultural opportunities; and we belonged to a wonderful small church there. Of course the most important things that happened there were the births of our two daughters. (Our son was born in a small town in southern Minnesota, and I actually enjoyed the three years we lived there, too, but if I'm going to keep this list down to 5 I'll have to leave it out).

3.  Monterey Peninsula, California: I sort of think everyone should have the opportunity to live in California for a year or two, especially sometime in their 20s.  The really important thing that happened while I was there was that I met Onkel Hankie Pants. This happened toward the end of my stay, though, and I was enjoying life there even before that. Lots of natural beauty, weather that I thought was just fine although classmates from San Diego thought they were somewhere near the Polar Ice Cap, and again, a lot of cultural activities. Plus, since I was there under the auspices of the U. S. Army, I didn't have to worry too much about money, which was good, since I wasn't making much -- but it was enough.

4. Fairfield, Connecticut: When I was in eighth grade, and we were living in a cramped, rented duplex in Milford, Connecticut, my father came home with the news that we were moving a few miles away to Fairfield. A planned Nike missile site in Westport had been scrapped, and the housing that had been built in Fairfield for the Nike folks was going spare. So the military rounded up all the recruiters, National Guard advisers, etc. in the surrounding area and offered them three-bedroom ramblers in a town with an excellent school district in exchange for their housing allowances. We moved in November.  The house and school district were all that was promised, and besides that, I quickly made friends for life -- the same ones I get together with in South Carolina each spring.  I can't even recount all the new experiences and horizon-broadenings I had courtesy of my friends and their families -- my first live theater performance, my introduction to Nero Wolfe, and oh yes -- my first taste of Yoo-Hoo! I also had several of the best teachers of my educational career.  I was very fortunate; I don't think any of us could afford to live in Fairfield now. I'm glad I was there when I was.

5. Bowdoinham, Maine: My hometown, and only a few miles from where I live now. I'm thinking of a couple of specific times as well as  a place, because we lived there at various times during my father's Army career and then full-time after his retirement, but since I was a senior in high school when we moved back, my best and best-remembered experiences there were in the winter and spring of 1966 and the summer of 1968. The house my parents had built when I was small was still pretty basic when we moved back there; in fact we still had an outdoor privy that first winter (brr!)  But the chance for frequent visits with aunts, uncles, and cousins, and especially the nearness of my maternal grandparents in the next house down the road, made up for any small hardships.  Also, Brother #1 and I attended the same school for the first time in a while, and our walks to and from the school bus (a mile and a half each way! up and down hill! in the snow!) were a lot of fun and cemented our relationship forever. By the way, Bowdoinham is featured in the current issue of Down East, the Magazine of Maine, and there is a picture of Uncle Nepco and his morning coffee pals in the article! (Only in the print version, though. But lots of newsstands have it, and some libraries).

I've lived in other places, too. Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, and Berlin, Germany; Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Townsend, Georgia; El Paso, Texas; somewhere in the vicinity of Fort Sill, OK; and others mentioned above. I actually liked all of them quite well. I'm just adaptable.


Singing Owl said...

Oooh, what wonderful places you have lived! I love Minneapolis, and I know it is going to be hard for my daughter and her husband to leave there to move over this way. New England is one of the few areas of the continental US I've never been, and I've wanted to since I was a child. Maybe someday...and you can show me around. ;-)

Processing Counselor said...

These sound like some great places. I'd like Minnesota...except for the weather.

Sally said...

I like your thinking about California.... Great descriptions and thoughts about the places you've called home.

SonShineIn said...

There's nothing wrong with the weather in Minneapolis! Here it is already October 25th and we haven't even had the heat on yet. Which is too bad, because the gas company has big plans for all the money they expect to squeeze out of us this year.

Also, we've got jobs, housing, some of the best health care in the country, an annual Hallowe'en puppet show in the park that's like nothing you've ever seen and 75 professional theater companies.

Anyone who has been to Omaha can attest that, even if we lacked professional baseball, we would be a heck of a lot better place to live than some other places.

Barbara B. said...

Brunswick sounds great! I love the "Minne-apple" too.