Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 24 - Where You Live

I grew up in Northern New Jersey and when my immigrant parents pulled together enough money to move us out to the suburbs from their original landing place (a semi-permanent port of call for many), they bought an awkward house in a town that I am belatedly willing to admit is largely --like the cliche would have you believe-- just an exit, or rather, several exits, depending on which of the highways you're on. The town is what is left over after the highways have had their way with the land. With no sense of irony, we would ask each other which side of what highway the other person lived on. There is no main street to speak of. There is no community there that I could ever find. Maybe some people had a sense of community there, but I doubt it had anything to do with the town.

D and I moved to the DC area, where I went to college and where we had a decent number of friends, a couple of years out of school. Despite the vague idea that we'd go back to NJ someday, we have never left and I don't think we will. Even my mother has instructed us not to return. Home for me now, the home of my and D's making is in direct response to the good (mostly his) and bad (mostly mine) of our hometowns. We're in our third house together and our third city/town. I feel, this time, we may have gotten it right. Sure, we too capitulated and moved to the suburbs like so many middle class capitulators before us, fleeing the city at the first sign of procreation. And yes, most of our friends have now left that city, too. But, and I hope I'm not just making excuses here, we love this stinkin' town. We love that we can walk to the diner and the pediatrician and, most importantly, a Dairy Queen. We never really and truly loved our expensive-yet-still-oddly-transitional first neighborhood. Our second town was too remote and sprawly and that was the house of bad ju-ju, where the bad things happened (another post for another day). What we have now and what I am completely grateful for every time I drive or walk or bike around is a place where there are local businesses, great schools, an exercise trail, recreation/community centers, a main street and holy smokes, a camera club that I just joined (my first evah!). We've always had pretty nice neighbors, but we are in a tight-knit community now, something my parents haven't won in the 25 years they've lived in their house.

Tonight, one of our town's most important events is set to take place (rain or shine): the annual Halloween Parade! Of course, that exacerbates what I consider to be our biggest problem: traffic.

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