Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving back to Pittsburgh at age 62?!

I am excited this week at the prospect of moving back to Pittsburgh, my hometown. It was a sudden decision and it's not definite yet. My kids are grown and all are nearby, so in that respect I'm blessed beyond words. But the they times are a' changing.

It's too expensive and hard to be 62, single, and to maintain a big old farmhouse in a resort town just so I can have two or three big family dinners every winter. The market is a mess and I'm losing out there, but gas prices and my real estate taxes went up last year. Running my car is too expensive, even with the recent drop in prices.

One of my daughters, the only one with a child, my dear grand-daughter, blithley mentioned that they are thinking of moving back to Santa Cruz where people are more sympatico to youthful ideas, and I don't blame them. Another daughter mentioned that she'd like to give Western Pennsylvania a try. Another daughter is beginning a job in New York, my son travels all the time. My daughter and son-in-law who live around the corner, and who plan to stay in this area, are more than enough reason to make me stay here, but I end up having to call my daughter and son-in-law every time there's a storm or a bat or a snake in the house, and depend on them to cut my grass without adequate compensation....there's a lot of it....and they're going to get sick of me after awhile! My Monday night ladies group- "Boggle"- is so dear to me- we are all of similar mindbents and are really good friends- but really- the whole area is cost-prohibitive and I need to go back to my roots, to the dear hearts and gentle people who live and love in my hometown.

I can come visit Cape May. I have options. Trains are easy. The thought of living in a large (2000 sq, feet) affordable condo in Fox Chapel, with a beautiful lobby and a lovely location on the road where I grew up is so comforting a thought! I could collect a small pension and even social security and find a little job in the community where I grew up. Here in Cape May I have held jobs where English is helpful but not required, (working in a gift shop at the ferry turned out not to be as romantic as I thought it would be)....I have worked at a vegetable stand with an 83 year old woman I loved like a grama, watching the vegetables roll in through the seasons, and listening to her stories...I have spent a dozen years in the school system as a social worker...trying to do good in people's lives, but meeting with resentment every step of the way if I used a vocabulary word more than five letters long. I have dumbed myself down, like America itself, trying to use that common touch I inherited from my parents and grandparents who simultaneously transcended it in their private lives. But I am getting dumbed down so far that my mind is numb. I imagine how much fun it would be to work in a private school like my alma mater, Ellis School in Pittsburgh. How lovely it would be to daily encounter well-educated, confident, successful people. My peeps. My family, my Boggle group, some of my co-workers, my church and my friends in the community are the most important people in my life now, and I would miss them all horribly. But I need to be able to afford to live! I would miss the quirky town people I wave to here and there.... the guy at the hardware, the hot-dog vendor...but we don't even know each other's names really, they could get by without me I guess.

People move. Older people move to condos, always have. There's nothing wrong with that. There's just no condo in a beach community that is affordable and spacious. I'm used to space, lots of it. I'm used to my grand-daughter being nearby, and she recently started dancing school, and I will want to see the recital. So, like grandmothers throughout time, I'll travel to see it! And what do I do anyway? I read,I take walks, I sit at the computer, I text message my kids and they text me, and that keeps me pretty happy. I eat, I sleep. SO what difference does it make? I could probably live in a yurt in Finland. My kids are internationally-oriented, they travel all the time. They need to get on with their lives. I need to sell the house, pay off my mortgage, all my kids' college loans, live without a mortgage, and have a job I enjoy. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

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