No, not the blog, just physically. We are moving off the hill in Roxbury (Boston) to a hill in Brattleboro, VT. As one of my Vermont friends said, “Welcome to Bernieland!”
You may – or may not- have noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in quite a while but things have been a little crazy what with house hunting, getting loans, etc. And now that we have a target closing date there are all the details to deal with. Home inspection, insurance, changing everything to another state and finding contractors when you are not on the scene is a challenge. My advice is to have a good broker. And then there is packing.
Packing up 20 years of stuff spread out in a 14 room house is quite an experience. At least we are moving to another large house with attic and a basement that is dry and are sorting and culling rather than downsizing. The trick is to imagine where things will go in the new house. That’s what I do at 3 am when I can’t sleep – along with worrying about what kinds of quirks the new house will have. My grandson said the other night that he thinks it will take at least a year to know all about the new house. He’s 10.
I’ve been sorting though papers and have found a lot of treasures in piles and boxes. For example, I found some old letters and emails from two of my best friends. One of them died of a rare form of cancer, the other now has a form of dementia. We were all so happy and cheerful 12 and 15 years ago. And then there are all the loose photographs from back when there was actual film. Remember, people would take pictures and then send prints of the best ones so a lot of them are still in envelopes which assists in identification. And then there are all the ones my husband and I have taken. At one time I did try to put them in albums, but that fell of the radar early on. Now they are just loose or in the envelopes they came back from the developer in. They will mean something some day. My husband and I are our respective family historians so we have many of the old family albums. It was a wonderful moment to find the picture I had thought was lost: My grandfather, the Reverend Kyogoku, with his friend, D.T. Suzuki. (A subject for a future post.) That photograph is now digitized and saved in several places.
I am an admitted pack rat and had saved old Christmas cards carefully bundled by year. I ditched the cards, but saved the pictures. One long Vermont winter I will pull them out to group chronologically by family. I also had papers from a lot of the big projects I’ve worked on over the years in Boston. I kept the final products but have recycled most of the work papers. I have program books and announcements and copies of speeches from (to mane a few) the Jackson Square redevelopment (the early years); “Women on the Edge of Time”, the annual conference of the National Commissions for Women held in Boston in 1999; the creation of the Massachusetts Commission for Women; the first statue of women on Commonwealth Avenue; grants I helped write for domestic violence efforts; and booklets I put together for the Boston Housing Authority on civil rights issues. When I last moved 20 years ago, I did the same thing with my stuff from Richmond which is still in neatly labeled boxes. I also have political stuff from the various campaigns I’ve worked on – from George McGovern to Elizabeth Warren. My lesson learned is to try to file things as you go along. At least I’m starting with good intentions but I think I had them after Richmond. Oh, well.
And then there are the books. All 7,000 or so that are moving with us. A small library. I’ve been cataloging them on LibraryThing, for the last two years, but I’m only about half finished. (LibraryThing is a great way to keep track of your books even if you just have a few.)
There is lots of excitement and anxiety on Fort Hill these days. The cats are confused by all the piles of boxes and things that keep getting moved around as we pack. We talk to them and try to explain, but all they know is that things are different and they aren’t happy about it. Mr. Bunter cries and Harriet eats Kleenex out of the boxes. They are just as stressed out as their humans.
I will continue to write about life in a new place, living in a small town, and – always national politics. My location will change but FortLeft will endure – perhaps a little irregularly for a while, but I hope not with as long a gap as just occurred.