Friday, September 21, 2007

Reply to David's Comments

See comments for David Walker at the end of the previous blog entry for reference!

I like the imagery of the turtle-shell house... mine is not as easy to carry around since I am the family historian, record keeper, and genealogist. I have mountains of materials that belong in a library for those who may one day find it useful in defining their lives, their stories, their connections. Old letters, old photos, old secrets, old clothes, jewelry, memorabilia - these are as much a burden as a gift. Perhaps they are more of a burden as I continue to age...

You are blessed to have your home for 35 years in a neighborhood shared with others over time. Your stories mesh and dance in parallel harmony as you age. This is our 8th home in our 41+ years of marriage - we've had and lost many friends and neighbors over time and distance. We currently live in a townhouse community where nearly all couples work full time. While there is a diversity of ages and ethnicity's, the only thing we share are the streets as we drive in and out of the development. There is no community center, therefore little or no community. I work at home and see very few people in the course of a day - even when I walk a mile or so each day. Dog walkers come to walk the neighbor dogs, school buses bus the children away in the morning and back in the evening. Rarely do the children play outdoors - either no parent is at home or there is too much fear for the children's' safety. It's rather pathetic, or so it feels to me.

So nothing really holds us in NJ, plus the taxes and cost of living both are quite high. Eventually, we will need a one-story home and I'd like to move while we are as young as possible since the very process is intimidating at our age!

Living backwards might not be such a great idea - our friends at the end of life are our friends because of shared life's experiences. So if we were to live backwards, we'd end up losing all the meaning that comes from those connections, wouldn't we?

By the way, I've been following Melody's adventures this year, too. She writes well and has great photos to fully illustrate her text!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog when looking at prairiefibers blog. When readiing it I thought it may help you to hear my/our process. My husband and I live in a very small rural town in Missouri. We came here from the Portland OR area, Vancouver WA actually. We were there for 9 years. Before that we lived in Tucson AZ. We have lived all over the US over the years, before meeting and marrying. We have been in MO now for 5 years. We moved here as I was 50 and we wanted to set up for retirement. There is a large bass fishing well known place "Truman Lake" nearby and my husband hoped to actually be able to fish one day when he maybe gets to retire.
So far, he hasn't been able to even get home yet. He paid off a six digit hopsital bill that I ran up years ago, that's how we ended up leaving AZ. He had to become a "trucker" to follow me hospital to hospital. The debt is paid off but he has still not been able to find employment here as yet. He gets home about every 6 weeks for 4 days.
What I wanted to share with you were some things we have learned in moving and knowing many mid age people all trying to set up for the future. There were lots of people who moved to WA when they took byouts from CA firms, sold their big houses and came NW bought smaller one level homes and also many bought in manufactured home parks that were very upscale and on small golg courses. One friend who was particularly finicky and "snooty" thought she would die when having to move into the smaller manufactured home. But turned out she decorated it and put in a great cottage garden and just became crazy about it. She had a lot more time and also went swimming in the community pool at night, neither of them golfed, but they made a lot of friends while sitting on their patio watching. This kind of golf course is not the same in attitude as the high end golf communities. It was more friendly and relaxed. Eventually, grandchildren needs needed attention so they had to move back to Alameda CA and were miserable about leaving. They don't like what they have to live now, more traffic, bigger house, too much maintenance etc.
There were lots of people coming to NW area, in mid age to retire.
Not the 30's for Portland, Seattle...most looking at small communities in rural areas, and the beach communities up near Long Beach WA. The housing is very affordable and even though rain for a larger portion of the year, not half as challenging as NY, where I was raised also.
In Tucson, there are many many active adult communities, and full of people who run, volunteer and also work part time. There are some of the let's retire we're half dead places, and also the we're retired and going to drink till we're dead places...but there are mostly, we're happy and retired and we have lots to do and live for and to give places. I learned a lot there about "getting older skills" and saw a kind of non-aging aging that I hadn't been exposed to before.
This is the first time in the mid west for us. While it is a beautiful area visually and the weather is great all year, no extremes. The people our age and also even the younger ones are "really old" in their manners and lifestyles. No one has traveled and they call everyone from outside MO "outsiders". It is appalling how you would think that no one knows it is even 1980 much less 2007. Shops etc started by outsiders who also came to retire go belly up in do any good restaurants. The people resent anyone else that was not born here and so will act out in the way of not picking up your garbage or not even listening to you while you ask a question in city hall. I would have never believed it unless experinceing it. All the couples we have met who came here from CA, Texas and other places all leave within a 2 year period. So, for all the beauty, there is no getting by the "culture" or lack of it.
We meet many people who drive through from Branson MO to their other small homes in Texas. They come thru in the spring and fall.
Texas seems to be a great place for retirement for the relaxed but educated middles. We knew a few couples who left WA after raising families there and they went to Texas for retirement and loved it.
We have met people coming here from Texas now to retire as they say Texas was too hot. They were mostly in the Lexington MO area, close to Kansas City but historical small town.
We know a lot of people who had gone to Florida in all areas from Rochester, NY and Buffalo. But they have all started coming back as there is no more insurance that will cover their homes etc after all the disasters. They are not pleased to have to come back, but affording Florida is no longer viable.
I think that many from 50-75 are all milling around trying to find where to settle down for later years. The one level home and also medical facilities etc all have to be taken into view.
Maybe it's because we have more options than our parents or the last generation had.
Out of all the places, the happiest I saw elders was in Tucson AZ and some only came part of the year, mostly from east coast. Those in Tucson because they are the majority have all they need and also everything is designed to meet their needs.
We would go back there, but I am highly allergic to sand now. Pity. And while we did like the Portland OR area, we couldn't even get a table in a restaurant as we would be ignored everywhere because of our age. That was upsetting especially after Tucson!
But OR is now for the young and forward and no one 50+ has any clout. But there is a place that many elders have gone and changed it from a farm community to a fun sort of retirement but not lifestyle in Bend OR. You can most likely Google all these places. Oh yes, and I meet many from Minn, Wisconsin etc who are sick of the crime and winters up there and who have condos in Branson MO, but they no longer like the Branson area and they are slowly moving into older small homes around Truman Lake. Many farmers from the upper states winter in Branson. That was surprising.
And there are small but wonderful communities in Mexico that are all US elders who live in enclaves together in order to make their smaller retirement $ last. They have cooks and housekeepers and nice lifestyles in small beach areas. They have PO Boxes across the border towns and just drive in to pick up SS checks etc. If you can accept the Mexican culture than that is a good choice they have told me. They have very inexpensive medicines and that is why many went there to begin with because they had to stay alive and needed the meds and they ended up well and also happier staying there. Many many middles go from AZ and Texas into Mexico for the day or weekend to get teeth care and prescriptions that otherwise they cannot afford because of retirement.
So with that I will say goodbye. I also am an artist. I work in many mediums and in my 40's finally went into some European galleries. One of them takes my work into NYC every Jan for the International Collectors Show. I have had no one to talk to nor to share with in 5 years here. I am very isolated because of the people and their lack of education. I am certainly the only adult or woman who rides a mountain bike or any bike for that matter. I am so in love with the environment that I can't even believe it. There is something about all this land and empty spaces and the quiet. I couldn't live without the quiet like this now. I try not to travel anymore as I have come to hate traffic and too many people. But I do miss the Opera in Portland and the Museums in NY. My work has deepened though because that is all I have to concentrate on.
Hope any of this helps.