Monday, May 17, 2010

Homemade Magic

 Photos by the wonderful husband, Adam

I love my town, but when I came here five years ago, I didn’t.  I wanted to put in my three years and get out.  I thought it was crowded with derelict strip malls, SUVs the size of destroyers, and people who built the present on the tombstones of the Confederacy. 

Perhaps some of that is true-- I’ll wager more than some--but this city, I’ve learned, is so much more.  It has noteworthy authors, passionate booksellers, aspiring writers, and voracious readers who’ve knit a literary community.  We have art galleries, sports teams, gourmet restaurants and dives, unicycle riders, and quaint strips.  On Saturday the husband and I went to Carytown to stop by a local music store, browse an independent used bookstore, and buy homemade milkshakes at the shop next door.  Then, on the walk to the car, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year.  That is when a revelation hit me: the city hadn’t changed, but my interaction with it had, and I’ve fallen in love.

Four years ago I went to work and back home, to school and back home, to the grocery store and back home (you get the idea), and the tasks of daily life showed me a mundane, unattractive place to live, but once I dug in, I fell in love.  Sure, there are things I dislike.  There are still abandoned shops while Short Pump continues to grow, there are still people who romanticize the Lost Cause, and there are still vehicles that could be used to invade small countries, but there are many more creative people who’ve reinvigorated the River City

I know I’m not the only one to rediscover my home.  The lovely Lucy introduced me to an arts community in her home that I never would have guessed existed, and I grew up there.

So I have a question for you.  How do you feel about where you live?  Was there a defining moment when your opinion of your town changed?       


  1. Love your post! And gives me hope as I move forward in my life. I am feeling all misty for my home-town, the Upper West Side of NYC. (Even though we are here now, we are relocating upstate in six weeks!) I will miss the diversity, energy, and community-feeling. I can't walk down the street in my neighborhood without seeing a friend or an acquaintance, or having a friendly exchange with a stranger. Of course I complain about "mall-ification" when we lose another mom & pop store to the big conglomerates, but it's been my home for almost 42 years. New Yorkers get such a bad rap, but we are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I like to think that NYC's lessons of acceptance and kindness will follow me to Katonah, NY!

  2. Léna,
    I am sure those lessons will follow you. You'll inspire your new neighbors and share some of NYC's lessons with them.

    Only six weeks? You'll have to let us know how many boxes of books you pack. My husband and I like to count that sort of thing.

    Will you still be involved with your community projects or will it be too difficult with the commute?

    Best of luck with your move and all the changes you have coming in 2010. This is a big year for you, huh?

  3. YES! Big year. Over the years we've had to haul multitudes of boxes of books to store in my mom's attic as our family has multiplied. It will be more interesting to see how many boxes we un-pack (and rediscover). Still haven't signed a contract on this house, but are close (pending septic inspection) and have to be out of our apartment June 25th! Will commute at first FOR SURE!!!!! Freaking out? YES!