Mary wrote The Port Townsend Leader’s "Real Life" column between April, 2006 and February, 2009. This was the last one.
Given everything else I’ve published in this column, I’m not sure why this feels so embarrassing, but here goes: This woman, who for three years has written about how much she loves Port Townsend and her life here, is moving to Seattle. Right now. To you, it must seem sudden, but as I look back through my journal, I see that I’ve been writing about the idea since September. “Seattle seems the right place to be,” I wrote then, “and yet I feel sick and teary just thinking about it.” And then one day I realized that nobody was making me leave. I wouldn’t have to go until I was ready.
In September, my niece Miranda left her home in Cincinnati to start college in Minnesota. I visited her there in October, and that did it. I realized I wanted to live on a college campus for seniors -- and I don’t mean 22-year-olds. I wanted to have friends down the hall, eat in the cafeteria, dance at mixers, and gather for campus movies. I wanted to live where somebody would probably be available just about any time to go do something fun and interesting. I envied Miranda.
Now, as I’m actually moving, I really envy her. Not so much because of where she ended up, but because her parents took her there. Sure, I’m old, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pick up and leave a life I know and love. I could really use some live-in people here to say, “It’ll be okay, Mary,” and “We’ll smooth your way, honey,” and whatever else I imagine my sister and brother-in-law said to Miranda, as they helped her carry her stuff out to the car.
But somehow, help is arriving. As I started going through my things, I found a pile of saved cards from assorted holidays. On my table today, as if it had arrived yesterday, is this one from Amy: “You are great! Try to keep that in mind when the trail to the peak of your new life gets to feeling a little too steep, and revel in the beauty of the journey whenever you can.” She sent the card in 2005, for my birthday the summer after my marriage ended. It helps me today to remember that I have already made it to one new life, a single one, and I’ll surely make it to another new one, in Seattle.
And just this week, a writer friend needed help on a website she’s launching. I volunteered as editor, and I’m so thankful I did, since she was writing about trusting oneself. I needed to be reminded that I have brains and strength and initiative. I can do this.
And I’m daring to ask for help. It’s easy to start feeling your aloneness when everything -- the closing of the bank account, the change of address, the transfer of the phone service, the cleaning of the garage -- is on you. Friends say they’ll help, but can they mean it? They do! On Thursday, I called somebody. She’s coming at 10:30 to help me wrap dishes and put them in boxes. Somebody is coming at 5 to move boxes, and tomorrow Jim will help me figure out my erratic garage door opener.
So the adventure begins. Monday morning the truck comes. With any luck, I’ll be unpacked enough to go dancing Monday night in Seattle. I have loved sharing my Port Townsend life with you, many of whom I have met only once, in the Food Co-op or at the Farmer’s Market. You have told me about posting favorite columns on your refrigerators and making my cakes for your birthday parties. Your encouragement has meant so much to me.
And of course it’s Port Townsend where I learned to love the things I can’t now find enough of here. Dance partners. Cycling buddies. Intellectual companions with plenty of time for conversation. I need more of all this, and I believe I’ll find it in Seattle. But oh, the things I’ll miss! Thank you for everything.
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