Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

 Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your NameYes, that’s a shameless reference to the ‘Cheers’ theme song, but I’m entitled since I lived in the Boston area for 30 years.  Yes, I’m a Boston Girl.  😉

I’ve taken leave of The City (NYC, that is..Boston is The Hub) to check-in with and enjoy my beach house in RI for a very long weekend.  I haven’t been here since January.  Normally, I come at least once per month all year long (who needs the Hamptons when you have RI?), but since I joined the Newtown Stress and Trauma Relief Project in January, I’ve spent nearly every weekend in Sandy Hook CT working trauma.  I’ve needed to get back to my life and happily, my daughter Nora has joined me.  Mother-daughter time.  YAY!!!  I’m excited because she and I have always been close and vacation well together.  I miss her dearly, even though she lives in Brooklyn (if you live in Manhattan, you understand.  Brooklyn is like another state or even country.) Even as I write this, she’s texting, asking for me to make my shrimp salad sandwiches and steamed little necks.  😉  I’m so happy to be a Mom again, cooking and fussing on my 20-something gorgeous daughter.

I arrived late last night so it wasn’t until this morning that I could view the scene.  I have a beautiful property here, well blessed by the Nature Spirits who seem to be everywhere.  This is South County RI, a favored rest-stop for migratory birds on the flyway.  We see all kinds of wildlife here, including bobcats.  Bunnies are back.  Foxes are back.  Deer never left.  Sparrows are still sleeping and breeding in my eves.  Nature is in full flush.  I’m in heaven.

I got up early and fed the plants.  I have 1/2 acre of rock wall and beach roses (planted by hand years ago) that are taller than I am now.  I fed them and the rest of the gardens on my property since rain is in the forecast – I want that rain to drive that organic fertilizer deep.  I love the plant kingdom, having descended from generations of gardeners in sync with nature.  My paternal grandmother, abandoned by her husband back before FDR created our social web of support, a woman who had to put her 4 kids into foster homes and orphanages while she worked as a chef for rich people in NY and LI, learned gardening from their Japanese gardener.  Although she died when I was 4, I remember her gardens very well.  She is why I drink tea to this day.  😉  My father, her son, was a master gardener who passed that onto all of his kids and grandkids.  I fancy myself an excellent gardener, an organic gardener.  So my property looks AWESOME.

Hurricane Sandy struck RI too and did a small bit of damage to this sweet house that has weathered hurricanes since 1939 when it was built.  Sandy hit the shoreline here pretty hard (though inflicting nowhere near the damage of New Jersey and New York), washing the dunes away with their tenacious sea roses and grasses.  The town has replaced the sand but not the vegetation.  I’m not sure why they didn’t plant at least sea grasses to anchor the sand.  The scene on the beach road is pretty apocalyptic still.  People are rebuilding houses there which seems silly to me.  This was yet another lesson in letting go…

I’m worried about this season’s storms since weather patterns are changing and its clear there is just more energy in the system to create bigger storms.

Mother Nature always wins.  I just want to be on Her side.

Last night I went to one of my favorite local restaurants, The Cove, for dinner.  I’ve been coming here regularly for the last 13 years and never once has the owner let on that she remembered me.   I love their fried oysters (the best anywhere), but they rarely serve them for some reason.  Last night after I was seated, one of the wait staff approached to ask me how I knew that fried oysters were on the menu, since they haven’t served them for months.  ???  I told her I haven’t been here for months and we got to talking.  Turns out they know full well who I am and they know I love the oysters.  Within 20 minutes, all of the wait staff had made their way to my table to say hi and check in, which has never happened before.  It was wonderful.  And when I left, the owner smiled, looked me right in the eye and said, “welcome home”.  I felt in…Big time.  I’m an official ‘local’.  Welcome home indeed.

Tonight Nora and I went back to the Cove to eat.  The line was out the door, the parking spilling into the Post Office parking lot across the road.  Uh oh.  With a one hour wait, Nora and I headed for the bar to relax and wait out the wait.  Then I heard a loud “MARILEE” being yelled across the room by Robin, the owner I mentioned above.  She put us at the head of the line and we were seated in 30 seconds, before we could even take a seat at the crowded bar.  I had no idea she even knew my name since we never gave a name when we arrived.   Another sign that i’m an official ‘local’.  😉

It was kareoke night.  Nora went outside at one point because she got overwhelmed with the loud noise and the whole scene of middle-aged white people singing at dinner.  The place exploded when someone chose “Sweet Caroline”, the Red Sox anthem.  This is Red Sox country, Baby.  Everyone sang along…and loudly.  Nora fled out the door.  I stayed and sang.  It was New England at its finest…so many good people.  You can’t beat the accent.  Love New England, though after so long in NYC it feels strange to be among all white people.

Not sure what we’ll do for the next few days.  Sleep and be a family again.  Put the ACs in for the summer.  Cook and laugh and talk about relationships (is there anything else between women everywhere?).  I’m so grateful this beautiful soul picked me as a Mom.  We’re finding our way after the disruption of divorce and dysfunctional relationships.  This peaceful property can heal just about anything, so I’m enjoying the ride.




Less Stress, More Success

"Her book has added to her reputation as a kind of guru of the movement to tame the college admissions frenzy.”
New York Times
Our book group just read your book and it sparked more conversation than we’ve had in the seven years we’ve been reading together. Being successful professionals with busy lives and even busier children, we’re all trying to figure out how to find the time to just stop and enjoy our lives amidst so much pressure. Some of us find ourselves quoting you to our husbands and kids now, so you are our hero. ;-)
Sophia N. and Nancy R.

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