Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Where you go, I go."

Our initial plans for living in New York included staying there for five years and then finding a place where "we could grow old" and be close to our grandkids.   Five years flew by and we found ourselves agreeing to stay another year which turned into eighteen months.  There wasn't a day that I regretted that decision.  Early in June of this year,  after Paul had decided to retire from corporate life, Harvard called and offered him a teaching position at the Business School.  This had been a life long dream of his and was an exciting opportunity.  Returning to Boston for a third time seemed like a good plan.  I had always felt like I had left unfinished business in Boston.

We called the realtor who assured us that the market in New York is very slow during the summer and we shouldn't expect to sell our apartment until well after the Jewish Holidays in September.  Since the condo was in excellent condition and didn't need much work to prepare it for market, we decided to list it for a couple of weeks in July to see if we got any bites and then take it off the market until Rosh Hashanah.   We had purchased a home in Belmont and Paul could set up shop there and I would commute back and forth until the NYC condo sold.  Long story short, we had two offers in two weeks and accepted one offer and end of story.  Not having to leave the condo "staged" for future buyers we decided to pack up and leave, giving us only a week to say our good-byes.

My first farewell was with my older gentlemen friends who greeted me everyday on my way to and from the gym.  We hugged and they assured me that if Paul ever grew tired of me, they were ready to take me on.  Nice to have a back-up plan.  I then stopped in to see Mr. Tom who had been our dry cleaner for the past six years.  He was behind the counter when I walked in and I said I had come to say good-bye.  He immediately walked around the counter put his hands on my shoulders and said, "Miss Jan, is this move a good thing for you?"  When I told him of Paul's teaching job at HBS, Tom thought for a minute and said, "Oh, Harvard, now that is a very good thing."   We both cried as we shared a last hug.  Mr. Tom had sat by his window on Amsterdam and had seen me pass by sometimes multiple times in a day.  He had seen me dressed up, he had seen me in by work clothes, he had seen me with friends, and best of all, he had seen me with our children and grandchildren.  He had watched my life from his seat behind the counter,  and I knew I had been watched over.

We left many dear friends in the city, too many to name, but the best thing about friends is that you get to take them wherever you go.  They have touched our lives and will remain in our hearts forever.

There wasn't much time to say good-bye to my favorite neighborhoods or favorite places. Fortunately Paul and I had had the last round up on the carousel a few weeks before. We had ridden our bikes to the Ididor and Ida Straus memorial on Broadway Avenue. There is a beautiful small park in their memory. They were aboard the Titantic when it sunk. Isidor was offered a place on the lifeboat with his wife, but he refused when there were still women and children still needing to be rescued. Ida refused to leave her husband saying, "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." Her words were witnessed by several in lifeboat #8 and they were last seen standing arm and arm on the deck of the sinking ship. Such a romantic story and one we discovered one day as we were walking home from some errands. It was one of my favorite discoveries in our neighborhood.

The day we left, the doormen and porters lined up for hugs and we all said a tearful good-bye. We had shared a lot over the past 6 1/2 years. They will miss me for the Scooby Snacks and cookies I made for them every so often, but they will miss Paul because in their words, "he was like a father figure to them."

I still remember arriving in New York and wondering if I could ever learn to live there. I didn't know how to grocery shop there, carry dinner to families who needed a meal, transport items from Home Depot that were cumbersome, gather in enough supplies for expected house guests, find a repairman I could trust. I didn't know if I could learn to drive in the city. Turns out, I learned how to do all of these things and I loved it.

This will be my last post on Janhattan.  I am not sure I will begin a blog for Boston---Jassachusetts just doesn't have the same ring to it as Janhattan.  I loved living in New York  and there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think to myself, " I can't believe I live in New York!"  Paul knew it was going to be hard for me to leave the city and offered to keep our apartment there so we could return for visits.  While I know he was serious, I knew that didn't make any economic sense.   And it was time to leave.  We have other adventures waiting for us.  I can't wait to discover what they might be.  

 And to my sweet husband who has taken me to some amazing places, "where you go, I go."