5 months of hellos & goodbyes.

I know some of you are feeling abandoned, and for this I apologize. But moving is neither pretty nor particularly interesting. It’s much closer to mourning, in fact, for those undertaking it. Over the course of the past 5 months, I have weeded through the sum total of my possessions, twice.  Assessing, analyzing, weighing the merits of each physical fragment of my existence.  And with each object – whatever it is – deciding whether it will have a place in my new life.  Much of the accumulation has been easy to part with, because it never meant much to me.  But the most difficult parting has been with the place itself.

We left Philly on March 21st; my older daughter’s ninth birthday.  We said goodbye to our home and everything we’d ever known, the comfort and support of community, and the love of family and friends.  We moved to Portland looking for a better life, seeking a place where our children could grow without fear.  It has been both easy and hard.  The first month was exhilarating, but it was also the loneliest I’ve ever known.  Now – 5 months later, I find myself moving with dexterity through once unfamiliar streets, the longing that gripped me months ago blurred to an often distant haze.  But sometimes, it just can’t be helped.

Last month we sold our house in Philadelphia.  It’s been a very mixed bag of emotions for us all, but especially for me.  I get really attached to places.  Almost as much as if they were people.  I recall times as a child, when we would travel, feeling an almost palpable sense of sadness after leaving not just loved ones – but locations.  I still feel that same acute sorrow when we leave our dear friends cabin in Vermont.  So you can imagine how difficult it was for me, having to say goodbye forever to our first home.  We went back to Philly over the 4th of July weekend, to pack up everything we’d left behind; all the bits that were too big or too trivial to make the initial trek north.  We spent the days hauling ASS.  And the nights I spent sobbing.  While fireworks flashed in the distance, my husband and I toasted our last Independence Day the way we had the previous 7.  On the roof of our home.  Now a lovely couple are hanging their clothes in what used to be our closets, and showering in what used to be our bathroom, perhaps even cleaning the mildew off the tile I never wanted to clean.  And I wish them all the best.  But now that they’re on the mortgage, it is time to move on – literally.

In three days, we move into our new house.  OUR NEW HOME!!!!  And I cannot even begin to tell you all about it.  How elated we all are!!  To have found something so lovely, so unique, so historic, to call home – is truly beyond description.  This new home, this piece of – America.  Finally, to plant our roots in the soil, to nourish, to grow and thrive in our new environment, perhaps even to seed…. TO BE HOME.  Those three words bring tears to my eyes.  So long awaited, so tenderly missed.  I love Portland.  I love Maine.  As much as any place I have ever known.  The beauty, the salty kiss of the ocean, the feeling I get in my heart each time I gaze around.. the feeling of finally being Home.

22 thoughts on “5 months of hellos & goodbyes.

  1. I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I “FELT” all the reasons for your “absence” Welcome back. I am so darn excited for you! Not to mention NO MORE listening to well you know WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention how happy i am that you have a new home!!!!
    p.s. I do totally understand about parting with the home in Philly (however you will ALWAYS have the memories of that home as you make a new one) All my love, all the best!!!!

  2. THANKS Trace!! I am trying to get back into the swing of things. Great to know I’ve been missed. Been missing you much as well. xo

    Bouncy, did you just moon me??

    Thank you Connie my love!! Cannot tell you how much your card meant – such a lovely thing to do. xoxo

    HEYYA Zhisou!! No, did not get to bring the black fridge. We now have a much smaller cream colored one. It is nice, but pretty tiny for a family of 4. Perhaps we will all go on diets?? BOY I HOPE NOT. Hope all is well!

    BAck again BOUNCY! Well the baking had been going super – but had to suspend all orders until after the move. Now the move is over, I have orders pending, and although I want to fill them there just aren’t enough hours in the day yet.. I did test drive my new oven the other day (made an apple pie) and it seems to work well. It’
    s the cutest little thing (are you sensing all my appliances are small?) about the size of a large microwave. I am not sure I can do everything I need to w/ it – we’ll see.. Perhaps I should showcase my 50s kitchen in an upcoming blog post?

    HEEEEYYYYY HAYDEN!!! I have been thinking of you so much, hoping all is well. Roller derby try-outs are THIS WEEKEND!!! Not sure if I’m gonna have time for all that now… This house is all consuming at the moment. Will keep you posted. xoxo

  3. Ohhhh. I completely missed this heartfelt and informative post, which explains my clueless comment in the following one.

    Belated congratulations– your completely merited elation is palpable. I’m so happy for you and the family.

  4. Christy, So glad you’re using the 50’s kitchen. I always liked the proximity of counters, fridge, sink, cooking surfaces. As we grew up there in Stroudwater, that cooking surface had a griddle in between the side burners. The wall oven was never right for roasting big turkeys or baking several items. Since then, I’ve had kitchens with 2 ovens. A must for baking many things on rotating basis. Is the wiring adequate to fit an additional oven below, instead of the double-doored, pullout metal shelf cupboard and the two drawers below the oven? We used the drawers to store tools and the cupboard for roasting pans, large kettles, and awkward racks. Kate

  5. HI KATE!! So great to hear from you! I am enjoying the kitchen immensely. I’ve baked three pies so far w/ varying degrees of success. The oven seems to brown the crusts super fast – even using a pie shield. I am going to check the temp w/ an oven thermometer. It may run a bit hot b.c of the small size. Will def be a fun Thanskgiving & Christmas – the bird will fill the whole thing! HAH! Thanks for the suggestion about the double oven. We are holding off on buying new appliances for now. Kitchen upgrades will suck every dollar out of your wallet if you let them, and we want to finish those 2 rooms first. I wanted to thank you also for mailing us that great story. So thoughtful! MAN I wish we had a flock of geese we could round up! The girls would be in heaven. We do have the turkeys – but they aren’t exactly cuddly. We keep feeding the chipmunks. They sure love the food, but they don’t let us get close enough to pet them. Smart creatures. Did you know some of the neighbors HATE THEM?? I simply cannot imagine.

  6. Christy,
    We always called the chipmunk(s) “Chippie” We would place roasted peanuts either on the rock wall, or at the edge of the deck, to entice him(them) to come eat. we would put water out for him (them, so they could have a drink after eatting. We would see Chippie zip down his hole either by the deck, or by the rock wall. When our parents had Esau, their golden retreiver, he would be greatly entertained by those little beasts. Hope you all are settling and enjoying the foliage and beautiful sunsets. Abbie

  7. WOW ABBIE!! Thanks for stopping by! It’s like an Andrew family reunion.! I was so tickled when I read your comment. We call them Chippies too! As in, let’s go feed the chippies, let’s go try to PET the chippies, COME BACK CHIPPIES!! COOOOME BACK!! I’ve spotted at 3 separate chippies living in our yard, but there’s likely more. And I know there are other factions that live in both Jane’s and Ed’s yards. When I come out in the morning, they chip back & forth, vying for my attention. The family that lives in the wall in our yard has it GOOD. They get the daily smorgasbord of peanuts, sunflower seeds and cracked corn. The rivals all try to sneak in and steal stuff, but the locals drive them away. I see them sometimes chasing the Others, and it is HIGH DRAMA. The Flock of 7 as we call them (the turkeys) just left. This place couldn’t get any better!

  8. Christy, Remember that wall oven is a convection oven. The pies might cook differently, in this one other than the conventional oven, because the convection circulates the heat better. Less time? Oven set 25 degrees lower for better results? It’s been a long time, if ever, Mom baked a pie, in that oven. Afterall she is 87 and has not used the oven unless one of us girls was home to use the stove or oven. We grew up baking in a different Kenmore wall oven. When Mom and Dad put in that kitchen in the early 1950’s, wall ovens were not usual. Only now, after having moved away and having lived in many homes, do I appreciate how ‘before the times’ Dad brought our house up to date. It helped that my grandfather was in the building supplies business; Dad was exposed to many products. As you realize, updating the 265-yr old house is difficult to do, and keeping the restoration true to the Georgian period, a challenge. If you want to ask any questions, you can get the phone number from neighbors on either side of you. Kate

  9. Hi Christty,
    Actually, it does get better. I will, if I can find it,send you a picture that one of our parents took of over 12 squirrels in the back yard at once. When Dad was alive, he would also feed the birds. He kept his seed in the back of the car as the squrriels would eat their way into any storage area he had.
    As far as the turkeys, last year when we were all at the house to say goodbye, more than 20 turkeys at once visited the yard. There was one point that Kath and I were as close to them as 3 feet away. Yes, you will find over the years, that it does get better and beter in Stroudwater. When I get motivated, I want to write to all of you, to tell you of our times at the one room school house that was across from the Tate House that we all went to from kindergarden through third grade, about the Christmas fairs at the Stroudwater Baptist Chirch , about the Thompson’s geese that once held up the presidental motorcade one time and how the secret service men had to get out to chase them across Waldo Street, about Halloween in Stroudwater, and also about Christmas caroling at Christmas time. Oh yes, and also about skating on the Stroudwater River in the winters.Abbie

  10. Hi Kate! I def think you are right – convection ovens bake differently than conventional. John bought an oven thermometer yesterday, so I can adjust times/temps if need be. We continually marvel at all the wonderful work your dad did here. Truly a labor of love. That kitchen must have been a showpiece in its day – and I love it still!

    Abbie, I would love any photos you wouldn’t mind sending. And just to put your minds at ease – I will NOT be posting anything you send online. L. was concerned about this possibility, I just want you to know I respect your family’s privacy completely. As for our feathered friends, can’t believe you had 20 turkeys at once! WOW. They really must have been paying their respects. I look forward to many more stories.

  11. I can unequivocally confirm that convectors work much more quickly than conventional ovens. Using an oven thermometer won’t solve the problem completely; you’ll have to either learn to adjust to the new paradigm (ha, how hifalutin) or see if you can turn the convection feature off (my preference).

  12. If you’ve solved the oven temp problem, try this wonderful recipe given to me by an old New Englander. Apple Crumb Pie. (I use a combination of whatever apples the PYO Orchard recommends for baking pie: 8, in fact). Slice peeled/cored apples thick & bring to boil in a little water or apple juice. Butter bottom & sides of Pyrex dish (I use 9″); fill pie plate with apples. Mix 1 c sugar (I use raw sugar), 1 c flour, 1 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt (I use SeaSalt). Cut in 2 T unsalted butter; mix in with a fork 1 beaten egg. Sprinkle apples in pie plate with cinnamon & nutmeg. Top with crumb mixture. Bake in preheated oven, 350 degrees, for 40 minutes. It’s baking now; and on this cold, rainy night the Apple Crump Pie fills the house with a wonderful, homey aroma. Definately comfort food, especially when served hot with a scoop of vanilla icecream on the side. Kate

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