Saturday, September 24, 2011

Slouching Towards PAwtucket

Slouching towards Pawtucket
As a native daughter planning to return to her  home city of Pawtucket, I approach it with mixed feelings. When I   roamed these streets as  a child, I often dreamed of being  somewhere else.  I idealized the American West after reading  many Zane Grey novels. And since I adored  Roy Rogers, I hoped some day to meet a real cowboy. Possibly if I had not left Pawtucket, I would still harbor these longings. I might even feel unsatisfied and  unhappy. But I did leave and I spent 26 years away working at a   job in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati made me  miss Rhode Island, the ocean, and finally even Pawtucket.
However, now as I contemplate moving back to the city and to the very house that my mother and  aunt and sister  lived in since 1968, I feel anticipation rather than dread. I was not trapped there--I left-- and now I want to come back.  What are the things that I miss and hope for in this return?  The answers to those  questions  may come clear to me and you, dear reader, after I  make my  appearance.  Actually I have been back in Rhode Island since 2009.  But I  have been living in South County in what I  thought of as  my summer house and my eventual retirement cottage.
I tried staying there for two winters and I  began to feel some  isolation.. It is beautiful and it is quiet, but the drawback is that to get anywhere you must drive. And as the winter advances driving becomes  more  tricky and tiring. So I am preparing to go back to Pawtucket. I have spent some energy and money these past three months in  getting the house ready for the move.  I hired a painter and floor re-finisher. Now I am hoping  to be done  with the improvements and have the house ready to  move into by late October.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Pawtucket Cure

I am in the middle of moving back to Pawtucket. I was born in Pawtucket, but I have not lived there since I  left in 1966.  I lived in Providence from 1969 to 1984, and then I moved to Ohio where I lived until 2009. I have returned  to Rhode Island after a long time away. But I have always intended to return.  It is  my native place, and I miss it when I am away.
I  bought a summer  house in South County in 1999. and I have  spent my summers  here since then . In 2009 my life was  interrupted  by the sudden  fall and severe heart attack of my maternal aunt Anna.
She was living still in the house in Pawtucket that she and my mother and my sister had shared together  since 1968. Death decimated that happy arrangement when my mother died in 1997 and my sister soon followed her in 1998. That left my aunt alone, living in a tiny bungalow in Darlingon all by herself at the age of 79.  In fact, those years after 1998 were the first ones tin which Anna had lived alone. She had always lived with my mother--her older sister.  Although she was fearful of the change, she was determined to make it on her own and was fiercely independent. As her closest relative and my mother's only living child, I felt  responsible for her, called  almost daily, and visited from Ohio as often as my job and finances would allow.

2009 brought enormous changes-- when Anna was discovered on the floor of the house where she had fallen and suffered undetected for two days. When she was taken to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, she was diagnosed with a severe heart attack that had destroyed most of her heart muscle. She  only had 15% of her muscle intact and pumping. I heard these details over the phone from a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Within hours I had left Ohio and was  on my way to Pawtucket. That was  April Fool's Day 2009. Little did I know that I would  never return to my job and that--ready or not --I had retired from  my  position that I had held for 25 years.