Twenty years ago today, I completed my drive from southern Florida, where I’d moved for massage school, to Allston. With the perfect job falling into my lap, I’d stayed for two years beyond school, but I was baseline bored and lonely there, and the only real pleasure I took in life was hopping a plane monthly to see Moxy Früvous perform, along with fellow rabid Früheads. Having never fit in in Florida (much less Alabama), I chose where to move to based on how well I liked the people I’d met there in my Früheading.
Bostonians stood out to me, an intuition I verified with a trip to the area. While staying with cos
in Inman Square, I walked around and felt more at home than I ever had in the South. I told my fellow Früheads that I wanted to move up the following spring, and veek
suggested I move sooner and into a group household which she would scout out. Florida to Boston in February was daunting, but moving in with a person with whom I had a piece of connection and into a found housing situation tipped the scales.
As the only thing of nominal value I had (besides my car) was stolen just before the move, I loaded my remaining possessions up and road-tripped my way here. I visited family in Alabama, moominmolly
in Chicago, and stranger-on-a-plane friend m60freeman
in Columbus, before I fumbled my way through the bewilderscape that is Allston.
Lucky for me, it was a mild winter, with only the prettiest of snows. I found a crappy job instantly, and then a much better job very shortly after, alleviating my fears that it would be hard to transfer my easy success in the achy aging Florida market to Boston. veek
and I lived our dreams for a year in the tiny wizened 200-year-old house which we dubbed Mi Casa Es FrüCasa, where we shared massage and cooking (“rub and grub”, as one recipient had it) with our favorite folk artists and fellow folk fans.
The house was sold and I moved to 38 Sewall Street in Somerville, with a rotating cast of acceptable strangers for two years. They were all young people like me, who moved on to different Tetris-configurations of young people in old Somerville buildings. As the last prepared to rotate out, moominmolly
were considering moving to Boston, and I said, hey, come stay with me, if it works out, great, if not, use this as a home base to find a different place.
Two years later, after six months of searching, we bought a house together, literally across the street, with a fireman’s brigade of friends (including jbsegal
) carrying stuff across for us. Tons of other huge stuff has happened - I got married and unmarried but in between had a kid, got my own massage practice going, discovered gardening, got started on my homestead in WA - but right now, the closer in time it gets to now, the more it runs together.
Right now, It’s the details from 20 years ago that I’m remembering. How that one winter of 1998 snow sparkled in moonlight just like department store snow that I thought so fake, growing up in Alabama. The names for the rooms in FrüCasa - the Den of Iniquity, the Wife of Bath, the Madwomen in the Attic. The near-panic of finding my way through Allston that first time, and how traffic in general felt like a battleground for many months. Interviewing for minutes at the first, terrible massage job, and hours at the second. veek
introducing me to spinach - spinach! - the first of many foods I’d reclaim from the horrible cooking of my youth. The possibility and uncertainty and newness and challenge of moving to a place not for a job or school or a relationship, but because it felt right.
Twenty years. In another six and a half, if life doesn’t make other plans for me along the way, I’ll move to my land in WA. I’m just about three-quarters of the way through living here. It feels absurd, against the backdrop of the minutiae of what happened that far back. Then, six and a half years was enough to remake myself 47 times over. Heck, six and a half years ago, I was kindergarten-homeschooling my kid and not even seeking a divorce. But somehow, I have hope for continuity from here through the next life I see taking shape, across the nation.