1. Describe your perfect house. Does where you live now fit this description? I have contradictory desires in a perfect house. Part of me wants a compact cottage, but I also want lots of wall space for art and a huge library wall. I’d love a living room that was large enough to have house concerts in. Also, a solarium and a studio for crafts. As I get older, I am also filled with the desire for single level living.
Where I live now doesn’t come close to perfection. I like the general layout of my condo, but it is up two flights of stairs. (There are elevators in two of the four buildings in the complex, so I could use an elevator and then walk across the garage, but that seems wasteful.) But, overall, it is practical and the location is close to ideal. So it'll do.
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?This is another one for which I want contradictory things. If money were no object, I’m attracted to various islands – Nantucket or Block Island or Shelter Island. But I also want to be reasonably close to a major international airport. More reasonably, I would like to live in Boston most of the year, with a condo in Punta del Este, Uruguay for the few months of the year during which New England is uninhabitable.
3. How is your relationship with your family? (Define family however you like.) The only near relative who is still living is my brother. He and I get along fine, as long as we don’t actually see each other. I refer to this as our family exclusion zone. For example, when we were both in the Bay Area, the number of earthquakes increased significantly.
4. Have you always lived in the area where you live now? If yes, have you ever wanted to move somewhere else? If no, what brought you here? I was born in the Bronx, but we moved away when I was 3, so I don’t really remember living there. I grew up in a very small town on Long Island. Then I went to college in the Boston area and grad school in Berkeley. I ended up in Los Angeles for work and then relocated to the Washington, D.C. area (northern Virginia), also for work. I have a running debate about whether or not to stay here when I retire.
5. What was your childhood like? 1960’s small town suburbia, for better or worse. I went to Hebrew School two afternoons a week after school(and Sunday mornings), took ballet classes and piano lessons. There were still a lot of empty lots (i.e. places where houses were not yet built) and we picked blackberries in them. As houses went up, we played a lot in construction sites and hoped whoever moved in would have kids our age.
All the kids in the neighborhood played softball on the street, with a few of our dads sometimes included. The girls played endless games of hopscotch. We walked or rode our bikes all over town, but mostly halfway into town to Rhodes Delicatessen, which was more or less a general store. My folks would send us there to get a Sunday newspaper and a box of Italian pastries and we were allowed to spend the change on comic books. There was a girl on the next block whose father had a laundry business and on rainy days he would drive us all to school in the laundry truck, with all of the kids sitting on sacks of laundry in the back.
This sounds rather more idyllic than I felt at the time. I couldn’t wait until I could get away to somewhere where people didn’t know everything you were doing.
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