I remember all the times that I too have resented the climb, the amount of living needed to gain the precious understanding to know how to live well. And how important it is in the struggle for freedom from the old ways not to be limited by style or self-expectations or to worry about what others may think. To be willing to do the really important things any way you can, even three steps at a time. ~ Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
Back in the fall of 2014 I had no idea there would be 3 steps in my adventure or that each would involve a million baby steps. Over the past 3 years I have moved 3 times. First from the home I loved on Remington Circle in Plano, Texas to St. Simons Island, Georgia where I lived 10 minutes from the beach. Check. A year and a half later in June 2016 I was on the road again. This time north to Wakefield, Rhode Island where I was 10 minutes from University of Rhode Island and the same in the other direction to the Atlantic Ocean. Check, check. At the end of February 2017 I arrived in my new home 10 minutes from Washington, DC in Alexandria, Virginia. Check, check, check, otherwise known as the triple check.
I lived in the Remington house for 25 years. It was my dream home. We moved there from another house in Plano when we had been married for 7 years. The house was 7 years old, too. Jen was 3, Melissa, 1. Trouble in paradise Howard had said when an expert from the company he worked for had examined the foundation prior to closing. I didn’t care. We would fix the shaky foundation, the cracks, the crevices. And we did, over and over through the years. I loved everything: the white picket fence around a courtyard with a swing in the front, the H layout of the house, the closets, the playroom turned game room turned museum, the 2 skylights, the garage big enough for 2 cars, lawnmower, empty boxes, recycle bin, folding chairs, old hoses, hammers, nails, and the big windows letting the light in every room. When I blinked my eyes and saw my situation clearly I wanted to preserve the good energy of that home. I sold it and left in November 2014.
Dream Journal October 21, 2013: I am at St. Simons Island exploring the area with huge trees draped in Spanish moss. I love this place. “There’s good and bad here,” the voice says.
I’d decided to grab the brass ring and move to the beach. Living near the ocean was on my bucket list so why not? With no time to research the best beach town to live in the U.S. I chose St. Simons Island because it is familiar and as the dream above states: I love this place. I had a bunch more dreams through the years about SSI so it seemed like a good choice. I worked quickly to make a house a home in my little 2 story sanctuary by the sea. In every direction outside my large clear windows the massive oaks dripped with Spanish moss. A short drive or long walk transported me to East Beach. The ebb and flow of the waves on the expanse of sand never failed to infuse me with hope.
I was sure the place where we vacationed on and off since July 1992 held a mystery. In my investigation of this little piece of paradise I learned about the Fresnel lens in the St. Simons Lighthouse, toured FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center), witnessed the RORO (roll-on/roll-off) ships making their way past The Village Pier to the port of Brunswick and saw them unload the cargo of Mercedes, BMW, Porsche. I read about The Jekyll Island Club and its early members: Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers. I had afternoon tea in the sunny observatory. Along the way I met a bunch of people in Island Newcomers, saw a ton of movies, attended writing classes/workshops and attended 2 sunrise services at the pier on Easter Day. Not bad for the first year and a half of my adventure. But I had places to go and things to do.
Dream Journal April 8, 2012: I'm not going to Rhode Island.
This excerpt from the end of a dream I had in April 2012 popped into my head when I saw a program for a masters degree in women and gender studies at the University of Rhode Island. I’d been looking for an MFA in writing but my BBA in Accounting hundreds of years ago was of little use in that endeavor. I missed the changing seasons. I’d always wanted to live in New England. Because I was on a quest of my own making I’d see if there was something I needed to face in Rhode Island. While I established residency I’d turn the lower level of my split ranch into an AirBnb which I would run on the side. All the while I’d be writing my book and take a class on understanding dreams. You know Rhode Island is the most corrupt state in the nation, a literary agent at a writers’ conference in Vermont told me that summer. I had to experience it to believe it. Rhode Island’s beauty overwhelms with low, gray stone walls, pinks, yellows, blues bursting into flower in summer, reds, yellows, oranges ablaze in fall leaves and the blanketing white of winter. But one does not survive on beauty alone. Besides I had to shovel that beauty from my long driveway as soon as the first crystalline flakes fluttered or they would turn rock solid trapping me in my own home.
Dream Journal August 22, 2013: You finish at the place you started.
Before I moved to Texas in 1971 I lived in Silver Spring, Maryland. Growing up going to the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Mount Vernon, picnicking in Rock Creek Park, the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin, that was a normal childhood for me. So when Jen and Melissa suggested a spa weekend in Washington, DC to celebrate my upcoming 60th birthday in March 2017 I quickly accepted. I noticed a spring in my step and a smile on my face as the new year began.
Dream Journal January 18, 2017: I walk along a street in Washington, DC. looking at the row of townhouses. “That’s it, the one with the red door,” the voice says.
By the end of February 2017 my almost 17 year old pup and I pile in my new, blue Legacy Subaru. This trip is a breeze for me and my traveling pup. Daisy and I know the drill. Instead of 2 full days on the highways and byways like my prior moves it is 1! We arrive at the 2 story, 2 bedroom townhouse with the red door in Alexandria, Virginia in 12 hours. My dragging body is barely dressed with coffee cup in hand when the movers pull up the next morning. Daisy’s health is on the downslide but she uses every ounce of her strength to wander out the front door and head down the cement sidewalk. That day it reaches 67 degrees. We spend the morning on the red brick patio working to create a secret garden. In the afternoon back in my blue Legacy I head north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway to pick up my internet router at the Comcast store in Arlington. As I round the bend that fine, bright Saturday at winter’s end I see an old friend. Across the Potomac to my right the Washington Monument sparkles and winks at me. I’ve been working on my story for almost 6 years. It is finally time to cobble it together to write my memoir, A Dream Come True: When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemon Bars.