I moved from Staten Island, NY to the Philadelphia suburbs on October 14, 2000, and since then, I can’t remember a single day when I didn’t stop to think, “I love this place.” It hit me again last night. We were relaxing, eating dinner, drinking wine and watching the Phillies. I know practically every player by his number or his position, and the sound of Harry Kalas’ voice makes me smile (especially in the off-season, when I’m jonesing for baseball). I’m on a first-name basis with all my sons’ teachers, and I even talked to Alex’s teacher on the phone last night. (Happy Birthday, Deb!) The supermarket is 5 minutes away, my job is 10 minutes away (for now; they’re relocating), and the city is 40 minutes away. Last weekend I drove to Sesame Place and the Philadelphia Zoo without the GPS. I can go out and take a walk around our complex and it’s relaxing. If I get an itch to crochet or knit, I know where to find the best yarn at the best prices. Everything I could want is within reach. (Except my family, who all live at least 90 minutes away.)
I came here to get away from the life I used to have with my ex-husband. At the time I left NY, the city had made me claustrophobic; I felt like everything was closing in around me. I’d drive the expressways, and it seemed like the buildings on either side of the road were coming closer and closer. By the time I got to the tree-lined street where I used to live, I couldn’t breathe. My 5-bedroom house was like a prison with a deck and a garden. The day I packed the truck up and moved out, I felt like I was going home.
My family used to live here, not far from where I live now. My great-grandparents lived in Allentown, and I remember the peace of those simpler days. Maybe that’s why I felt called to come here, to bring up my sons here. I was thinking last night of people who say they’re born in one place but raised in another. Ryan and Alex can say they were born in NY but raised in PA. Me, I was born and raised in NY and there’ll always be a little New Yorker in me, but I love this town. Philadelphia (and the suburbs) have become my home. When we went on our cruise, we were asked where we were from. Without a blink I answered, “Philadelphia.” Maybe some day we’ll move somewhere else, but there’s just something about HERE that will always have my heart, no matter where we go.
Okay, so I still love the Yankees too. 🙂