This year marks the fortieth year Larry and I have celebrated Passover as a married couple. Unlike the Israelites, we have not exactly spent it wandering in a desert wilderness. It has been a fruitful, productive life spent in the Capital District. For us, next year will not be in Jerusalem, but the extreme southern part of New York State known as Florida.
A real upstate girl, I was born in St. Lawrence County and raised in in Essex County (Since when is Westchester County upstate?),relocating to Albany for college in 1968. Larry also had spent all but his college years in Saratoga County. We met in Albany, married, moved to Clifton Park, raised two children, made wonderful friends, and spent holidays with our families.
When did the desire to live someplace else begin? The germ was planted twenty years ago when our parents spent six to eight months a year in Florida. Our circle began to expand geographically: our children moved to California and Colorado; my sister moved to Arizona; an aunt moved to South Carolina; a niece moved to Virginia; and a number of friends and family started living two to four months in warmer climates. Other friends were spending time with their own children, who were scattered over the country and the world. We began a nomadic life, visiting friends and family and traveling on our own to Germany, Peru, England, Greece. Although we enjoyed our numerous trips, we felt finding “our spot,” a place that fit all our criteria, would keep us more grounded.
Every place we visited raised the question, “Could we live here?” We did some California dreaming, but the high prices of real estate and the high possibilities of earthquakes ruled it out. Julie and Sam live at 9000 feet in Colorado, truly a Rocky Mountain high. Summit County is beautiful in the summer, but the winters last nine months, and you think Boston gets snow? Try twelve feet a year, every year. Other places in Colorado offered warmer temperatures, but the homes we viewed were close together, and we would still need our snow shovels.We also Arizona would be out of the mix: The desert can be lovely, but no manna—and little rain—fell from the heavens, and we were always happy to get back to “green” and water on the East Coast. Ever the English major, I even fell in love with the small villages in England, but we knew that would never be where we settled.
Once we retired four years ago, our interest in relocating intensified. The long winters and grey skies hadn’t bothered us when we were working, but once we were home all day, the weather became a factor. Our friends and family changed from asking, “Have you any trips planned?” to “Where are you going next?” And after forty years, Larry and I were ready for our next adventure.
This fall, everything fell into place. Julie told us over Thanksgiving that, after eight years of marriage, she and Sam were expecting our first grandchild in July 2015. After I stopped jumping up and down with joy, Larry and I made the decision that we would like to spend our summers in Colorado and the rest of the year someplace warm. We found that warm spot on a rainy December day in Florida, when we checked out an active adult community where we were staying near Orlando. From the moment we drove in, Larry and I were impressed with the tranquil setting and the amount of green space and lakes. We fell in love with an immaculate home for sale on a lovely piece of land overlooking a pond and bordering a wildlife preserve. The community itself offered all we were looking for: indoor and outdoor pools, Hadassah chapter, book clubs, a writing club, bike paths, pickle ball courts, movies and shows, and exercise classes.It was close to world class entertainment and an international airport with direct flights to all major cities in the country.
We came back to Albany, to grey skies, piles of snow, and sub-zero temperatures. Even with the miserable weather, we still needed time. After much research, thought, discussion, and several sleepless nights, we decided to purchase the home in Florida and spend two to three months in Colorado. So, after forty years of New York Passovers, next year we will be celebrating with the Shalom Club in our new neighborhood.
If physically packing up the house is a challenge, emotionally leaving behind family, friends, and years and years of memories will be even more difficult. For the last twenty years, I have had the following framed quote hanging in our home, “Come my love and we shall wander, just to see what we can find. If we only find each other, still the journey is worth the time.” Like our Israeli ancestors, Larry and I will be wandering far from the home we have known to begin our next adventure.