In my Mama Kat prompt response last week, I wrote a Six Word Memoir celebrating New York City. This week, Kat gave us the option to expand on the story behind these Six Word Memoirs. To give you a frame of reference, here’s mine:
Why New York? Why does it always beckon? As crazy as I am for the City, I not written much about it. I suppose I could trace back my first “I have to go there” sentiments to the production number in the Miss Union County High Pageant back when I was in 11th grade. We did a dance to “New York, New York” and the combination of the “little town blues” melting away and the idea that “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” planted a seed in my brain that would not go away.
In 1989, I broke up with my boyfriend (who is now my husband), sold my car, and boarded an Amtrak train to New York City. Without a job. Without a place to live. Immediately upon disembarking from the train, a guy took my luggage and cab “fare” and said he would get me to a taxi. I almost lost sight of him (and my luggage) but caught up and was rescued by a legit driver who made him give me my money back and delivered me to my temporary digs, the Allerton Hotel for Women (which at the time was an austere combination of welfare hotel and temporary housing for people like me but is now a luxury building … go figure).
For this post, I need to stick with the Cliff’s Notes version because I am in a time crunch. I got a job (as the Internship Coordinator at Fordham University in the Bronx), ended up living on the Upper East Side, then the Upper West Side, then finally with a relatively “permanent” roommate farther up on the Upper West Side, got another couple of jobs (Manhattan life was expensive), became a Methodist, saw Peter Paul and Mary in concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, learned why margaritas made of limeade, beer, and tequila are a very bad idea no matter what zip code you are in, watched the Macy’s parade floats be inflated from my apartment, paid to see a group of actors recreate a Brady Bunch episode (hilarious!), saw more than one individual urinate in public, discovered a “true” Little Italy on Arthur Avenue, did my laundry at 11 p.m. at a combination video store/laundromat, made lifelong friends, and ….. despite all of the frustrations of urban life knew that I was in a place where I belonged…
…..a place where, almost three years later, I ended up marrying Wayne at the Brooklyn Promenade before moving back to Florida.
I go back to New York every chance I get. I don’t have to be doing anything fancy or official. Sit me down on a park bench for half a day or let me wander the streets, soaking up the city-ness of it all and I am good. My daughter Tenley (now 14) has been visiting New York City with me since she was 20 months old, and I have seen things through her eyes that I never scratched the surface of when it was just me: Harlem, Chinatown, the view from the Toys R Us Ferris Wheel, July 4 fireworks over Roosevelt Island, the Hello Kitty superstore, the Central Park carnival, those god-awful street purse vendors that she loves and I ….. don’t.
With all of its cacophony and frenzy, New York holds an appeal for me unlike any other place. Big Apple, save another bite for me!