Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Of Many Minds

I have always known that Richard would love to move back to Floyd to be with his family. His parents are quite elderly, and while they are living independently and show no signs of needing to be looked after the way my parents were (they are about 8 years younger than my parents were when they died, I think), they want Richard close by.
He left Floyd very young, almost being run out of town, as he tells it, because he was a poet, and that seemed unacceptable to local townspeople. If he had been a novelist, they would have understood that. But a poet--that was, to them, effeminate, not to be tolerated. He needed to leave anyhow, and had no interest in the place anyway at the time. He traveled to Chicago, San Francisco, and never came back to live. When he married me, it seemed good to him that I would take him far away from his home, where he would be immersed in cultures totally alien to the one he grew up in.
Later though, as often happens, he changed his mind. He took up his parents' hobby, golf, a game his father used to play every day of the year, snow or shine. His father and a group of friends helped to found the town's golf course, which is a small gem, I am told, and he still hangs out there with his old friends. When he visits the place, once a year, to play a father-son tournament with his dad, he comes home glowing. He is happier than he is going to be for the rest of the year.
I know he would love to go back there, and his parents wanted us to live in their house, which they would vacate. But while Floyd is a beautiful place, in the shelter of the Buffalo, a modest peak, part of the Blue Ridge chain, and on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is not really a good place for me. I feel out of place there even on visits.
I planned to buy a house here, but it saddens me to think of Richard's and his parents' disappointment. While I couldn't live in Floyd, maybe I could live somewhere else in the region. The problem is, Southwestern Virginia is not a place with a thriving Jewish population, never mind the kind of progressive synagogue I belong to, and there is no Iyengar yoga teacher or studio, at least not one with a presence on the Web. Places to teach are also few and far between, though they do exist (they'd pay quite a bit less than I get here too, maybe half of what I get, which is already not a lot, all told). And I hate to leave my community. What to do?

8 comments:

liz said...

It sounds like Richard will inherit the home. why not keep it as a "vacation" home! (lots of people have them, in Big Bear at the River etc etc)so Richard (with you and/or Jeremy or alone) can fly out to visit whenever he so chooses. He will need someone to keep an eye on it when he is not there but seems there are friends of his father who could do just that. I've always thought it would be wonderful to have a vacation home for a change of scenery.

Robbi said...

Maybe his brother will inherit, and if he does, he may sell it.

Robbi said...

Clearly, Richard says okay to the house here, but he is resisting it, coming up with excuses of all sorts. All I know is that I cannot live in this apartment any longer.

Lou said...

Moving across country is a big change. I'd consider all the consequences carefully, as I am sure you will.

Robbi said...

Of course, I am from the east coast, but have not lived there in many years, and have never driven there, in the snow and ice.
But I talked to R about it, and he doesn't feel there's a compromise I can reasonably make between his home town and here. We should just stay here, he says, and his parents will just have to deal with the disappointment. I feel very bad about that, but I am sure I could not live close by to them. I would just not be happy at all, or be able to make a life for myself.

marly youmans said...

What about bluegrass every Friday night? There are some good things about Floyd! I'd take a look at how far away it is from the things you need... It could be a summer/vacation place plus rental-to-others spot for you. There's a lot of that around my mother's hometown, and it seems to work.

I gave up what I wanted for my husband's work and know what it's like to wish to be elsewhere, so I can't say that there are no down sides. But there are some up sides too. Would Jeremy spend more time with your husband's family? There's no down side there. Would Richard be plain old happier? Could you deal with being there in the summers, or with Richard being away in the summers?

--Devil's advocate!

Robbi said...

Marly,
Believe me, I have done as you suggest. And I know you made a compromise that was as stark as this one.
Yet Jeremy would remain here; he has made that clear. He cannot manage college without Richard to help him, especially since he refuses to use Disabled Students. So that's a big problem, right there.
Also, besides the beautiful weather in California and easy driving because of this weather (an important thing for a person who has problems with driving, as I do), a great portion of my life is the yoga. There will be no serious yoga for 50 miles in either direction if we go to Floyd. Doing yoga by myself is really not a good option. One needs teachers as well as a personal practice.
Then there is synagogue. You KNOW that in Floyd I would be an odd duck, odder than I am here, because I am not Christian. And some people, maybe more than a few, would not want anything to do with me because of that. Then there would be lots of efforts to convert me. Tiresome and offensive.
There would be very little for me to do there because I don't golf and do not like remaining in the house all day.
And where would I work? I want to teach. Online would be the only answer, and I don't like that idea.
But going there for a few weeks out of the year or having R? That's okay.

Robbi said...

That said, Floyd is a beautiful place. Lots of people would think I'm crazy for not jumping at the chance, especially since we would be given a house by my in laws.