Saturday, April 02, 2005

Visiting Brooklyn

Red Eft, Dadu and the family came down from Kingston for the weekend. They used to live in Park Slope so it's always nostalgic for them to revisit the neighborhood where they spent the first few years of their children's lives.

They moved almost exactly three years ago. It was in April and their friends gathered at Ozzies to say a noisy farewell just hours before they drove off in their overstuffed blue Volvo.

Over time, they created a new life for themselves in a yellow Victorian house on a grand, tree-lined street in a small upstate city.

It wasn't easy at first. They renovated their house and Dadu, a lifetime non-driver, had to learn how to drive. But eventually, they settled in and made friends through the strong homeschooling network in Ulster County, and the local Unitarian Church.

The kids thrived with a huge backyard and ample space for creative activities and imaginary play.  There's nothing like a house with two stairways to make a childhood fun, particularly for games of Hide and Seek.

Still, it's sad to have them so far away. And in some ways, they are still Brooklynites at heart. They miss the Food Coop, the Botanic Gardens, the street life, and the friends they made here when their children were small. The kids reconnect almost instantly. It's a raucous time - they seem to bring out the LOUD in each other.

As for the adults, the distance seems to have intensified the friendship and proved to  them all that it wasn't just being neighbors that pulled them together as friends.

Tomorrow they'll  do all their favorite Brooklyn things: lunch at the Taqueria, the Carousel in Prospect Park, First Night at the Brooklyn Museum, a visit with friends from pre-school, and a walk down Seventh Avenue just to see who they run into.

On Sunday, they'll go back up to Kingston restored by their weekend in Brooklyn. Filled up with the things that they miss the most, they'll return to the sane, non-Brooklyn life they've created in the new place they call home.

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