When my youngest child started college, I moved from our apartment in Tonawanda to a small rental house in the Village of Arcade, 50 miles due south, where I worked full-time as a proposal writer. I needed to save the $300 my commute cost me in gasoline each month, and I hoped a geographic relocation might assuage the sadness brought on by my suddenly empty nest.
My house in Arcade was near the village park, a beautiful little place hugged by cornfields and pine trees, where kids played baseball in the summer and tobogganed in the winter. My Corgi, Dixie, and I took many walks there.
I did not own a TV, choosing instead to entertain myself with jigsaw puzzles, the small flower garden in the backyard, books from the ample Arcade Library, lunch at Theo’s diner, weekend drives, and movies on my laptop, which I watched in bed beneath the eves, burrowed into a soft quilt.
I was a country girl for nearly five years. Then life circumstances brought me back to Buffalo this past February. It took me a while to adjust to the traffic, but a dormant part of me has sprung back to life. I have attended a poetry open mic at Spot Coffee. Had lunch at Caffé Aroma then shopped for books at Talking Leaves. Enjoyed a movie in one of Regal Theater’s wonderful new recliners. Ate dinner at the Polish Villa before attending an acoustic music event at the UB Center for the Arts. Met my son for breakfast at Amy’s Place. Enjoyed Tim Hortons coffee and muffin runs with my daughter. And thrift store shopped to my heart’s content.
This summer, I’m looking forward to attending “Merry Wives of Windsor” at Shakespeare in Delaware Park. Planting my toes in the sand at Woodlawn Beach. Watching retro double features at Transit Drive-In. And enjoying the new restaurants that have sprung up during my time away.
Journalist Cokie Roberts once said, “Women can have it all – just not at the same time.” This has proven to be true for me. When I look back on my time in the country, it feels like a long, peaceful sojourn where life got quiet so I could learn to be with myself.
When I look at my life today, I feel energized and excited by all the possibilities that Buffalo has to offer.