Somewhere in the late 1930's or early 40's, my father started working in the Butterick Building in downtown Manhattan. The building was owned by the company that invented sewing patterns and is located at 161 Spring Street, in the neighborhood that eventually became known as "Soho." He was a printer and started his own business before World War II. When the war broke out, he was drafted and closed the business, but he came back to that building and he continued working there for the rest of his life. He worked for a book bindery, Sendor Bindery, and continued working until he was seventy-seven years-old, until the day he had a stroke. (He had a stroke in 1990, right after eating lunch in one of his favorite restaurants. We were on vacation at the time, in Antigua, and I rushed back to be with him in the hospital. All he said to me, when I saw him in the ICU was, "I had the fish." Food was a big thing to my dad. He suffered another massive stroke a few days later and died within two weeks. It was a blessing.)
Anyway, somewhere around 1976, I remember meeting him for lunch when I was visiting from Los Angeles. It was the first time I ever saw Sendor Bindery, which was owned by two brothers, Morty and Bernie. There was a big plant on site and it was fascinating to see the books actually being bound and to meet all the people who worked for my father, who was the production supervisor. My dad and I went out to lunch to a restaurant on Spring Street, I forget the name, but it was very hip, and everyone knew him. I didn't know anything about Soho at the time, but I think I fell in love with the neighborhood then. I had no idea that ten years later, I would move into a loft on Mercer Street, in the heart of Soho, with my new husband, and that we would raise our daughter Zoe there. It was a great place to grow up, filled with interesting people and lots of kids, playgrounds and art galleries.
We left our loft in 2003, when Zoe was fifteen, and moved to Brooklyn. I have even deeper roots in Brooklyn, my grandparents moved there somewhere around 1910 and every Saturday for most of my life we visited my grandfather and his second wife, Fanny, in a house on Kosciusko Street, in Bedford Stuyvescent. (My grandmother died around 1946, I believe.) It was much more interesting in Bed Stuy than it ever was in Plainview, Long Island, where we lived. I loved sitting on the stoop with my cousin Rosanne, watching the girls play double dutch. We were too shy to ask to join them, but we loved walking to the candy store around the block and getting Cokes, Hershey bars and comic books.
As much I have enjoyed living in Brooklyn these past few years, both Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, I have to say that I always longed to move back to Manhattan.
And so I have. With the help of so many of my friends, I was able to pack, sell, and let go of old "stuff" - so that I could begin living my new life. (Although there's still more work to do, it will finished by the end of the month.) And the friend I am most grateful to, is the friend who has invited me into her Soho loft for a period of time, so I can make this transition to my new life.
Gratitude doesn't begin to express my appreciation to everyone who has been there for me. I've also learned much more about the sorrow that accompanies all these losses and changes, and now I can try to be there for friends who will go through them in the future.
It seems that my family is doing well. Zoe is finding her way in San Francisco, Steve is busy in Spain and the dogs seem to be adjusting well to having two moms. Old friends have come back into my life and new friends are always welcome. As I was meditating this morning, the thought came into my head that I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the future and all I need to do is show up. There were days in the past six months when I thought showing up was too hard. But here I am and I have to say, I'm looking forward to today.