Sunday, October 23, 2005

October 22

This afternoon my two-year-old son got dressed up in a fire truck costume and went to a Halloween party at the firehouse in Kaneonga Lake. He wore a colorful sponge fire truck hung from his shoulders with straps, a red plastic fire hat, red pants and a red Wallace Berry shirt. The party is sponsored each year by the Town of Bethel, New York, which is where we have been living this Summer and now Fall … since we left the apartment in New York and began preparing for our move to Cologne. There was a small parade (12 children) around the fire trucks and then back into the dining hall. After the parade there was a contest where every child won something … Sebastian’s costume was voted most original …
It’s difficult to write about the emotions summoned by a day like today – the feelings I have toward my son and the feelings I have about living in a small town in rural New York, getting to know the folks here and feeling a part of it, with the knowledge that in less than a month it will be over. This afternoon at the party I saw a woman I had known a few years back. I had interviewed her for a documentary I was doing on the 35th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival which was held here in Bethel, about three miles from where I am writing this tonight. She and her husband ran a small grocery store in town and during the week or so that the town of Bethel became the center of the universe for a generation, she opened the doors of her store and fed the hungry children who showed up. She is something of a legend in the town. Her husband, who was featured prominently in the movie Woodstock, died a year before I came to town to do the film, so I never had the chance to meet him. Today I saw her again, at the children’s Halloween party at the firehouse. She was there with her great grandson, who was dressed as Superman. She told me that her father had worked as a carpenter in the area and had probably built the cabin we live in, that his initials are some place in the house. Later in the day we stopped at the Lutheran Church just down the road for their Annual Turkey Dinner Fundraiser … For $8.00 a person you could have all the turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and string beans and cranberry sauce you could eat … I ate until I could eat no more, thinking all along this might be the last dinner of this sort that I would have for a long time.


Blogger la.dauphine said...

Yes but wherever there are children, you'll always find proud parents and grandparents not far behind...

4:46 PM  
Blogger J said...

Don't kid yourself. You can easily find what you need to make a similar kind of dinner here in Germany, I think. Cologne has a Wal-Mart, so you should be able to find many US products there (there isn't one near me). Cook it yourself, man. I've been meaning too for years, but am too lazy.

7:32 AM  
Blogger J said...

erm...too = to. Sorry, being pedantic.

7:32 AM  
Blogger jen said...

Its very different here. You'll have to pull your head around that soon. Otherwise, Germany can become the heartland to the melancholic.

Its very easy to stay in that mindframe here. You're moving here in winter, where the days are short and its ALWAYS gray and cloudy. The people are more different than you'd ever imagine not having lived here before. You can become isolated in your own head as nothing makes sense anymore as your native language has been replaced.

Be prepared and be open to outcome. This place is not the US, but there are soem wonderful experiences to be had if you can open yourself up.

My love for SF is similar to yours of NY. The transition has been difficult.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"[...] where the days are short and its ALWAYS gray and cloudy"...?

Sorry, but I can't confirm that, and the days in Germany should be as long as in the US, shouldn't they? What is that?

It's always gray and cloudy? No, it isn't... Today we had almost 20 degrees (celsius, of course) and it has been sunny! Since it is almost November I should think that it is quite warm... I remember that e.g. in January 2004 we had 13 degrees and the sun shone all the day...

1:39 AM  
Blogger mama jens said...

When you go somewhere new, you have to rebuild your roots. The attachments come...the community, the friendships, the little routines and favorite places. But we can't get that beautiful, vulnerable sense of nostalgia again unless we leave. This is ultimately frustrating and exciting at the same time. How can we extend this space of transition? I try to savor every moment of it.

11:34 PM  

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