It Takes a Crowbar

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a crowbar to pull me out of my village once I’ve settled in.

I was reminded of this truth about myself this week because I traveled from my new home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to New York the day before yesterday to attend a family wedding that will take place this Saturday.

Yes, of course, I wanted to attend. But even the thought of the trip — the planning, booking, packing, schlepping, waiting, connecting, pulling, carrying, paying, tipping, and so on, on my own, at this age/stage of life — was exhausting. It would have been easier, indeed, to remain in sweet San Miguel and make old-lady excuses: too tired, too poor, too not-up-to-it …  But it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

So here I am now, in my old neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Nueva York, where I spent twenty years of my life and where I learned from this city as if from a wise old uncle. I’ve been spending my time, so far, walking down Memory Lane.

This morning I walked in Riverside Park, where I always biked or jogged in good weather. I remembered the burly man who used to stop me and say, “Oh, you’re here! Whenever I don’t see you I cut a notch in this bench…” He would then pull out a sharp hunting knife to prove his point. “Well, here I am!” I’d say gaily and run, speedily, away.

A bench in Riverside Park today
A bench in Riverside Park today

I visited the campus of Columbia University today, too, and admired the statues at the entryway, what I used to think of as “the pearly gates.” For me, Columbia was heaven. Well, heaven with homework. And I’ll be eternally grateful to have been a scholarship student there and to have learned more than I ever would have otherwise.

A statue at the entrance to Columbia on Broadway and 116th Street
A statue at the entrance to Columbia on Broadway and 116th Street
Today at the Columbia library
Today at the Columbia library

I’ve walked along Broadway to Zabars (a food-lover’s mecca) and back, observing the changes — all for the better, it seems. I’ve been meeting with old friends who’ve never left the neighborhood. They are a part of me still; they are family.

This city, especially this section of it, is in my DNA. New York helped to shape me and make me who I am. I’m thankful to be here now and to be reminded of this fact. Sometimes it takes a crowbar to lift us out of our comfort zones and take us to a new — or, in this case, old — place that makes us glad that we have lived and learned and we are still alive.



16 thoughts on “It Takes a Crowbar”

  1. Oh Bonnie…what a nice essay. I loved your walk down memory lane…. If I had any sense at all…I would have gone WITH you to help with all those details of travel. Well…next time…I am always looking for a good excuse to travel to New York….you could show me all you favorite places! Love you, girlfriend!!!! Hurry home!!! XXXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. I so loved reading this, Bonnie. Your banker Rose and I were just talking today about how brave and intrepid you are. So happy to read that you’re thoroughly enjoying NYC. A world apart from SMdA but still in your heart.

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. Yes, NYC is a great place to live (and be challenged) when you’re young; but SMA is the place to be when you’re retired from the rat-race! — xx

  3. Very nice Bonnie
    I too ventured back to San Clemente CA to visit friends, family and ahhhh the beach. But coming back and settling in again in San Miguel is peace and contentment
    See you soon

  4. Loved the evocative trip down memory lane. A fellow NYC ex-pat, your reflections took me back to a time long ago and far away.

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