In my last post (July 13) I stated plans for "taking a respite from blogging" to visit our older son Bryan and his lovely wife Anna and our new grandchild Celeste in New Haven Connecticut. Both "our kids" had just finished their first year as assistant professors at Yale University--see some photos of their "little cutie" Celeste in my Facebook FAMILY ALBUM as well as HERE on FLICKR--see also photos of Anya's parents who came all the way from St. Petersburg Russia in late August to visit. Needless to say, it was great to have all three generations together in one place for a while!
So, for about three weeks (while the grandparents were in town) this 15-month-old adorable "cutie" (Celeste) had six adults doting over her hand-and-foot…go figure! But spoiling our grand kids is de rigueur--right? And we also helped her busy parents unpack household goods and assemble IKEA furniture in their “new” downtown loft (condo) which is part of re-developed space from a former abandoned industrial building--see photos and more discussion in my next blog. In it I discuss more about how our inner-cities are changing and what it may mean for Boomer retirees like us.
Personally my role became largely focused around taking Celeste on walks around downtown New Haven (when not assembling IKEA furniture) to the park, bookstore, around Yale’s beautiful campus, and often to see whatever “was happenin’” on the famous “New Haven Green” just up the street--what else are grandparents for? It is amazing what you see and hear on these walks, including the quite fascinating rants of sidewalk preachers (see select photos below). Some of my impressions and blogging reflect impressions from these walks including several bike rides on my own.
While in Connecticut we also explored several of the insufferably “cute” (read quaint) small beach towns along Long Island Sound with an eye to possibly staying around for a few months each year—if we can afford it. In my next blog post I will give impressions of visits to places such as Old Saybrook (where Katherine Hepburn lived for many years), Guilford, the Thimble Islands (Stony Creek), North Branford, East Haven, Cheshire, and Essex Village—a place some say is America’s most beautiful “small town”—and Hamden and Wallingford (home of Quinnipiac University) as well as forays into the more crowded urban malls around Milford/Norwich and Hartford. More photos from our Connecticut travels are in a special Album HERE on FLICKR.
But most of what really has stuck with me over this last month comes from observing reality on the ground in the “inner-city core” of New haven--including seeing the "homeless" camped out on the Green within sight of the Yale University towers or the Churches on Temple Street.
For me, whether (and for how long) and where we stay in Connecticut will depend a lot on cost of course—we’re not rich NYC stockbrokers who commute to the “City” from their lovely estates in Connecticut.
But more important, I need to consider whether inner-city urban living is for me--as someone who spent much of life in small towns or the suburbs in the western US or rural areas abroad in Africa and Latin America. I needed (and still need) time to adjust to possibly living in the heart of the American Megalopolis. We did spend four lovely years in Washington DC (1999-2003) living in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs—not exactly the “inner-city”. But during the last month we also took two short working trips back to DC for some consulting on “climate change in Africa”. It was wonderful and also a little discouraging to see that DC is almost just as “disconnected from reality” today as I saw it back in the Clinton years. That experience also added fodder to some of what I’m thinking and blogging about—see some photos from our DC forays on FLICKR HERE!
But DC is such a unique, quirky, special and exasperating place of its own, that I don’t know if it counts as preparation for life as a Connecticut inner-city urban Yankee. More in my next few posts where I address some of the continuing questions I’ve been blogging about since my first blog on May 28 (see also later more substantive blogs entitled:
a) SENSE OF PLACE, TRAVEL WRITING, ICTs AND SOCIAL MEDIA,
b) TAKING THE PULSE OF FLYOVER COUNTRY JUNE 2010,
c) THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND IN THE SUMMER OF 2010,
So, until my next post--happy travels--and let's all get to Labor Day with optimism that the new work year will be better than the last!
Bob (Geobob) Ford: Loveland Colorado, August 19, 2010