Friday, April 3, 2009

Amazing Women

There are women in this world who have done such extraordinary things that they deserve to be recognized. Mother Theresa comes to mind immediately, but there are many, many others who have changed the world in some remarkable way.

But what about the women we come into contact with every day? They may not have turned the world upside down, but chances are good that they've done something worthy of mention, and have never been recognized for it. Think about your own mother. It's no easy task to raise one child, let alone a family of them, and to have those children become decent citizens. When I was growing up, most mothers were stay at home moms, with their husbands as the bread winners and support in child rearing. These days, most mothers are working Moms...and a good many of them are caring for their children with no husband present. That is no small feat.

Mothering, in general, is worth notation. Even with the healthiest of children, how often has a mother given up her night of sleep to tend to a fretful child or one who catches the latest round of virus? Amazingly she rises to the task, as well as rising to the next morning to meet head-on the things her day will bring. What about the mothers who have a child with special needs or lingering illness? Super strength fortifies her, without her giving it a second thought. She's THERE, and will be, 'til the end.

Some of us are single women, some of us are wives, housewives, mothers. Some of us are doctors, nurses, politicians, scientists, ministers or missionaries. Some of us are retired, some of us are students. Some are 'just friends' to others. Whatever we are, whatever we do, there are always places in our lives where we have exhibited a super-woman attitude. We are an amazing species, and we all need to recognize that in each other and ourselves.

Thoughts of "Home"

"Home is where love lives" is what the sign read. If that's so, than I am truly at home, in this house, in this new area of the world, with these new friends and neighbors. I really do feel that home. I'm content and I'm 'comfortable in my own skin.'

Growing up on eastern Long Island in what was then a small town atmosphere, I knew that everyone knew who I was, who I belonged to. There wasn't the option of doing anything 'against the rules' because you knew the word would make it to your house before you did. The stores were owned and operated by local people, most of whom went to school with Mom and Dad. The prices were within reason, and you knew that if you needed a new shirt, you could go to the LouAnn shop or to Brill's and you'd find just what you wanted.

There was the sound of cows lowing in the pasture at Gould's dairy farm near my grandmother's house where we lived. There was the dust of potato fields being plowed on our window sills, and the sight of black-skinned strangers dressed in shabby clothes who were covered with the same dust. The worst of all traffic problems was getting behind a slow-moving farm tractor on his way to the next field. Today both the migrant workers and the cows are gone. The pasture is full with a condominium complex. The train station, which was once manned by a man behind a caged ticket booth, now has a machine to which you pay your fare. The roses that once lined the split rail fence there on the station grounds have been removed, as has the fence. Even the passenger train, with it's mournful whistle, has been exchanged for a fast-moving, double-decker with a horn, and the freight trains are no longer in evidence.

I am grateful that the people who govern the Village of East Hampton have worked hard to retain the beauty of the place. The architecture is, with a few exceptions, fitting for the Main Street of a historic town. The beaches are clean and neat, but for the myriad of signs that tell a soul what he cannot do while on the sandy shore. Common sense should tell you those things, without the aid of posted reminders, but I guess some common sense was not shown somewhere along the line, and thus the many signs.

Regulations are abundant in my old stomping grounds. Zoning boards meet almost around the clock, it seems, to grant or deny permits, or to come up with some new idea for regulating something. Personally, I am one who believes there are far too many rules and regulations now, but I also believe there are far too many people present in that beautiful town.

Sometimes I get homesick...but it isn't for the East Hampton I left. It is for the East Hampton I was born into, the one I grew up in. The one I left was so changed, that I no longer knew it as "Home." I didn't know the faces on the street any longer. There were no friendly smiles, no cheery 'good mornings' . Once I felt that I was stepping in the very footprints of my ancestors on those streets. But I grew to feel as if I was walking the streets of a strange sea-side town geared for tourists, almost as if I was a tourist there myself. I grew tired of hearing rude comments from non-natives about locals shopping in Waldbaums at other times of the day, so that the visitors might have the place to themselves. It became increasingly stressful to me to attempt to find a place to park in order to run the slightest of errands. It became unbearable to sit on the deck behind our house and try to have a conversation at a normal decibal level. It became time to leave.

Now we are somewhat established in our new place. We live in a quiet neighborhood in the country, but within 12 miles of the county seat. The city is about the size of Riverhead and offers everything one could possibly need. We have fit in nicely, I think, with the people here. They seem not to have any animosity toward these northerners who have transplanted themselves. You see, when we came here, we vowed we would not try to change anything about anything here, the way things were done back home. We would not get on school boards or town boards or write letters to suggest things were not being done right. We are the strangers here, but we are respectful of what has always been done here and did not come to change things.

We are still learning about our new area, there's so much to learn! But we're finding caring and helpful people who aid us in any way they can. Old East Hampton will always be my hometown, but these days, SC is my home. I guess it's true. Home IS where the love lives.