|photo of the city with Empire State Building taken by my grandmother, circa 1930-40(?)|
|Time's Square in 1930s or 1940s, photo taken by my grandmother|
When I think of New York, then I start thinking of all the people in it, that had/have remained there while I have been a little bit of everywhere, people that I have saudade for as much as I have saudade for the place itself, the attributes of the city itself. All my oldest girlfriends have moved on with their lives, domestically speaking- the grapevine has told me even my best single pal has moved in with her beau, all the way out to Brooklyn. I'm now an outsider with no place to stay in the city, and not much left in common with all those people I love anyway- all of that is no longer mine.
Recognizing my great New York loss is in tandem, of course, with my mother passing and my dad being, well, quite frankly, inaccessible to me in other ways; if there's no New York City left for me, there's no East Coast left for me whatsoever. We've all but sold Her house, and Larry, a.k.a. "dad", sold the investment properties, and the Hatter children are back to being exactly as we always tended to be. Alone and drifting [mostly] magnificently. Pennsylvania is a notch on the bedpost of growing up, of personal history. Its a fact in a list of facts. I go by "erinn kathryn" now, by the way. My history, in some ways, starts here. I joke about entering my Renaissance, but its not so far from the truth.
My boat is navigating uncharted waters. Especially at this time of year. This big first year. What does an orphaned [adult] child do on the holidays with no home to go to, and no people there waiting? As much as this freedom to do "whatever", to have no holiday obligation, sounds freeing and glorious to the adult child with parents and hated traditions and myriad expectations, it is not all that its cracked up to be. It is overwhelming. It is grief-triggering. Its the snowball at the top of the mountain that gathers weight, mass, girth as it collects debris on its descent.
I'm saying all of this because the cherished attempts to make Christmas feel 'normal' this year revolve around a trip to Colorado to get swallowed up by the love and joy and excitement of all that is "Christmas" to little ones-the "magic"- and their parents, who are more like cousins than aunts or uncles, and who know what its like to be orphaned adult children too. I am looking forward to this indubitably, and unashamedly hoping it might feed into a new tradition. For I am, we are, entering a new era, using only our instincts to keep the boat afloat and headed in the right direction.