As much as I love the nutty little island where Beloved and I live, I never expected to profile it on this space. But here I am in Broad Channel, disoriented, filled with trepidation, and surrounded by a hundred boxes and lots of crumpled tissues.
It’s moving day for us. Like nine tenths of our island, we are moving out so Build it Back can lift our house, and I am freaking out a little bit. Don’t misunderstand me. We are grateful for the program, and we know our house will be much safer from water and weather when it’s done. And the adorable-if-tiny Lenox Hill apartment that Beloved and I found will be a lovely place to hang our hats for the half year it will likely take the contractors to finish the work. But I have grown attached to this goofy, impractical, comfortable, welcoming little house in ways I never imagined were possible. I feel like I’m leaving a good friend. It’s profoundly unsettling, and terribly sad, and fills me with the hopefully irrational worry that we’ll never feel truly home again. We’ll be back, yes. But when we get back, our quirky little house will be another seven feet in the air, as will most of the neighbors’ houses. I’m sure it will eventually feel normal again, but there’s definitely going to be an adjustment period. And while Beloved and I have decided that this is our last hurrah, our NYC adventure, our year of living (a little) dangerously, it still feels right this minute like a tiny death.
If I weren’t already a blogger, I suspect today would have inspired me to become one. I want to tell you the story of our welcome to the island. We were Brooklyn renters when I got the homeowner bug. Our good friend J. was buying a house in Broad Channel. Beloved and I had spent a fair amount of time here a decade+ before, but until J. moved into her beautiful house on the water, we never considered living here. After our visit to Casa J., we were hooked.
On our first day in our own house, I was alone unpacking while Beloved was back in Brooklyn cleaning the gorgeous pre-war apartment we were starting to think we were crazy for leaving. During my household ablutions, the two young women – then tweens – in the article below came to check me out. They wanted to come in, but I told them they couldn’t without a parent, thinking that would dissuade them. Not only did they come back with their mothers, they brought siblings, neighbors, family and friends with them. Unpacking took a back seat to the spontaneous party, and when my costume box was discovered by the kids, they even put on a fashion show. It was the perfect first day in a community that could have felt foreign to us, but never did.
This place and these people have always made us feel welcome and accepted and appreciated. There are a million things, big and small, that could have separated us from our neighbors – our politics, our relationship, our (lack of) religion, our personal style – but none of that ever seemed to matter to this generous, kind community.
So it is with a very heavy heart and many longing looks back that we walk away, albeit temporarily. I genuinely care for these girls, and their mothers and fathers families, and all the neighbors who became friends. Please know that we will miss you all, and we will count the days until we can be back in our hilarious, scenic, friendly, rustic, welcoming home again. Try to have fun without us. Game night at our house in 2018?
Donna & Beloved