It’s always best to start at the beginning.
I was living, by all accounts, a charmed life. An ideally located, 100-year-old, one-bedroom apartment in the West Village of Manhattan that was mine for 19 years. A career in children’s book publishing that was flourishing. A sweet, provencial life that I loved with all of my needs a quick walk away. Neighbors, both in my building and the shops I frequented, that meshed into my life so completely that they became family. My childhood dreams were unfolding before me, I was becoming the person I was meant to be, and none of it was lost on me. Each of these gifts made my heart swell to bursting.
And yet . . .
My definition of home and meaning of my life began to change. Was it gradual or in an instant? It’s hard to say. There were moments of pure clarity, for certain: living through 9/11 and the months-long aftermath . . . the moment my landlord buddied up with Verizon and permitted a cell phone substation be installed directly above my top-floor apartment . . . the realities of a massive power outage or a Hurricane Katrina and what few options for escape and safety truly exist in an urban environment . . . landlord neglect that allowed mold to bloom in the bathroom walls, massive cracks in the walls to open wider, and a shower pressure to decrease to almost nothing . . . and then the strange, persistant health problems.
On the positive side, my creative instincts were coming into their own. I found myself coming home from work and immersing myself in one new project after another: cooking, painting, jewelry-making, mosaic, knitting, felting. My love for my friends and what was familiar sustained me, but I knew I was living like I was in the Ozarks right in the middle of Manhattan! What I truly needed was space . . . to create, to breathe, to flourish. One moment built on another and then, with a friend’s timely suggestion, I found this little house and everything changed.