It was the balmy summer of 1965 and my parents had taken me on some jaunt to New York, one that remained neither explained nor justified. After a week of a child’s awed gazes, I was enthralled by the city’s magnificence of scope and the sheer multitude of potential adventures. Faces and images constantly and rapidly interchanged.
Engaging my attention and imagination was effortless. We had strolled through the West village; exuberantly “lived out” a Broadway musical or two; and feasted at the most authentic of ethnic eateries or, perhaps more aptly, “most ethnic of authentic” ones! My fancies were constantly ripe, layered, and thus ready for harvest.
For a boy from Chapel Hill, the world suddenly became huge and marvelous and would never, ever read the same. And then, I overheard Margy and Hal arguing about the stark realities of life in such a city and at once realized we were interviewing for a new life … one beyond “A Wrinkle in Time”. Were we indeed contemplating a move to this yet-so-named “apple”?
It would be many years later that I finally understood my parents’ decision to return to North Carolina that Sunday night, neatly filing away the weekend under experience. My father declined the job and everyday life seemed to resume as I knew it on Ransom Street. I doubt we ever even reminisced about that particular trip to New York, even years later when we inadvertently retraced steps.
But I doubt, in this heart of a city mouse, that I ever really forgave him. For I had at once had found that city wondrous and oh how I longed to be one of its “children of the core!”
the following summer, we did, however, move to Greensboro. To a day-dreaming lad of ten, it offered little consolation.
(Image: “Fish in the City” by Vladimir Kush.)