What does an aborted English Major from Long Beach State and a Humanities Major from Claremont Men’s (now McKenna) College do when they enter the workforce? Particularly if along the way they picked up a Master Gardening Certificate and additional education in Art and Architechture and building construction between them, and were predisposed to (thank you Joseph Campbell) follow their own particular bliss?
What we did for the most part was to move up and down the coast, primarily buying, improving, occasionally actually building, and selling in the tastiest of locations (for instance – Carmel, Big Sur, Ferndale, to name a few) with three small restaurants (another story) in between. So the truth of the matter is, we’ve been mobile. Very mobile. We have not followed the path most have taken, the settling in of home and community. Call it financial expediency, call it fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants hutzpah, call it gypsy madness, call it continually looking for the grail – my point is that moving to a yet new location should be a snap. But not so. This move, our final move, which it undoubtedly will be, may fit the bill in all of the above four categories in some way, but the fact that it is FINAL, perhaps, has unleashed a flood of anxiety which now lends itself to spilling out the steps, the worries, the exicitement, and endless analysis of all it takes to be “excited and scared”, yet needs to be able to proceed without wearing out family and friends.
It is doubly poignant because we have lived here in the West Hills of Atascadero off the Old Morro Highway for the longest time of any other home. We actually intended it to be the final retirement home. We have loved it like no other place, made it just what we wanted it to be, tweeked it and remodeled to get it just right, and finally experienced the fruits of my garden labors.
So now it’s time to re-orientate towards Mt. Faith in Fergus Falls.
When the light bulb went off that day in North Dakota, we realized that we could accomplish our two-fold retirement plan of buying “free and clear” and living among family in a way previously not considered, and we took to the internet with a fury – untold hours logged-on exploring a wide range of territory around the Red River Valley. My preference would have been entwined with the romantic notion of really returning to “roots”, living virtually upon ancestral stomping grounds – south of Fargo, straddling the Red River – namely Hickson, N.D./Comstock, MN radius. But we settled, and I think it was a good choice, on an actual town, not too big, not too small, called Fergus Falls, Minnesota, about 35 miles southeast of the venerated family farms. One day last August, exploring an ever widening range, we passed a house on a rise across from the Otter Tail River and we are now the owner of two houses and the transition and all it entails begins in earnest.