Monday, July 26, 2010

country dreams, city dreams

"New York, New York" Diner Lemon Meringue

Downtown Little Meadows

Bell Blvd in Bayside , Queens

I grew up in Bayside, Queens in New York City, and as I have shared before, spent summers as a kid, and lived for three years in Little Meadows, Pennsylvania. When I lived with my Grandpa in Pennsylvania, I would have recurring dreams about being in New York, and when I lived in New York , I had recurring dreams about being in the country!
When I lived in Florida, I had dreams about both places, and now in Alabama I also dream about those two places.
The truth is, there are aspects of each place that I love.
Living in a city like New York, you have no idea how good your food choices are. Diners that you take for granted don't exist in many other places. Ever order a slice of Lemon Meringue Pie in a NYC diner? Then you know what I mean!
And the clothing choices! Bargain stores galore, not to mention street vendors to make your choices inexpensive yet trendy!
Walking! You can walk for miles in NYC and pass a million ( ok, maybe 25!), delis or candy stores where you can get some water or a soda or an Italian ice to energize you to keep going!
In almost everyplace I lived at in NY, I was right around the corner from stores, groceries, delis, bakeries, Pizza Places ( I can't even bring myself to touch on this painful subject), etc.
Public transportation! Buses, trains, subways could transport us to work, malls, the "City", upstate, and on and on. You could actually live there without a car and not even miss a beat. (everything just takes longer to get to) I could take two buses to work when I was a bank teller, but I opted for walking the first mile and just taking the second bus, and I did the same on the way home so that I effortlessly walked two miles a day!
Now, for country living... As a kid, I remember when we made the five hour drive from Queens to Little Meadows, going over the Throggs Neck Bridge, then the George Washington Bridge to escape the city traffic and crowds, to eventually get on Route 17, a scenic drive, to greener and greener and happier and happier landscapes. I always preferred going in this direction as the way back to the city was getting closer and closer to pollution, grumpy drivers and traffic jams.
My grandpa had electricity, but no plumbing or phone, but I loved our summers there. The TV had only one channel, but it didn't bother me at all because I spent most of my days outside playing or tagging along with my brother and Gramps to go fishing at a nearby lake. I even participated with catchings frogs, digging up worms and catching minnows from a pond for bait! I loved going out on the rowboat with them and occasionally got to hold a fishing pole over the edge to catch a sunfish myself! They were going for Bullfish, a type of catfish, or Bass, as the sunfish were too little and bony for good eating. All summer long, Gramps caught fish, cleaned them, wrapped them and froze them so that all winter long there was delicious fish to be had!
There was a one acre garden on the land, where peas, corn, squash, melons,cabbage and other things were grown, and I remember sitting on the back porch for hours, hulling the peas in to a big pot.
I spent more time reading and daydreaming on the big canvas hammock that was attached to an electrical pole on one side and an apple tree on the other! Sometimes it was my car, sometimes my boat, sometimes a carriage, sometimes even a horse!
I also spent a lot of time drawing, sketching, coloring, painting and writing poems.
Sunset, as I have mentioned on previous posts, was a magical time when the sky would glow in warm oranges and pinks, reflecting beautifully on the Appalachian mountains, and the graceful deer would come to graze at the end of our driveway.
I suppose the country life was more invigorating than the city life, but I could miss the access and convenience of city life, especially when teen years approached!
Now, I live in Alabama, in a small city, but right on the edge of beautiful countryside. The foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range begin in this area, and It makes me happy to look at them every time I drive anywhere around here!
Thanks for taking the time to read this little bit of my history!

Psalm 18:33 " He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights."


  1. Love it mom, you're a great story teller!!-Jenny our daughter :)

  2. I never thought I was from a "small" town - more like a "medium" size one. But I'm sure a lot of folks would say "small" is the correct word. New York sounds like a magical place, one I'd like to visit but also one I would be intimidated to explore on my own.

  3. Dolly, you made me miss N.Y. and especially the diners and their huge slices of pie. I remember walking on the avenue and stopping for a slice of pizza, an Italian ice or even a knish while shopping with my mother. It is funny that when you grow up in Brooklyn (like I did) or Queens (like you), you call Manhattan 'the city'. But compared to Long Island and Spring Hill, Brooklyn and Queens would be considered 'the city'. One of the things I like about Gadsden is that you have a little of both. Downtown is like a miniature Brooklyn or Queens, but only a few minutes away you are in the country. I miss Bama and you is kind of the best of both worlds (minus the great N.Y. food).

  4. Such wonderful memories; you had the best of both worlds. If I had to choose between the city and the small town, I'd probably choose the small town..with a diner that has big slices of pie.

  5. Sounds like you have had a great opportunity to experience more than one life style, which is a true gift. My hubs and I were talking about this just important it is to know that the world is bigger than our own little corners. You've got the right idea, I think...carefully keep your memories of the best of all that we experience, and bloom where you're planted! I really enjoyed reading this little snippet of your history! Thanks!

  6. When we were in the city last week, we found the idea of public transportation really neat! I loved watching the people getting on and off with their ipods and books. I do appreciate a car though and getting to be alone on my drive to work...

  7. I've never been on a subway... I've never seen a building higher than the ones they have in Houston... But, Olivia wants to go to New York on vacation- so, I guess I will have to get you to take us on a tour... or maybe I can get Nancy to do it?? lol....
    As I read, I felt like I was in the places that you mentioned. It also brought me back to where I spent some of my childhood.
    If I condensed it down to one phrase.... LOVED IT!
    Love you

  8. i always feel pulled between rural farm life (how i grew up) and the bustling cities i have lived in ever since college. it's been invaluable to learn how to live in both places on my own! like you said, both have aspects that are so dear and i can't help but always think about the opposite of where i am. the only thing i don't like is suburbia=my personal purgatory lol!