The Swing of Urban Life

I’m getting back into the swing of living urban.

Coffee shops and a killer french cruller within walking distance. Sounds of human life drifting in on morning breeze. Alternate Tuesday street cleaning and parking tickets…

My wife and I started out on the Plaza in Kansas City. Relaxed compared to hard core Chicago city life, but a great all night coffee shop for late night talks between newlyweds. Waitresses that let you nurse a cup knowing your tip would rent the booth.

Been a long time since kids and yards came calling. Since our focus shifted from ‘worldview’ to ‘family view’ where teacher meetings, softball, and scouting beat a night out every time.  Our move to the Chicago of skyscrapers and jazz clubs became real life with neighbors and life-long friends.

Quiet nights of Mancala. Long walks on dark streets. A dog, two cats.

Sometimes loud, laughter filled nights of Euchre.

The move to Bloomington and university life last year short circuited our risk of empty nest syndrome and we’ve been adapting to the town’s little-city-big-city lifestyle. Things to do, small distances to travel. Nice.

But Bloomington is not urban.

For now I’m waking up in Oakland in the delightful Lake Merritt district.  The reasons I’m here are unfortunate – my daughter fell down a flight of stairs and broke both her elbows – but I’m enjoying being with my kids and getting back to city life. Miss my wife dearly, but she’s tied to a desk while I’m tied to the internet.

Amazing how locationally independent those routed electrons can make an old working stiff.

The news is good for my daughter. Always an overachiever, she was told by the doc a few days ago that ‘if you’re going to break your elbows that’s the way to do it.’ No casts, no surgery, just rehab. So my job is simplified. I’m back to being dad, driving my son-in-law to where he teaches and my daughter to her directing gigs. (That’s right – I’m back to driving kids to school and practice. 🙂 )

It’s nice to see how they’ve adapted to their new home.

A reminder of how adaptable human beings can be. Life changes, so do we. Some of us go complaining, others go searching. When you stuff us close together you either get smiles and the best of humanity working together or you get snarls and the worst of it.

I’ve not quite caught the urban beat, but I can hear it pounding and it makes me smile.

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9 Responses to The Swing of Urban Life

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Fred, Sorry to hear about your daughter – hope she recovers quickly. There’s something energizing about the city, that’s for sure. Enjoy your visit!

  2. LaVonn Schlegel says:

    Amazing how you can capture the essence of 25 amazing years in a few paragraphs. I love you my darling and miss you terribly!

  3. Ruth Fanta Hertzog says:

    Hey Fred……beautifully written… have a gift. Glad Sarah is on the mend. Kristin and I were talking and while you are in Oakland we would love to come and see you for a bit and go out to lunch. Let me know what weekend day would work best for all involved. Hope we can all work out a scheduled day to meet. Aunt Ruthie

  4. Fred says:

    Sounds good Aunt Ruthie, We’ve been talking about trying to come down by you as well. I’ll give you a call this week.

  5. As I struggle with my own move from delightfully easy city to live in Madison to San Diego and with the challenges of establishing work here, your so smooth writing brings soothing. Thanks! I am off to see my kid at Bates today. Glad your daughter is OK.

  6. Lennie Rose says:

    Does it ever stop or stop unfolding? We live is such a mosaic! And yours is filled with vibrant love, quite caring and outrageous leaps into broken and whole pieces fitted beautifully together to form a picture of your life and those you share it with. Thank you putting out this piece of artful, ironic life.

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