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Why We Ended Up Here - Livin' the Good Life

May. 3rd, 2008

01:58 pm - Why We Ended Up Here

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When I was pregnant with Ely, we were living in a funky little desert cabin in Sunfair, a lonely little place next to an enormous dry lake bed where the sky gets down to zero visability from blowing sand on our frequent windy days here. It was simply an awful place to live. Truly the bottom of the barrel when compared to all the many places we lived in our early years together. (Steve used to joke that there was no place to go but up after living in Sunfair.) So, since I was heavily nesting, I started seriously lobbying to move to a nicer place. To me, that meant a cute little house in a neighborhood near my friends. So, we started looking over by Fred and Irene on Dennis Avenue in Joshua Tree, and we found a great little fixer-upper at an unbelieveable price! As far as I was concerned, that was the ideal place for us. (Steve even wrote a song that we frequently sang, just for fun, that went "Dennis Avenue, how-do-you-do? When we strike it rich, gonna live on you!" It's pretty silly, actually, because that street was no nicer than any other dirt road around here... probably even bumpier than most... but it had the majority of our favorite families living on it. Irene had 4 married adult children (our age), all with children. And three out of four of them lived on that street, or just around the corner. Her husband, Fred, had 2 adult children who also lived on that street or around the corner. Plus, there was a mother-in-law in the mix, and several best friends... all within a short walking distance. These people were some of the coolest, most interesting and like-minded people I knew, and I wanted to be their neighbor! They all had wonderful gardens, and many had goats. They got together and started a 100 family natural foods co-op that was the center of our social life back then. They all had natural childbirths, breastfed their babies, and lived basically an "attachment parenting" lifestyle. If I wanted to visit one of my best friends, I had only to walk a short distance and there was a smiling, wonderful person to invite me into her home, and even feed me! I never wanted to move away. But, move away we did, because Steve got a good job offer he couldn't resist in his hometown of Indianapolis, and we were very poor at that point. We hastily sold our house, moved, and lived in Indiana for 5 years. Then we moved back to this same neighborhood (at my insistance). When we returned, everything was different. For a myriad of reasons, everyone but Fred and Irene had moved away. I still marvel at how wonderful that was to have had these two collective families living in such close proximity and how great that must have been for all the cousins and, of course, the GRANDPARENTS! I guess we are unconciously trying to create another "family neighborhood", because we have now bought up about 10 acres (after initially buying the house and acreage that Fred had provided for his daughter 35 years ago and raising our kids here), and two of our sons live in houses that came with the land. We still have an extra house for another son, though we have an excellent tenant in it right now and would not consider asking her to leave. I can see one of our guys moving into it someday, when it becomes available. Ben (21) is delighted with his own little house, and he's doing a superb job of fixing it up, behaving as a fully-responsible adult. Damian and Maya did an admirable job to making a ramshackle, falling-down (literally) cabin into a lovely, welcoming little bungalow. I'm proud of all of them for their efforts at rescuing houses that were in desperate need of TLC and making the neighborhood a much nicer place to live in the process. We are well on our way to creating the new "Dennis Avenue", or to be more accurate, "the Lester Family Estates".