COMING HOME (Tales of a Tindominium #5)
Home: 1. Residence; 2. family group; 3. Birthplace; 4. Native habitat; 5. Place of origin; 6. Headquarters; 7. Safe place. After almost six months in paradise, we left St. John, returning to Massachusetts. But this time we weren’t heading to Scituate, where we had lived for thirty-three years. This time, we were off to live “over the bridge,” on outer Cape Cod, where until now, we had only vacationed. We arrived at our tindominium in Wellfleet on Friday, the 13th of May, our 39th anniversary. Steve and I had been married once before, a million years ago, each to high school sweethearts, which didn’t turn out so sweet. We intentionally chose to be married on a Friday the 13th, sticking our nose up at any suggestion of bad luck. Almost four decades later, we had come full circle. The term tindominium came from a writer friend. When I was asked the previous fall at a writing committee dinner where I would be living when not in St. John, I had hesitated. How do you tell people that you are going to live in a trailer? By choice? Even my avant-garde writing colleagues would question my sanity, for sure. I began to describe where and what my new home was, searching for words, when Barbara Ross got it. “Oh, you mean you’re moving into a tindominium,” she said, with delight, sharing she had family who were doing the same. I relaxed, realizing I should always trust my writing tribe to understand writers don’t always do things the way normal people do. Pulling into the driveway, seeing the tindominium for the first time in a long time, I had an “Oh shit, what have we done?” moment. Nothing had changed since the first day I set my eyes on my new home, a 1995 Sportsman trailer with wheels that had been flat forever. The tindo hadn’t been on the road in decades. But it had been the vacation home for a family that had been kind and affectionate to it. It just had some wear and tear, and it was dated. The blue couch and chair with huge gaudy flowers on it felt as if they were from a television set for All in the Family. The bedspread on the queen-size bed matched. The carpet was shag, the linoleum dirty beige, and the “woodwork” dark with gold trim. The stove was so tiny, the double sinks so miniature, I was sure I was in a Barbie kitchen, grateful at least that it wasn’t pink. There was no dishwasher, no washer and dryer. And all of the work we hoped would be completed before we arrived had never happened. I wasn’t surprised. But the toilet flushed and there was water running from the faucets. We had electricity and a refrigerator that worked. The stove lit. Neighbors came by to say hello and offer a hand. Our builder promised us we’d have our improvements in no time. I knew we had made a commitment to a radical change in lifestyle, but this day, more than any, made me wonder, were we nuts? If I closed my eyes, would I be back in a house with modern appliances and a view of the ocean? I couldn’t help but speculating what my Irish lace mother would think of her daughter living in a trailer park, even if it was next to an Audubon sanctuary. Should we have just stayed in St. John in our little cottage? No. We knew what we had done and what we were going to do. Giving up living space physically meant we were opening our hearts to chance and choice. We were creating room for the adventures we wanted to share and this was just the beginning. We celebrated our anniversary with a marvelous dinner at Petit Boulangerie Bistro and then sipped brandy before turning in at our new Home.