Hello. It’s me. It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog it’s taken awhile to remember how this all works – how to download the photos, navigate the website, and even log in to my account. After getting lost a few times I eventually found my way and here I am.
It was Orson Welles who convinced me to return. I found a poster taped to the inside of a cabinet door at the condo in Roanoke, Virginia where Rich and I are riding out our days during the pandemic.
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? ~ The Cuckoo Clock, Orson Welles from the Plainwell Philosophers Series
I read this as a message that if you have a desire to write there is no better time to do it than during difficult times.
You may recall I have opinions. As Barbara Kingsolver once said: “I don’t understand how any good art could fail to be political. Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life. Literature sucks you into another psyche. So the creation of empathy necessarily influences how you’ll behave to other people. How can that not affect you politically? We have an obligation to take it seriously – and I do. Perhaps that’s why I’m marked.”
We came to Roanoke to work and to escape the long winter in Vermont. A friend we met last year and did some work for in Florida has a condo here and it’s in need of some TLC before he sells it.
We hit the road just as the first cases of coronavirus in the U.S. were being reported. One month later we are still here. There is plenty of work and we are grateful for the opportunity to earn a paycheck. The Sugarhouse where I work back at home in Vermont is a gym with a swimming pool at the Mount Snow ski area and is now closed indefinitely. The 2nd homeowners who provide most of Rich’s work have left their homes in NY, NJ, and Connecticut and are hiding out in the Green Mountains. We are hiding out in Roanoke.
Rich is stripping wallpaper, painting, and taking care of needed repairs. I am cleaning quite the mess left by a former tenant. My housekeeping resume is solid. It began the summer I was seventeen and worked as a chambermaid at a Howard Johnson’s along Route 95 just outside of Providence. When Rich and I left Florida we ran a Bed & Breakfast in Connecticut for a year. If you’re new to my blog those stories are here in The Innkeepers Journal and Walking – 365 Days, a chronicle of my two years in Florida. Since moving to Vermont, along with my job as a receptionist I also take on occasional housekeeping gigs at ski condo rentals. Not long after Trump got elected I stopped blogging but there are a few Stories From Higley Hill, which is where we now live.
Sheltering in place is strange when you’re doing it in someone else’s home but Rich and I are restless wanderers, seekers of adventure and variety. We have heard there is still snow on the ground in Vermont and we missed a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago. It is springtime in Roanoke. There are flowering trees, a variety of birdsong, and happy hour on the deck. We are ten minutes from the Blue Ridge Mountains where we follow our shadows along hiking trails that we have mostly to ourselves, along with the birds and the deer.
Besides cleaning I am organizing. Making room in closets and cupboards for things that were piled on the floors and tables. To put it in real estate lingo, I am working with what is here to stage the condo for showings. There were plenty of empty boxes scattered around so I carefully pack old mementoes and only toss out what is clearly junk – empty plastic grocery bags, Q-tips on the floor and carpeting (don’t ask, I never got an answer from the tenant), empty toilet paper rolls, (if only they were full – it’s been impossible to find toilet paper). Worn out mottled tupperware without matching lids, empty takeout food containers under the coffee table (more on that later).
I myself am a sentimental hoarder and can barely part with my own possessions like every drawing my daughters ever made and old souvenirs from long ago vacations. The Orson Wells message taped to the door of a cupboard that is filled with photo albums looks exactly like a cupboard in our master bedroom in Vermont so I am leaving it as is. These are not my lifetime of memories. I’m just creating order and trying to make it easier for our friend when he can escape his own days of isolation and get to Roanoke to retrieve his precious memorabilia. There is something very satisfying about creating order in this time of chaos.
Some of my earlier coronavirus stories are on my Instagram page. The link is to your right along with the links to my books if you’re looking for a good read during these quiet days.
In order for a blog to reach more readers it needs participation in the form of Likes and Comments which has something to do with algorithms and other technical things that are not my strong point. I do know it has to do with reader participation so please hit the Like button and/or share your stories during these difficult days in the comments section below. Join the conversation. I need to know you are out there.
BTW – Does anyone know the name of those purple flowering trees that are in full bloom in Virginia right now?