a ticket to Roam, Italy

In ALL, INTROSPECTION, RELOCATING by Stephanie Klein14 Comments

I am now a Texan living in New York. There are times in your life where you worry that you’re moving backward. You’re not going forward, but you’re moving back. It’s how I’ve felt about moving back to Long Island, where I was raised, where I haven’t lived since I was seventeen. I was moving back, literally and figuratively.

I moved back to a place where I remember pacing in the kitchen of my parents’ home in the dark, bound to one room by a curly phone cord, speaking on a “party line” for $0.50 a minute to boys I’d never meet. I remember lying in the sun room, staring out at a tree, wondering if there was anyone else, in that same moment, staring out at tree–that the mere act and timing of it connected us in some way, like lovers apart who’ve promised to stare at the same star, at the same time each night, to feel together. It’s the first time I remember feeling connected to the universe, that there was a destined route and rhyme for my life.

Going back to this place as an adult, I feared it meant I’d failed at something–that it would be a regression, back to the streets I’d outgrown. But, I’ve totally been surprised.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said aloud, “This is amazing!” I’ll drive down streets and break into song. With each new turn onto old streets I’m energized. Little me once sat at that table, just where Abigail sits now. I went shopping here with my Grandmother. I learned to swim right there, dove for the first time off that edge, and now, my children will walk in my footsteps and wander off to create their own prints. And it doesn’t cost a dime.

No matter where you end up living in life, many of us have the choice to go back, to create an alternate universe with different limits and new freedoms. It’s just a great, great feeling, and I’ve been so surprised by it.

I’m fortunate enough to have had a childhood free of abuse, untainted by dark memories I’d sooner forget. I had a childhood on a carousel at Nunley’s, strapped in but standing, reaching for the brass ring. This is the place where I was first loved, the place where I learned who I wanted to be. Now, I’m at the “BE” part, grownup, and I have the opportunity to face that, to meet with my childhood self, sit under a tree, splitting poly-noses (a maple seed that splits and can be stuck to your nose), and asking the questions. I have a feeling she’d climb in my lap, both hands on my face, and tell me, “You’re doing OK, kid.” I don’t think she’d be disappointed, I really don’t. Which makes me feel proud.

I’m filled with so much excitement here, loving it. I can’t get enough. If you asked me to leave, I wouldn’t. I got in the car and was looking for a HomeGoods, which of course was around the corner, but the GPS couldn’t find one, so I ended up just driving around, waiting for the GPS to find one on its signal. I love exploring. Phil gets impatient, “Where we going? What’s going on?” So, I just drop him off at home to watch TV, while I go out and roam. So, yeah, I was in “Roam” today, and it might as well have been Rome, Italy. My roam consisted of the Old Town of Roslyn, home to Diane’s Bakery and the duck pond, where I’d gone after Prom, where we explored and roamed in a very different way.

I LOVE being back, not just in New York, but on Long Island, specifically. Going back sometimes enables you to go forward. It can be the best thing for you. It revives you and gives you that safety–yes, from a town! You feel like people are pulling for you; they believe in you. It’s home. Except this home needs some Austin.

This weekend, we’re off to the Hamptons, staying at Alexandra’s summer home, seeing Smelly and the gang, where there will be girl love, as we watch our children play together as we drink wine.

This post was more or less a transcription of the audio I unsuccessfully uploaded the other day. Ups and downs, figured I’d share the ups, too.


  1. I think you meant to say that you were “energized”, not “enervated”? Anyway, glad things are going well!

  2. 14 years ago I moved ‘home’…actually 6 houses up from the home I grew up in, divorced, single, mom of 3 babies and scared shitless. There is simply nothing like it. Here, my parents and I raised the babies to be astonishing people – and as the babies move out – here I am to take care of the village business. Life is a circle – it’s wonderful to be at every part of it.

  3. This post really spoke to me. I’m in the position where I may be moving, not just back to my hometown, but to my childhood home itself. Lots a weird feelings there. I lived there from age 7 until 18, then in the summers during college, sunday dinners with my parents until they moved out when I was 30. They still own it and it would be a huge help for them if my partner and I bought it. And it is a great house in a great community. I’m just weirded out about being “the grown up” in a house where I was once a child.

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I’m glad you still consider yourself an “Austinite”. I’m from Long Island and ended up here in Austin. I could not wait to escape LI. Now when I get back to visit, I am amazed at how wonderful it really is. I haven’t been back in a few years, but am looking forward to an October trip.

  5. So glad that you have arrived safely and are enjoying reacquainting yourself to your home. I am headed to West Texas next weekend for my 30th high school reunion and feel the same giddiness. I have not lived there in 30 years and have been back only once in ten years, but the love and feelings for my hometown are still vibrant. The saying is true…you can take the girl out of the town but can’t take the town out of the girl!

  6. Beautiful! So happy for you! I had a similar experience when visiting my parents, and we are considering moving back there. Having read your post, I am more excited about that possibility!

  7. You are not a Texan, you are a girl from long island. That financial bomb comment is still waiting on an explanation. I long thought that losing money on the sale of your Austin McMansion was going to be a problem…

    1. Why does this negative person keep on commenting on this blog?
      Please, if you want to write negative statements, move onto Urban Baby….

  8. Wish I could write as well as you do and express my feelings. I feel I know the experience that you are going through. Been there and it was good to read about it.

  9. Wow, you sound so happy & positive. You are getting all the great, good vibes from a familiar world. Best of luck.

  10. Welcome (back) to Long Island. When I got divorced at 29, I bought an apartment in Great Neck and am still there with husband #2 (even though I work in the City) and I luurrvvve it.

    Since you just got here and would probably enjoy a night out after the stresses of moving, I wanted to offer some suggestions of places to go:
    Toku, Miracle Mile – good energy on a Saturday night, good food, strong drinks.
    Cipollini, Miracle Mile – good on a Sunday afternoon or anytime you want to sit outside for some yummy Italian.
    Louie’s, Port Washington – indoor/outdoor seating, nice sunsets, very casual, good food.
    Waterzooi Belgian Bistro, Garden City – totally yummy mussels.
    Limani, Roslyn (Northern Blvd) and Ethos, Great Neck – great Greek food, nice atmosphere.
    Besito, Roslyn – Really nice restaurant, good for a Saturday night with friends.

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