Sunday, January 27, 2008

Philly Gal meets Midwestern Guy and moves HIM to Madison, Wisconsin: A Short Fable

(Madison, WI Skyline-seen from Lake Monona)

What a long, strange trip it's been...
and it ain't over yet:

Theresa, my wife, got a horrifically great job offer about nine years ago after looking around on the internet.
She was due.
The offer to become the design and operations manager
for a start-up furniture company in Madison, Wi.
This was her brass ring.
We were living in Quakertown, PA, then, about 30 miles from Philly, just far enough to be out of the worst of the traffic and still have easy access to the Eagles, tomato pie, cheesesteaks, Nockamixon state park and Yuengling ale.
We were married in a colonial church in Dublin, PA.
She was partnered up, had two antique stores and a thriving furniture restoration business. I was working in my other life, as a photojournalist, and doing well.
Then there were the friends she had made over a lifetime in Philly and Upper Bucks county, and her family who looked on me as one of their own.
We had finished rehabbing our 115 year old rowhome-no garage,
a back yard the size of, well, maybe two ping - pong tables. (Recently sold for 189k - but I will get to that.)

Her sons Ben and Alex were not as eager as she was, but came around when the realized the could always move back to PA later.
I could not have been prouder of her career efforts
-and happier that we were going.
And she knew it.
Because after nearly six years in PA, this Midwestern boy, a Minnesota native,
was looking west at the sunset more often that he cared to admit.
"I know you want to be closer to your family," she said.
Theresa had never lived more than a days' drive away from any of her immediate family.
Off to Madison, WI it was. And what a great place to be.
We took our money from the rowhome and
built a spanky new single home, on the east side of Madison in Reston Heights, with a yard for her gardens, -and a garage!
Go Figure.
The snow blower, fire pit, five gardens (one rose, one for veggies and the rest flowers), weed whacker and lawn mower all followed. So did Lake Monona cruises, Mallards baseball games, lotsa Leinies and brats, a little too much cheese,
Taste of Madison, the Farmers' Market, the Badgers,
riding our bikes to wherever we felt like and watching our neighbors homes go up, the families move in, becoming their friends drinking wine around the fire pit, Ben staying with us, Alex visiting from PA, and success at her new job.
...the greatest blessing of all-being with someone who loved where I had come from-almost as much as I loved her.
That was five years ago.
Theresa and I both miss Madison, and manage to get there often enough
and host our old friends for the past three years at our new,
100-year old, restored Arts & Crafts home along the Rock River in Ft. Atkinson.She put the company on the map, and went back to school.
She is on the honor roll.
She has one more year at UW-Madison.
She always manages to find a home with southern exposure, and doves.

Wherever I hold her hand, that will be home.



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