Friday, October 3, 2014

The Prettiest Summer in Thirty Years

When I was little, we moved every four years. It was a corporate thing. My father's company (now long gone) believed in shifting their executives all the time. We froze in Chicago, sweltered in Washington, and suffered generally in all sorts of other places. After I grew up and married I resolved to stay in one place for as long as I could. So Harold and I have been in the same house in our small New Jersey town for thirty years now.

This summer Forbes Magazine declared our little town to be one of the fifteen prettiest towns in the country, and urged everyone to come and visit, unleashing a flood of tourists on us and further exacerbating our parking problems. Russians and other foreigners come into the Marshall House Museum on Saturdays and Sundays, touring. The weather this summer was glorious, the best I've ever seen anywhere, except maybe Canada. People smile on the street. When I comment on the niceness of the weather they say, "We'll pay for it this winter."

So. Thirty years here. Long enough to get to know half the people in town by name, face, and personal history. It's a small town, four thousand people. Everybody knows your business, you know everybody else's. It almost seems as though this past summer had more than its share of local drama, people dying, people killing themselves, babies being born, folks falling in love, folks getting divorced, folks falling in love and getting divorced, folks stealing huge amounts of money and bankrupting the fire house. And the gorgeous weather. When the sun wasn't shining the rain fell gently, and when the rain was over there were rainbows.

This winter, when we're all paying for it, I may just hole up and write a book.

© 2014 Kate Gallison


  1. What a lovely title to be bestowed on your town by Forbes! My neigborhood is like another planet... my next-door neighbor... I do not even know their names! I've seen them on occasion in the hall on the way to the elevator! What a grand country this is! tjs

  2. I can certainly sympathize with the desire to stay put.I have a class ring and year books for high schools from which I did not graduate. I live in a nice little town (The Collingswood Bookfair is this weekend I think) that is very near all the wonderful things that Philadelphia has to offer

  3. This peace exudes the tranquility that is SUCH a rare commodity on the planet. It was a lovely summer, even here in NYC. And if you ask me, we paid in advance for it last winter. this coming cold should not be brutal. We've been there and done that.

  4. This sounds like the start of a novel already. Wonderful slice and makes me want to know more.