03 Jun

Downtown Decades

I’m feeling ambivalent lately about a significant milestone, and this post is one way of coping. I lived in downtown Hartford for 40 years and loved it. The convenience and safety of walking to restaurants, museums, theater, ball games, concerts, stores and drinks with friends were wonderful. So was the energy; I loved having my finger on the pulse of the city. However, I’ve had to admit, reluctantly, that it’s time for our next chapter.

During COVID we stayed at our house on the shore, rather than our downtown apartment. It made no sense to share an elevator with others’ germs when we didn’t have to, plus most of the activities I’d normally walk to weren’t even available. Then my husband retired (sort of) from his law firm, and no longer needs to live near his office. He won’t be able to brag anymore that his vertical commute is longer than his horizontal one.

For me, however, the change is more traumatic. Being able to walk downtown and bump into acquaintances was so much easier than having to plan to meet someone just to take a walk! I was also spoiled about not having to worry when going out – rush hour? parking? drinking and driving? Not my issues, being on foot and street smart. Newest restaurant? Been there. Who’s who with that economic development project? I was all over it. Feeling like a “has-been” is tough, though I tell myself it’s a natural part of aging. And yeah, you can imagine how much that helps!

This painting not only honors my time downtown, it captures the ambilvalence I feel about the transition. It’s called Stormy Sunset and it shows a spectacular storm, as viewed from my apartment window. Talk about metaphors – the sun through the clouds, etc. In any case, the thunderclouds and rain funnels against the backdrop of a particularly brilliant sunset really struck me, and maybe they do you, too.

10 comments

  1. Beautiful words and gorgeous painting. I really love the painting and the inspiration in creating it.

  2. Definitely some silver linings, Karen. Your writing about Howe Caverns will undoubtedly be one of those. Meanwhile, pollywogs and swimming lessons – two of my least favorite memories. LOL

  3. Thanks for reading and commenting, Marilyn! Yes, walkable cities are trendy, finally. Glad to have brought back fond memories of your adventures on the T!

  4. Nice Blog, Beth.

    Didn’t we all endure unexpected change and demands? Some surprised us , and helped us to thrive. Been Thinking about a family trip to Howe caverns. “Emerging from the Caverans of Covid might be my next newsletter.

    This last week was like diving into Spring Pond (Pollywogs and all), on a cold May morning swimming lesson.

  5. I know exactly how you feel. Of course, I think we will find more “seniors” moving back to the city…We are so dependent on our CARS and it would be nice to walk downtown, etc. Nelson and I used to get our “fix” periodically and drive to the T stop and take the train to Boston. I really miss that!

  6. Beth, I can SO relate to this post and of course, I absolutely LOVE this painting! As you know, I have two of your “Hartford” series in my home here in Naples, having purchased them back in 2008 or 2009 when I was a city resident myself and proud of it! I also have some of the same ambivalent feelings you do, especially now that I live in a gated community in SW Florida. I do miss being a “downtowner” sometimes, but I have my city sunset paintings to remind me of those years and I cherish them.

  7. As the world opens up I bet you will be walking other cities to fill in the gaps. And you’ll have new memories.

    You captured a traumatic moment in a beautiful way.

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Beth Pite | 42 Bayberry Lane | Groton, CT 06340 | Phone: (860) 983-5265 | Email: beth@bethpite.com

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