“We’re in the Witness Protection Program,” is my typical response when people ask why we move so often. From my earliest memories, my family relocated frequently due to my father’s work. Then I spent 35 years as a Marine’s wife. So, when people inquire, “Where are you from?” I just pick somewhere I’ve lived because it’s too complicated to give the long version of how, where, and why I don’t have a “from”. I impress more people when I claim I’m from Hawaii. I did live there twice.
This past holiday season, our family continued a 30+ year tradition of watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve. I’ve been getting increasingly perturbed with George Balley for the last decade! What was wrong with Bedford Falls? You could definitely count on a white Christmas. It had a Walk Score close to 100 because no one needed a car to get around. Everyone spoke as they passed on the sidewalk in front of Balley Brothers’ Building and Loan. George knew Mary from childhood, so they got engaged after their first kiss. They picked up a large fixer-upper home for a steal. Yet it always seemed that George dreamed of getting away and living in faraway, exotic places. My question: why did it take an angel named Clarence to get him to appreciate that he had a wonderful life right there in Bedford Falls?
Growing up and living in one town seemed perfect to me. George and I should have changed places. Military orders sent us all over the world: four years in Okinawa, Japan, where I was able to visit the Great Wall in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia. In Israel for a year we travelled to Egypt and rode camels to the pyramids, and bought jewelry from shops in Jordan and Syria. There was also Hawaii and many other erotic places. When my husband retired in 2004, I was excited to seek my perfect permanent home. You know, where the grass is always greener.
Florida had potential. I came with my list: moderate climate, high Walk Score (car unnecessary), front porch with an ocean view, small town atmosphere, and a low cost fixer upper. Surprise! It seemed impossible to get everything I wanted to make it perfect…like Bedford Falls. I convinced my husband to move four times in Florida as I searched for the greenest grass. It came as a complete shock when I learned that I had a serious condition: Grass is Greener Syndrome. It seems to occur mainly in people who always want what they don’t have at the time. I immediately sought a cure.
Two treatments had promising results and good prognoses:
1) Want what I have and not want what I don’t.
2) Water the grass where I am so it will remain the greenest.
It took a financial crisis and an angel for George Balley to overcome his Grass is Greener Syndrome. I’m well on my way to recovery. I am now from Florida.