Nine months since I packed the car in Milford and headed south with three kids, six bags, and loads of movies. Nine months since we did what we wanted, in a fuck the consequences kinda way, like – get outta town – hop on the bus gus – life is a beach – fuckem if they cant take a joke – the experience will do us good – life is too short – broaden the horizon – migrate like a nomad – follow the sun and live your dream…
So what was it like? Living the dream on the beach? It was just like life. But sunnier. It so wasn’t Milford. It was so Miami Beach. But it was life nevertheless. Husband and I still had fights. So did the twins. We still had homework and laundry and rashes and crushes. I still got rejection letters and I still cared when they came. Only it was 78 degrees in February. Only some days we said lets have lunch on the beach, and I made sandwiches and we hopped on our bikes and ten minutes later lay in the sand, stood in the surf, without guilt, on a Tuesday afternoon.
When I look back there were some memorable moments, quite a few actually, like I have a top ten of my high and low moments of nine months at the beach:
1. October>The Halloween cross dressing party for grown ups, after candy rounds with the kids, going back home and dressing up with husband, have a scotch in the bathroom while he tried to get into a bra and pantyhose, making myself up like a man, and leaving the house around 11 instead of coming home at 11. Coming home at 3 am. Drunk and stoned. Not done that in a while great start to our Miami Beach party season…
2. Which concluded with a party on Biscayne Point a few weeks ago when husband wore his pajama striped pale linen pants and I wore new white silk pants, and our host dropped his glass of red wine at our feet, splashing it mostly over husband ‘s pants and within ten minutes of our arrival I’m sitting with my feet in the pool, for once wishing for high chlorine levels to help remove the wine stains, and look through the gauze curtains to my left only to see husband in his white y-fronts standing by an elaborate four poster bed while host holds up pant after pant, as if they’re at Prada together. Me thinks, well, thats the fastest A has ever gotten out of his pants at a party and how gay is that host? Not at all it turned out, he had buxom brunette twins in matching shorts and fishnet stockings launching around, bored and clearly waiting for the party to be over. One well-groomed older lady referred to them as “the hired help”. Still, it turned into one of the best parties when Tray Lockerbie, a young singer from Nashville stepped out with his guitar, sang a few songs and inspired three more musicians to come out, including husband. They jammed, we sang. We danced. Got home late, husband in different pants from the ones he left home in – a sign of a good time had…
3. Our dinner parties at our Aqua Candyland Bachelor Pad like the one in honor of Eyjafjallajökull and Zaha Hadid who could not make it home to London because of the ash… four fabulous Miami Matriarchs: Sam, Iran, Kathy and Esther, dishing and gossiping and one-upping with stories of their wildest Miami moments…
4. The twins birthday party by the pool, voted best party by them, in 90 degree weather, ten ten-year old girls and two boys (pretending they were at their own separate party) going wild. Iona came to the rescue, miraculously, like a pied piper, rounded them up and bossed them around into orderly games that included hula hoops, diving for prizes and water guns. All a sweaty, hamburger-scented blur to me.
5. Top best moment beyond, over and above parties: Finding out that Iona got into DASH. A top-ten-ever-proud-mother-moment.
6. The “gifted” test of the twins. A controversial public school moment, where I bought into the system that separates the so-called gifted kids from the rest, and puts them in classes that are superior in method and level of teacher. Hm. Ok, some another time shall I rant about this. Anyway. To get there from here, my girls needed to get an IQ test of sorts. Now. You have to know that over the years opinions by various teachers on their intelligence and the ability to apply themselves have varied. I never wavered, but was often worn down by negative reports that included notes like “unable to concentrate”, “reading impaired”, “incomplete homework”. So this test was a test. A test about who was right. Was my conviction just motherly love? Like Kiki said, “of course you think we’re smart, you’re our Mom!” She thought the teachers were the only authority, and when “gifted” teacher, Mr Spagnola, told their class that they were “the worst class in the school” the last nail had been nailed into their “see Mom, we’re stupid” coffin.
They tested brilliantly. Smart, ahead of their age, eloquent, sensitive and insightful. A weight of self-doubt fell off my shoulders, the veil of insecurity was lifted from their aura. Just one silly test was all it took. I know its all relative, the Wizard of Oz is right about certificates, but, but, it was a good Miami moment.
7. The day I moved into my small sunny studio at Ofer Mizrahi’s utopian village alongside the tracks on 4th North Court. I’d had my eye on the small, like 250 sq.ft, studio for months – a palm-tree just outside the french doors, surrounded by young painters, designers environmentalists and architects. A place of my own to escape to… for more look under # 7 in my Worst Miami Moments…
8. My Mom’s visit. Showing her all my favorite things and seeing her health improve in the sun, surrounded by granddaughters and love.
9. Getting my scarves into Base at the Delano Hotel, making clothes again, finding local women who can sew and bead and enjoy making my stuff while getting paid, and realizing that I can start my business here and help clean the beaches from plastic pollution and maybe make a difference in the environmental consciousness of Miami. All of which is recorded here: http://itsamanmadeworld.wordpress.com/
10. Marriage. We have been together 20 years this Labor Day. Twenty years is longer than I lived in Amsterdam by two years. Its ten years longer than my life in London. In twenty years everything happens. E V E R Y T H I N G. Jobs come and go. Money comes and goes. Parents die, kids are born. Friends die, friends are born. Dreams die, dreams are born. Together we lived in Tribeca and on 9th Street, we lived in an old terracotta factory on the Raritan Canal just outside Princeton which flooded during hurricane Floyd and a week later I was pregnant with twins. We moved to Milford, we built our dream house, we moved to Miami.
Love. I learned that love changes. That love isn’t static but more like a pink lava lamp. Sometimes we are completely one, sometimes we are at odds, but we always come back together with more love, more intensity and more understanding.
Miami was his idea. We needed it, he said. We needed sun as in light, and parties. He challenged us and some days this made me mad. Some days I did not want to be Barbi in Miami, I wanted to just be Barbara again. But now, a year later, he has left for Milford and I miss him. And I love him more for making us do this, and for taking me into our marriage deeper than ever before…
Iona and I are here for two more weeks, while she does her DASH summer camp and I enter ten more memorable Miami moments, coming soon….
June 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm
June 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm
genius the way you brush a snapshot with just enough words
June 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm
beautifully written.. thanks for al the insights..
does this mean you are leaving miami??
June 16, 2010 at 12:19 am
Wonderfully written Barbara. It comes from your heart, the emotions are deep and they touch, and you are both vulnerable and strong. The images are vivid and alive. This is the best piece you have done (so far).
June 16, 2010 at 4:02 am
I love “like a pink lava lamp” it is perfect.
June 17, 2010 at 1:08 am
Love it!! Time flies, seems like just yesterday I was reading all about the details of your trip down to Miami! Looking forward to many more memorable times!
June 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm
June 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm
Now I have read Jun 15 the one I missed, with Jun 19 last night, with enthusiasm. I wrote a garbled comment so shelved it. But it was about geography, the saying in AA that geography changes nothing which is true. Same old shit makes me angry and happy. But geography does change intention for a bit, all wide-eyed wonder, imaginings of fortune and favor, and things like dinner out. Hah! Geography gives one ignorance for awhile until the real meat kicks in and the locals wonder what the hell were you thinking. Geography takes five years. So we shifted north of New York, totally wrong direction. After three months of soggy brained but somewhat beautiful Woodstock we turned south, a magnet was at work. Instead of straight back to New York we thought compromise would work in New Paltz. But all we got for beauty was lonely. And poor and angry. We fled south, landing in Staten Island, not a place that belongs to New York as solidly as, say Brooklyn, but it’s an hour to anywhere in Manhattan. And the ferry is free. Still, it’s temporary — again. Geography lies. Geography is an opportunist. Geography promises and we stupidly believe it. But hearts don’t lie as much, so next stop maybe we’ll call home, stop moving and actually fulfill a dream: Putting up a wall of bookshelves. You nailed it throughout two posts, you are brave and your daughters are three things you can take to the bank. Good posting writing, keep swimming even when there is no water.
June 24, 2010 at 4:39 am
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