As is my custom, I was up in the pre dawn hours. This is my last week in Syracuse. The last three years have been good but it is painfully obvious the time has come to move on. I cannot imagine ever returning to Syracuse. I have met and become friends with a small cadre of friends who truth be told are family. Life time relationships have been forged and they will always be cherished. Via long distance, my Syracuse family will be nurtured and loved. These people I will miss to the depths of my soul.
Syracuse has served as a perfect way station. With my parents both deceased as well as two of my closest siblings there is no reason for me to live in New York. Indeed, there is no need for me to live east of the the Mississippi River. I am fulfilling my life long dream of moving west. I will not miss much. Coming of age as an adult and scholar in New York City will remain a foundational part of life. Columbia University was difficult and rewarding. Earning my PhD and seeing my son born were highlights of my life. I had some horrific lows. Divorce. The death of my father and years later my mother. A massive life threatening wound and a year spent in a Clinton bed utterly dependent upon my family--especially my sister Ellen who was the most generous giving person. I would not be alive if not for her. And growing up. Oh my I went through the medical mill and thanks to Arnold P. Gold I reached adulthood despite long odds.
Today begins the process of moving. It has been a gut wrenching morning. I have not moved much in my life because I find moving difficult. I knew I would shed tears today. I am a neat person but dog hair gets everywhere. I know this all too well as ten years after my first labrador Burt died I found some of his hair in the back of a closet when I left Katonah. I knew I would find much of Kate's hair today. I found a lot. I cried a lot. I vacuumed a lot. The overcast gloom and rain fit the occasion. I am doing my best to not move a single hair of hers. I have applied for a service dog and it is time to look forward. To quote Satchel Paige "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you". I have no interest in looking back. Looking forward is exciting. I will of the first time since my son was born live in a modern and exciting city. No more suburban boredom. No gritty Syracuse. Though I should note I will miss parts of Syracuse. The Onondaga Creek Week, Grey Rock Farm, my old view of Cazenovia Lake, and the delicious local kielbasa and bacon.
This move is all about the future--a future that is completely unknown. I am especially curious about what it will be like to live in the West. Will do gooders harass me? Will people continue to congratulate me for the ordinary? You know, the stranger that tell me I am inspiring because I can drive. Will people ask me why I am traveling alone? Is Denver mass transit really as accessible as I have been led to believe? Will I forsake the New York Mets for the Colorado Rockies? The very idea seems preposterous. I know for sure I will remain a New York Ranger fan. It helps that the Avalanche are truly terrible and will be for a while. Will I take all the drives I am dreaming of from Denver? I am only eight hours from Signal Mountain Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, and the Chapel of the Transfiguration. To know I live near the only place in my life I have found solace and spiritual belief brings me a sense of serenity that has been absent most of my life. It is my hope that I will thrive as never before surrounded by the beauty and majestic mountains of the west. As a life long pessimist, it feels decidedly strange to be brimming with optimism.
Paralyzed since I was 18 years old, I have spent much of the last 30 years thinking about the reasons why the social life of crippled people is so different from those who ambulate on two feet. After reading about the so called Ashley Treatment I decided it was time to write a book about my life as a crippled man. My book, Bad Cripple: A Protest from an Invisible Man, will be published by Counter Punch. I hope my book will completed soon.
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Monday, May 22, 2017
The Count Down and Goodbyes Begin
Posted by william Peace at 11:10 AM
PhD 1992 in anthropology Columbia University, I am interested in disability rights and bioethics.
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I too am excited about you being in Denver.
What sports are you going to do in this northern summer?
I plan to bike as much as humanly possible.
Moving is exhausting, I did it one year ago today after living in the same home for 27 years. It sounds as if you have all good reasons to move on, may your last week in Syracuse go well!
What places are you applying to for a service dog? Why Denver vs..? As to hearing able bodied folk say you are an "inspiration"...I note that I always feel a little weird when people say that to me. I'm just doing my thing, getting out there in the world using whatever means I can, be it a walker, wheelchair or scooter. I hate falling, bad repercussions, so 6 months ago I abandoned my walking sticks for a walker, not a sexy accessory but who cares if it gets me safely where I want to go. I had hand controls installed in my vehicle in March, best thing I've done in ages, now I love driving again. But, back to the "you are an inspiration" thing..I think I'm on the same page as you with this one.
Hooray! Biking can be a great way to get to know a city and its people.
"Humanly possible" can be a lot or a little, depending on the circumstance.
Yes, moving is exhausting!
Doing your thing and getting out in the world.
"...or in a car". Hand controls are great.
Adelaide, I try to walk at least one mile a day. Most days I walk a lot more. As for biking, I am a weekend warrior. I generally ride between 18 and 36 miles depending upon how well I can avoid elevation and up hill rides. And yes moving sucks.
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