Thursday, May 14, 2009


It won't be any great shock to anyone to hear I'm an Ithacan through and through. I have its zip code in my email address, I'm constantly wearing the t-shirt my friend sent with "Ithaca" on the front in Korean characters, I dream in forest green and Cayuga blue... if I were to pick five labels to place on myself, they would probably be Ithacan, American, vegetarian, Cornellian, and carbon-based life form (or possibly Ithacan again). Oh, yeah, and teacher. I should add that.

I've missed Ithaca so much for 14 years. If you've lived there, you'll understand (even if you don't fully share the sentiment; the weather's pretty crappy, I admit). If not, you'll have to take my word for it: waterfalls right in town, the hills, the lake, the town Utne Reader named "the most enlightened city in America" and (right-wing nutcase magazine) Free Republic calls "the city of evil"...

Today I signed into the "you know you're from Ithaca if..." group on Facebook and read several pages regarding "something you remember that isn't there now". Oh, mistake. The Temple Theater, the old library, the older library, Andrews' candy shop, Johnny's Big Red Grill ("Wait! What happened?!) The list brought it all (but me) home. Now I don't know if I'm homesick for Ithaca, or for 1970.

In some ways, I'm better off away from Ithaca; I do better with more sunlight and there are too many shadows of who I used to be. Still, I've always had it in the back of my mind that one day, when I have enough money to live out the rest of my life, I'll return to Ithaca. (Current calculations put the date in mid-September 2038.) But I know that most of the people I cared about have left, geographically or otherwise, and the town has changed and, I imagine, will change more. But its heart is still Ithacan, like mine.

Yeah, I got it bad.


Anonymous said...

I hear you man.... may end up there myself. My wife Linda (from Ohio)loves the place too. We know the gorges and parks will still be there but I suspect the Palms and the Rongovian Embassy may be there as well.


Anonymous said...

Here are snippets from a Poem by Constantine Cavafy entitle "Ithaka":
"When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction."
"Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out."

LRod said...

Jamestown (below and left—unfortunately not politically) is the same for me. Chautauqua County is very high on my list of most beautiful places, but so much of my yout is gone that I don't think I could ever live there again. Especially the 180" of snow per annum. After a third of my life in Florida, I'm sure I'm done with that.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, as your favorite niece, just to keep you connected to Greenstar Grocery and Ithaca in general, I presently live in Geneva and my daughter Aly, your progeny, wants to attend Cornell in 2010. Yeah the weather still rots,( except summer) but the green, the lake, the beauty and the vibe of Ithaca remain the same. Stop in sometime...