here is an embarrassing little secret: we did not want to move to our town. in fact, we made a vow to never even move to this state. and, when the chips were down (no jobs and out of money) and it was our only option, I was sad, sad, sad for a long time. our friends living in more bucolic cities like Seattle and Portland made jokes about the smell.
so, when we dragged our sorry selves into the cutest little town we could fine, we felt we were just making a bad situation a little better but our long-term plans were to get out of Dodge as soon as we had a chance. and you know what? we have been here 8 years. in that time, we got 1 graduate degree, bought 1 house and had 2 kids. that is the longest and most action-packed of anywhere I have lived. and, not just in my adult life…in my whole entire life I have never lived anywhere longer than I’ve lived in New Jersey. and, I fricking love it. I love its sarcasm and its wit and its gritty honesty. I love its diversity and its diners and its yearning for authenticity.
and, I really love our town. packed into a three by three mile space are what feels like legions of artists, writers, activists and creative folks…a few are admittedly a little prickly but it’s all part of their charm.
out of that energy and the particular efforts of a very awesome woman, Genese, is a new mosaic project. anyone in the community can take part in it, including our whole family. which, of course, we are.
the mosaic runs along two adjacent sides of the local Reformed church in great swirls of mirrored tile and shards of broken dishes reminiscent of a Klimt painting. we have gone down twice to help out, affixing tiles willy-nilly and marveling as Genese shatters chipped dishes with a hammer to make them tile-sized.
once all the tile is up, they will start in with the painstaking process of applying grout to keep it in place more permanently. it is already obvious that it is going to be stunning but even in its half-finished state the boys think it is amazing. C literally runs in excited circles every time he finishes putting up a tile. J loves slapping a tile on the wall to no end. he chooses each piece very carefully and thoughtfully. I know they will both love knowing they were a part of it for years to come.
and, sure this probably happens all the time in Portland and Seattle….kids are probably crocheting lampposts in infancy there! but, this tiny little suburb we call home can really rally around a project like this and make it feel like it’s got something for everyone.
even the smallest little budding artist. and, I don’t want to get too sappy lest they revoke my state-ship but suffice it to say that Dodge is growing on us and this mosaic might make that a permanent state of mind.
Jennifer Altman says
This post is getting me all chocked up. Really, tears eyed.
It might be because I am really tired and on the verge of a cold.
But I think is it really because I also have grown to love this little town that I never thought I might end up in for good. With it high taxes and dense strip all growth, who knew that my little town, in my little state would be slice of heaven. The people, the arts, the diversity….the love and sense of true community!,
But mostly I think I am teary eyed because I am realizing that there is now a serious and real hope, that this little family of four that you see in the photos above may stay for good and more importantly be in my life for good!
Jennifer Altman says
Sorry about all the typos and bad grammar above. Typing with one finger here….
I feel the same way, my friend. Who knew this place would nestle into our hearts like this! You are such a great part of that.