York on my mind
Posted April 3, 2012on:
it’s on my mind lately. I miss it. No, I don’t want to move back there to live. I don’t want to go back there to visit neither. But I miss the 3 years I spent living there, the memories, the experiences. Sort of like the same way I miss Viet Nam. The physical connection to the place has been cut, but for what it had been and for where I had lived, the same world lives on in my mind for years and years.
Today, for example, I wondered what has happened to the new Chinese Market that opened up in downtown York the last year 1.5 years was there. The owners are Chinese who speak a dialect that is closer to Hokkien than Cantonese, barely any English, but fluent in Spanish. They used to have a stand at the Farmer Market House on Penn Street, selling mainly fish, but other random vegetables on the side. Then one day, the older Vietnamese couple we knew in York told us that a new Chinese Market has opened up around the corner of that Market House building. When I got there, it was a fullfledge Chinse grocery store, carrying most of what I might ever need including fresh asian spices, herbs, and vegetables. I tried my best to buy everything for our household from them, no matter what price they charged – and they were very reasonable. I wanted them to succeed in a place where I saw less Asians coming into the store than other ethnicities. They were always friendly and helpful, giving treats and compliments to May often. I wonder how they are doing now, as I browsed the aisles of endless fresh produce at Ranch 99 or Berkeley Bowl. Are they making good profit? Have they become well known to the Asians living scattered all over the area? I wish I could buy from them again.
Other days I remembered how beautiful York is around this time of the year, when May was about to be born. I walked through the whole neighborhood enough for the nurses to remember seeing me and commented when they saw me at the hospital. One of them said, “I told my friend when I saw you last week ‘that one will be in soon'” My old neighborhood in York was full of trees that have lush green blossoms in April. I thought they were leaves at first, until they fell to the ground and I picked them up to realize they were flowers. I used to bring one home from my walks while waiting for May to come.
Those were also the days before I knew fear and felt the tension and instability of life. It’s always there of course, and I was aware of it, but I think there was one point I was on the other side, and then I was brought over to this side. It came with motherhood, but not entirely because of motherhood. Maybe it’s more fair to say that it came with time, and I was perhaps fortunate to have been on the other side for as long as I could.
My old neighbor wrote to report that there are 2 women and a child living in what was once our home in York. He said the back yard is filled with play structures, but the occupants are quiet and private. I know that this year daffodils will spring up from the same spot where they surprised us last year. On the hardwood floor downstairs, if they look closely, they might find 2 red Crayola streaks the 20 month old May left that I could not rub off.