On July 21, I moved out of the condo that was home for sixteen years, fourteen of them with the man who is now legally my former husband. Most of my things went to a storage space on Aurora. The rest of them, and I, moved into a MIL apartment by Green Lake that dear and generous friends offered to me “for as long as you need it.” The offer came a few days after I had made the decision that — even though I had no idea where I’d be moving to – it was time to put the condo on the market. An affirmation that I had made the right decision and an act of love and generosity that blew me away. 

I think it was in May that we told the realtor who had bought and sold for us in the past (when there was an “us,” other than just co-owners of property) that we were planning to sell, the market was red hot. “In this market,” he said, “we don’t need to do any work on it. Just sell it As Is.”  

But the red hot flame, at least in the real estate market, had cooled by the time I moved out and the condo was listed. Hardly anyone came to see it. Going back to the empty townhouse to get my mail and do my laundry (I love my washer-dryer), less than a week after it went onto the MLS, I was struck by how off the place felt to me. Neglected. Abandoned. Not cared for. The silent testimony to a marriage not cared for for too long. 

A coat of paint wouldn’t have saved the marriage. I’m not sure that anything cosmetic could have done that, nor am I convinced that even deeper work would have done the trick. I suspect we were unfixable practically from day one. But I knew that a coat of paint was exactly what these battered and nicked walls needed.

We pulled it off the market. A friend’s husband does house painting and was willing to let me assist in small tasks like taking the plates off light switches and outlets. (Who knew there were so many?) Then he assigned me to dabbing a little paint on the spots where it was completely wrecked to prep it. By the third day, I was painting the pantry, which hadn’t been part of our original plan. But it clearly needed it, as did the closets that I moved on to.  

It felt redemptive to be part of the process of freshening up what was still my home, even though I was no longer living in it. I know the history of almost every nick and scratch and dent. I know why there’s two-sided sticky tape on a variety of surfaces (it had to do with the cat). I recognize every nail hole and know what picture hung in what spot. I don’t want to disappear the history that was lived there, but I do want to put the best face on the home we inhabited and send it off with as much positivity as possible. It deserves it. 

I wrote those paragraphs about a month ago. Since then, we finished painting and a stager completed the transformation. Three days after the condo went back on the market, we got an offer. It’s due to close before the end of the month. 

I am now on a plane flying back to Seattle to do the final packing of my things before driving to Minneapolis, also before the end of the month, where my (step)son and his family now live. The divorce did not separate us; they are still my family and I am moving to be close to them. I’ve known I wanted to leave Seattle for quite some time, that I want to start a new chapter of my life in a new place. I just didn’t know, until very recently, that it was going to be Minneapolis. It’s daunting to move to a new city, where I don’t know the territory, either literally or figuratively, but it’s also exciting. I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to be both grandma and single woman in a new city.

Flying to Minneapolis last Tuesday, a very tall man kindly lifted my suitcase into and out of the overhead bin. Today, no tall willing men in sight, I hefted my bag up and stowed it away on my own steam. It’s a metaphor and an affirmation. At least, I’m taking it as such. 

Photos by Ruth Neuwald Falcon

24 Comments

  1. It came as a shock, Ruth, to learn of you and Ted going your separate ways; it saddens me, and yet I do wish you both well as you move on into this next chapter of your lives, hopefully with the care, support and well-wishes of the other, despite the differences.

    Love to you both, dear Ruth, Susannah

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Ruth! You’re really taking charge of your life — moving and moving on in such a positive way. It’s Seattle’s loss and Minneapolis’s gain.
    You are such a blessing — to me and to so many others. My love and best wishes go with you. May your new city and new life be all that you wish them to be.
    With love, gratitude, appreciation, respect, and admiration…
    Marilyn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Ruth, I want to simply say that I love you and wish you happiness and joy as you take your next step to Minneapolis. ❤️❤️❤️ from Eileen and Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done Ruth! Way to find your way through and make way for a new future. I love your plans. Sounds perfect. Much love to you and the best of every thing! Susie

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear pal,

    This is another moving and vivid piece. You really lay it out there, beautifully.

    Wow, Minneapolis. I hope it suits you well. Leah lived there for a time when she danced with MDT. It’s got a lot going for it.

    Stay well and let’s chat soon.

    Love, Your pal

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Ruth,
    This is beautifully said, and I will miss you. I admire your courage and see you flying on beautiful wings.
    You may be on the forefront of climate change migration – apparently the far northern town of Duluth MN has a lot of recent California transplants. I have always liked the sense of community and welcoming atmosphere in the Midwest – you may breathe a great sigh of relief upon arriving there. Many blessings to you on your journey.
    Anne Lednicer

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s like “Mary Richards’ “ first day In Minneapolis tossing her hat up… to a freeze frame.
    You’re gonna make it after all. “Kid, you got a lot of spunk.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Minneapolis. What a great new beginning. I wish you all of the best, always. How wonderful to be near grandchildren. Perfect choice.
    Love, Judith

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Ruth:
    It takes a lot of courage to make such a big move in this phase of life. I respect you for doing so, and hope that it leads to a lot of new adventures and opportunities. Buy a very warm coat for the winter, and enjoy the enormous amount of arts and culture that Minneapolis has to offer. If you run into my dear old family friends Judi and Bruce Tenenbaum, who have been active in the Jewish Federation and a lot of other community things, they are lovely people you would likely enjoy. Please keep writing! And also let us know how you are doing in the next chapter of your life.

    All the best,
    Misha Berson

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Ruth —

    A nice piece and intriguing news about your upcoming move to Minneapolis. It’s a great city, if you can tolerate the weather. I totally understand your desire to start fresh in a new location where you can just be Ruth Neuwald (Falcon) and not the rebbetzen. I wish you happiness, health, and peace == no, make that fun (OK peace too.)

    If you’re open to it, I’m open to staying in touch.

    Thanks for being in my life.

    Love, Allan
    Stay safe; be kind; remain grateful; love and laugh as much as possible — AND a little more.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ruth,
    Thanks for sharing, I can completely understand starting over late in life and it’s an exciting and rewarding journey. Stay safe and be happy knowing you are making your own decisions for life and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Ruth, I was totally shocked to hear you’re divorced; never knew anything was amiss. I’m so sorry to learn this. I loved seeing you at Makom’s 40th anniversary event 2 years ago, how you rushed over to help me when I was made to fall off the stage that nite, taking months to recover. How you came to help Naomi—such a mensch…

    I wish you the best wherever you go, whatever you do..lots of love..if you can take the cold… if you want to warm up, we’d love to have you visit us down here in L.A. Hugs…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Best wishes to you Ruth and a truly HappyNew Year. Change is hard but yours is inspiring. Much love and Nachus and wishing you a long healthy life. We stay at Noble Firs and try to adapt to the many changes in the lives of exceedingly busy others’- may you be blessed in your new ventures.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s