Pam Perkins | RECALCULATING
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RECALCULATING

RECALCULATING

As many people have remarked, I seem to have an easier time making changes in my life, especially as a septuagenarian, a time when some people scale back and others often give up.   Over the years my friends have seen me confused but not defeated when change was not of my choosing, like divorce.  And yet, they witnessed an energy spurt when I took positive steps to change my life, like finding a new job at the business school, selling my house, and marrying Bruce.

A big change occurred as a youngster when mother shipped me off to summer camp for eight weeks, and then  years later when I was a teenager, she uprooted me again, sending me to a boarding school in another state, which meant leaving my hometown high school and the girlfriends I loved.

Mom would have been called a change agent if that title was used during her day.   I credit her ability to promote change as well as easily accept it on the DNA molecules passed down by her parents and grandparents, a lineage that endured centuries of change, brought about by famine and war.  One of my mother’s biggest change was forced upon her during war time.  When she was only twelve, her mother grabbed all four kids and ran for their lives as they watched their war-torn village burn down in Northern Greece.  With optimism cemented in their frontal lobes but no English words on their tongue, the family boarded a ship and sailed for America, not knowing exactly what to expect.  They just knew it would be safer than staying in Greece.  This genetic pattern of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty was passed down to me and my siblings and to Mom’s grandchildren as well.  With an alcoholic for a father, Mom didn’t have an easy time growing up, but she learned to develop a tough skin, called resilience, and eventually she met and married my dad who saw her as his partner and not his assistant.  Early life situations that involved a very mean father and a mother who spoke no English helped my mother to develop her strong and resilient self.  Her resilience taught her how to be tough as nails, a quality I believe is embedded in me and all of the Perkins women I know today.  She was an inspiration, and although her toughness often rubbed some people the wrong way, now that she’s gone, we see how that edge helped her survive through the same disappointments that many of us face today.

Mom’s attitude and determination were expressed in many ways, most notably when she and dad sold a thriving restaurant business to build a motel, a hospitality concept that was just taking shape in the tourist industry in the 1950s.   Many people in our small town thought they were nuts to take such a financial risk, but risk didn’t frighten them.  If anything it was empowering, especially as they saw their business grow and succeed.  Mom and Dad lived through wars in their home land and a depression in their new land, and I believe their survival came from the genetic threads of the Vlachs, an ethnic minority group, now living mostly in the Balkans, people known for their independence and grit.   In their 60s my parents, both Vlachs, sold Perkins Motel, moved from the small town they lived in for 35 years, and found a new home in a city 100 miles away.  They relocated there because they wanted to experience a growth spurt, learn new things and meet new people.   This big change helped to keep them healthy and more vital much longer in life.  Appreciating this genetic makeup has helped me understand why I adapt well to change, and in some cases why I’m eager to make it happen.

Such was the case in our buying and moving to a new house in a new city after 16 years of living in the same place.  Bruce wasn’t quite as eager to make the change as I was.  He had his reasons.  He was comfortable; his office was only ten minutes a way; we were close to Whole Foods; could walk to the gym, and eventually walk to the movies as a cineplex was under construction right up the street.  It took some convincing on my part, but eventually after reading through my list of the five most important reasons to make a move now, Bruce  agreed.  In this crazy Silicon Valley real estate market it took a while before we found something that suited us well, but when we did, we loved it so much we didn’t care that we had to drive to Whole Foods and take the freeway to get to the gym.  Now we live in an established neighborhood fairly close to a vibrant downtown.  Some of our closest friends weren’t completely surprised when we left our turn-key town home with HOA amenities and moved to another city 25 minutes north to live in a one-story house built in the 1920s that needed some work and would require structural changes—plus an addition.

People who don’t know my inclination for change assumed that a residential move for us would come much later in our lives, perhaps when we could no longer negotiate the stairs, or lost interest in traveling, or even not wanting to cook for ourselves.  Thankfully, we are not even close to this stage yet, and because we are healthy and active, we hope to have many good years ahead of us in a new house we can enjoy along with the big and exciting changes.  So yes, we bought an old house with a high maintenance yard and a huge vegetable garden that needs tender loving care.  We also know there’s no management company to call if the roof leaks.

Living in a new house in a dynamic city makes us feel young again.  We’ve embraced change like my mother did all her life, but we didn’t have to cross the Atlantic to emulate her experience.  We can still enjoy the wonderful Bay Area climate, the same ethnic diversity, and a city with historical significance that has developed an exciting vision for its future.  We also live closer to San Francisco.   Switching gears, repotting and change are necessary to keep our brain cells alive, prevent ennui from setting in, and to live life to its fullest.

Viva Le Change!

 

mm

Pam Perkins

pamperk@pacbell.net
16 Comments
  • Bill Ardis

    September 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Wonderful, the commas and periods are distinct (of course, that’s the first thing I looked for :). Nice true story of your life from then to now. You and Bruce are SUCH a match. Sweet!! Your mom must’ve been a piece of work, as we Texans say. Full steam ahead, don’t spare the horse. You’re your mother’s child. I’m LOVING the new website.

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm Reply

      Bill, Thank you. Let’s just say that my mother was unique, a woman who spoke her mind whether she had anything to say or not. Thank you
      for being one of my biggest fans! And I so love you for it.

  • Nela Goldenberg

    September 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm Reply

    I admire your courage. To uproot a homestead takes a lot of it! But you are right, shaking up your comfort zone keeps you alert, sharp, and alive.

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 22, 2017 at 11:08 am Reply

      Thanks, Nela. I never thought of it as courageous, but I’ll take it. What surprised me the most was Bruce’s response. Once we found the right house, he totally came around and is into this place 100%. But honestly I didn’t think we’d find a house like this one. We consider ourselves very, very lucky. Thanks so much for your response.

  • Connie Pollard

    September 21, 2017 at 5:57 pm Reply

    Viva la change! Best wishes in your newest location.

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 22, 2017 at 11:05 am Reply

      Thanks, Connie. We never thought that moving 25 minutes away would make such a difference. Pam

  • Cecilia Menard

    September 21, 2017 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Pam, my computer is behaving in a most uncooperative manner – receiving messages, but sending none. A response from you will light my lights. My 19-year-old grandson is building me a new message source. He is putting himself through college via his ability on the computer..

    Are you two in the Berkeley/Oakland area? I love that bit of land! It is a pleasure for me to rad your words about your mother. Only those who have mothers who grew up in amazingly painful times have to tip-toe through their verbiage as you and I do. (Mine was the 3rd of 9 children, whose father, about 60, died of the influenza epidemic in 1918, when his wife was pregnant with the ninth. – she was 34, the 2nd wife- and was left with 8 (a son, #5, died at 12 months). She was 16 when they married. I am not writing this for sharing other than you and Bruce.

    I look forward to hearing more about this move and the change it has provided for your lives.

    Love to you and Bruce,
    Cecilia

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 22, 2017 at 11:10 am Reply

      Hi Cecilia, I hope you receive this message so that you will know your computer is working once again. We live across the bay from Berkeley/Oakland on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose.

      When our mothers were young, things were painful in ways we don’t experience now. But we experience different things. Thank you for sharing
      information about your family.

      Love, Pam

  • Patty Doerr

    September 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm Reply

    I’m not sure where you are living now except on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose…do you know the way to San Jose? Anyway….I love change and love the fact that I still want to drive from Tucson to the tip of Tierra del Fuego and up to Brazil. My mother is pretty fragile….she is 95…has 6 co-morbidity issues….so we’re staying put for a while. We had a glorious 3 months in my favorite spot in the US….Telluride. We’re on 35 acres outside of Telluride and life is good.
    We all have stories to share….your words and escpeically your photographs touch my spirit of adventure!
    fondly, Patty

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 28, 2017 at 10:59 am Reply

      Patty, What a nice compliment on my writing & photographs. You made my day.
      We will miss you in Iran, but I will do my best to capture as much of what I experience in words and
      pictures that will help to take you there. xoxo

  • Mindy Wilcox

    September 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm Reply

    We did a similar thing, Pam, and it has been rejuvenating! (In our case, even the flora and fauna were new!) Sandy moved constantly as a child, and I guess my enjoyment of change is inborn! Looking forward to more of your blog!

    XO,
    Mindy

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 27, 2017 at 9:45 pm Reply

      Thanks, Mindy. Change is what’s needed to stay young and vital.

  • John Cardoza

    September 27, 2017 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Enjoy your new home, Pam and Bruce! There might be more maintenance but it will be worth it.
    Always look forward to your travel blogs. You two are my vicarious world tour guides.

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 27, 2017 at 9:45 pm Reply

      John, Thank you for being such a faithful fan! Pam

  • Liz Orser

    September 28, 2017 at 4:43 am Reply

    Found you once again! Keep writing. No matter the subject, all of the essays/stories are interesting.

    • mm

      Pam Perkins

      September 28, 2017 at 10:20 am Reply

      Liz, What a nice compliment. Welcome back! Pam

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