I left my heart

June 29, 2009 at 9:59 am (past, the fam)

It was July, maybe August, of 2006. We were at a birthday celebration for a family matriarch who was turning 100. (Once the party was planned and everyone had plane tickets, someone realized that she was actually turning 101.) The sundress I wore had a halter neckline and a 1940s feel. It was miserably hot and sticky as it always is in the state where old Jews go to die. There was music and the old folks danced.

Some weeks ago I’d been offered my current job (in a dressing room) and my mother had dissolved into tears. I had spent the days since deeply focused on logistics. Negotiating a compensation package, researching moving companies, planning the drive, scheduling drinks, or dinner, or dancing with various individuals and groups. I knew full well what I was about to do, but I didn’t know what it meant to me.

My father and I were in conversation with a cousin – probably one I’d never met – when I first noticed the song. Suddenly my mother was at Dad’s elbow.

“Dance with your daughter,” she whispered.

He paused, Tony Bennett sang.

I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan

Dad smiled, took my hand, and there between the tables we danced. My dad can’t lead, he has no rhythm…but I cried anyway. And still, when I hear that song, the words that resonate are these:

I’m coming home to my city by the Bay

And I still feel that way. This place, this city, this state, makes me happy. This place is home. And I knew it before I ever lived here.

*JUST as I began typing the second sentence of this post, iTunes, set to random, began playing this song.



  1. Bridget said,

    I really, really, really love this post.

    Thank you for sharing this story. šŸ™‚

    • BS said,

      I think of it every time I put on that dress!

  2. SoMi's Nilsa said,

    You have your city. You have your song. It’s pretty amazing when you’re living where you know you’re meant to be. Not many people can say that!

    • BS said,

      True. Now if only I could AFFORD to live here.

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