Annabel, who recently uprooted her life in North Carolina and moved to Northampton, MA, discusses how she ended up living in the city and her close familial relationships that led her there.
Stephanie: Speaking of Northampton, how did you even end up here? Like, how did you know this town? Because it is so small.
Annabel: It is so small. I had been visiting here for a number of years because my daughter, who is a writer, and her husband is a publisher, they were living in Northampton and were - and Amherst and Northampton both have a huge community of writers. I ended up visiting frequently, and then 12 years ago, almost 13 years ago, they had a child who was born four months early. And she only weighed a pound and a half, and ended up having a lot of medical crises. She had a feeding tube and a trach.
Stephanie: Oh, my God…
Annabel: And, ended up spending four hundred and [sic] days in three different hospitals. Thank God she was in Massachusetts because she had some fabulous care here.
Annabel: She is doing really really well now. Um, and if you didn’t know, if you didn’t see the scar in her neck you wouldn’t know she had a trach. And, ironically, as a two year old, I had a trach…
Annabel: Because of a really bad case of bronchial pneumonia, and ended up with a trach. So, we may be the only grandmother team…
Stephanie: Yeah, that has…
Annabel: that have the trach scars. Anyway, so I came up here a great deal while she was in the hospital - or, those 3 hospitals. And finally, I just thought, “I want to move there. I want to be near her,” so that was the reason I ended up here. And I’m so glad. I’m almost 75, and if you had told me I would make friends as good as any friends I’ve ever had I would not have believed it. So, I count my blessings that I ended up here.
Stephanie: Yeah, that sounds really, that everything worked out, basically.
Annabel: It did. It really did.
Stephanie: Yeah. And was it hard making friends here?
Annabel: I think at first, because I didn’t think that I could ever make friends like the ones I left behind, particularly back in North Carolina, I wasn’t reaching out. But finally, my daughter is best friends with another writer, whose mother moved here from California, and both of them kept saying “You’ll love each other if you get together!” and we instantly did. And then, I joined a church at the same time as another friend and we’ve become best friends. So I'm just amazed. I did not expect - I knew I would be happy here because of my daughter’s family. And there’s another family, they’re very close to me and I love them. I didn’t think I’d have peers as friends, but I do, and I’m so glad.