Last night I was invited to the premiere of a documentary film that was made to chronicle the successful preservation of the oldest roadway in Minnesota.
I owned a beautiful old house on that road for ten years.
I bought the house when I left my children's father.
The kids and I picked out this wonderful old house, only a mile away from the house we had with their Dad.
We chose it partly because it had a door knocker made of brass on the front door that was a wise old owl.
The property around the house was all massive old oaks and pines.
The road outside was well traveled but my children were teenagers and our house was situated on a corner and our driveway turned out onto the very narrow old side street so we didn't have to navigate pulling out into traffic.
We loved our house so much.
In the attic there was an old wooden door that was part of the original smaller kitchen before it was made larger in the nineteen-fifties.
The house was built in nineteen-twenty-seven and the door up in the attic was an extra original door at this point.
Everyone who had ever lived in the house had written something before they moved out.
There were seven entries.
One woman wrote that she had lived there for two years, during the nineteen-eighties, and she wrote her dates, her name and these words, "the best years of my life".
Every time I went to the attic I looked at the door, read the entries, and wondered what I would say when I was leaving.
I loved that house the most of anywhere I have ever lived, although I was relieved to move on because without the children there it was too big and too much for me.
I joked that I had to sell it when my kids went to college so I could buy a van and hit the road with my band.
No joke actually.
I didn't buy a van, but I certainly did hit the road.
Since I sold that house, now six years or so ago, I've gone from playing thirty shows a year to a hundred and thirty.
Back to the film though, the country lane in front of my house was supposed to be made into a four lane monstrosity by the County.
People in the Midwest are not enlightened when it comes to preservation...some of them aren't...but some are.
I became involved in the fight to preserve the trees and the character of the old road outside my old house windows.
I met the people who owned the historic homes along this majestic stretch.
The people had, many of them, lived in the area all their lives.
Most were very wealthy, often from a father who made a lot of money in the early Twentieth Century.
I hosted the first meeting of the neighbors to discuss the opposing of the County's plans.
I got involved and helped the way I knew how to help.
I ended up drawing a "seal" to be the logo for the preservation effort and that seal was eventually made into a big metal sign that still stands at the beginning on either end of the mile and a half corridor referred to as Historic Bushaway Road in Wayzata, Minnesota.
That was my biggest contribution.
There's also a story I don't care to remember about me, as a single mother of three teens going to the public schools in the town, getting up at the Town Hall meeting with the County officials present, and me getting very emotional when I got up to speak about my house on the old roadway.
In the film they ask me about that and I just say that I don't really remember what I said because I was so upset.
Well, real life. I'm a passionate person. I'm just going to stick with my "I approve of myself 100%" mantra on this one.
Last night all the neighborhood people gathered to watch the movie they paid to make of how they saved their beautiful stretch of road. They kept it at two lanes, saved hundreds of trees, and still added the stoplights and bike path that are necessary and good in our progressing society and increasing population in the area.
If you ask me, and I will tell you that I'm proud I didn't say what I really thought last night..because it doesn't matter because it is unrealistic.....but still....what I really think is that the only win would have been to stop development completely, leave the road the way it was, leave everything the way it was in the eighteen-hundreds....or the sixteen-hundreds better yet when the area was only referred to as The Big Woods.
But what good does that kind of thinking do us?
We are who were are and time marches on and Humanity can only move forward and find new additional solutions.
I found myself feeling nostalgic and nostalgia is the same thing as The Ghost Of Christmas Past.
Charles Dickens knew that the Present is all we have.
I will try to as well.
One lovely thing is that these people sure know how to throw a party.
The premiere was held in a brand new gigantic private school in the area, in the school's elegant theater for the arts.
There was so much wine, so much food.....rare beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce on tiny bread rounds....I had two of those.
Amazing to revisit a community that I only met as a divorcee, fleeing an unhappy marriage that was my fault as much as his, with three teenage children who were all navigating the town as the conspicuous divorce of their parents unfolded.
In the film there is some footage of me with my hair dyed dark.
My hair was dark for several years, and I see now that I took on the mantel of divorce like a Scarlet Letter.
I was dirty, I was bad, I was reckless, I was not to be trusted.
I put a lot of dark dye in my hair and I began my penance.
I divorced because I had picked the wrong partner.
I probably picked the exact right partner to discover the exact things I needed to learn.
And the children needed the father the have and it was all meant to be.
Their father is a doctor and that has given us all a great sense of security because if someone got sick or had a serious accident, his judgement and expertise and connections were always very helpful.
And his financial security gave us all so much.
I'm proud out I mad it out alive and that I'm beginning to thrive on my own.
Last night I got a glimpse of how far I've fallen....and how far I've risen...in the time since I left their community.
I'm not in the security of a wealthy marriage.
I have no income from that, it's something from my past.
But what I've learned since is so much more grand to me.
I've learned that I can stand and sing and give a great gift.
I've learned that I approve of myself all the time 100%.
I've learned that I can return to those people in that place and I can have fun and be happy and love them and they will love me too.
I'm grateful to them.
They accepted me then and they still do.