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Day 78: Saying goodbye to Eastown

September 7, 2012

A neighborhood dotted with Reb Roberts’ artwork, even Eastown’s utility boxes reflect the neighborhood’s vibrant personality.

Tuesday was my final day of being an Eastown resident. I texted my friend Molly to see if she wanted to help me live it up and go for a walk to one of our neighborhood’s many amazing restaurants. There’s Gaia, Harmony, Marie Catrib’s, Little Africa, Wolfgang’s, Trillium, just to name a few. In my new neighborhood, there’s Real Food Café. That’s about it. At least everyone seems to know about it, which must be a testament to its goodness.

I’m acting like I’m moving to Antarctica, I joked, pointing out my sorrow-filled parting with my neighborhood of nearly three years. I’m only moving three miles away, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this house hunt, it’s that each Grand Rapids neighborhood definitely has a personality. And I fell in love with Eastown’s personality.

Tattoos, dreadlocks, billowy Bohemian dresses and bicycles are aplenty in Eastown. Seeing bare feet pad against the pavement doesn’t surprise me. Neither do walking fiddlers. Sidewalks are filled with runners, cyclists, dog walkers and Funky Buddha patrons carrying their yoga mats. Curry mingled with pepperoni wafts through the evening air, thanks to Bombay and Domino’s, a block away from my house. Noisy college students fill the sidewalks by night. Children fill Wilcox Park by day.

As I texted Molly, wallowing about missing the free-spirits, hipsters and artists galore in my neighborhood, tears sprung to my eyes. Leaving this place is like moving away from a best friend.

Last summer I flirted with the idea of moving to Forest Hills, you know, for the school district. But the thought made me queasy. (Seriously – strong emotions conjure physical reactions: tears, queasy stomachs, a punch-in-the-gut feeling… J) At one point, I realized every time I drove through the green arrow off Fulton and onto the odd angle of Lake Drive, I was consumed with happiness. It got stronger as I hit Diamond and saw the East Hills Center of the Universe sign, drove by Mangiamo and the mammoth hundred-year-old trees. It was literally a feeling of I’m home. This is when I knew I had to stay in Grand Rapids. Fortunately, I discovered Montessori and the rest is history.

Unfortunately, I can’t afford a decent home in Eastown or East Hills, but after getting very familiar with many of Grand Rapids’ great neighborhoods, Alger Heights was a close runner up.

So there I was, saying goodbye to Eastown. To celebrate (or mourn), I roamed the streets of this amazing neighborhood, paying homage to the local establishments. I met a wonderful artist in Gallery 154, otherwise known as Unpredictable Gifts. He sent me on my way with an origami elephant. I chatted with the owner of the new Syndey’s Boutique (Sydney is her daughter’s name). And last but not least, met the amazing Patrice of the home décor store, Elements. Decorating is not my forte, and I envy those who can do it well. (Seriously, if you haven’t been in her store, it’s incredible!) During our 30-minute conversation, I was dying for a pen and paper to write down all her little words of wisdom, like her philosophy on solid colors, purple plates, layering and ideas for using painter’s drop cloths, flanges and pipes. Fortunately, the value was two-way, with my little bit on Airstreams.

The tears are definitely justified; Eastown sure gave me a lot to fall in love with over the past few years. As I move into Alger Heights, though, I’m already beginning to experience the charming personality the neighborhood has to offer. I can’t wait for the moment when I’m hit with that particular landmark feeling of This is home.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2012 10:51 am

    Just an FYI after reading your blog….I had my daughter at 23 then bought a house then got married at 42 all in unsequential order….owning the red couch along the way…and it all worked out just as it should….Love that we have a similar path as well as your mad wordsmith talent don’t forget a out Eastown….and enjoy Alger Heights and your happy home! Patrice

    • September 13, 2012 8:53 pm

      The similarities – wow! Thanks, Patrice!

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