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Living in Cincinnati

The next question, from Ordalie, asks about our life here in Cincinnati, in the southwest corner of Ohio, on the banks of the Ohio River:

Ordalie asks:  I seem to remember you live in Cincinnati. Do you enjoy living there? Where else would you like to live? Don't you miss the proximity of the sea? 

I think that none of us would, necessarily, have chosen Cincinnati out of all the possible options of places to live.

I grew up in Colorado, and I remember that as a teen and 20-something, I believed that Colorado was "God's Country" (my Dad's words).  My family traveled, every summer, "back to Ohio" because that is where my parents were from.  I had a whole pile of aunts, uncles, and cousins (4o some), and our summer visits were a two-week period of time where I ran wild with the cousin herd while the adults partied and reveled in being with one another.  But, I remember always saying that "although I was born in Ohio, it was a great place to be from..."

Cincinnati has a reputation (well deserved in some respects) for being very conservative; very Catholic; very "stuck in the 1950's."  Some of that is true.  This is not a progressive, liberal-minded city.  People who are native to Cincinnati, can tell you what neighborhood they grew up in.  Many still live in the same neighborhoods; often, blocks from where they were raised -- and their siblings all live down the street or around the corner.  They still cheer for their high school athletic teams, and there are clear boundaries between the east side and the west side.  It seems odd to me, having grown up in the "wild, wild west" where everyone was from somewhere else.

I have, on the other hand, been here for over 10 years.  I work here, and I have learned to love the quirky parts of this place.  I love the seasons.  I am especially fond of springtime here.  I think that spring comes on slowly in this place, greening from the ground up, slowly -- leaf by leaf.  It is like living in a slowly developing impressionist painting, and I love it.  Summers are hot, hot, hot -- and sweaty.  But there is something deeply satisfying about being out in the full heat of a July day, sweat pouring from every pore.  And there is the pure, animal pleasure of being able to step into a cool, dark, air-conditioned house when the heat becomes oppressive.  I love the cardinals that flash from evergreen to evergreen here.  That elusive fleeting flicker of brilliant red just thrills me.  I am always delighted by the uniquely Cincinnati inflected "Please?" that one hears from lifelong residents of Cincinnati.  That "Please?" is not intended to request something from the listener.  It is the equivalent of a more prosaic, "Pardon me, would you repeat that?"  It is simply charming.  I know that I can find all sorts of interesting ethnic restaurants tucked into the corners of the city, many of them very very good.  I like the diversity of the place.  I've become a dedicated Cincinnati Reds fan.  I grew up with a father that loved baseball, and he instilled that love in me at a very young age.  This oldest American baseball team is a treasure, and although I know they will likely break my heart each year, I am willing to be among the ever-hopeful throng.  All in all, it has turned out to be a good place to live.

If I could choose a place to live, that place would be more politically and socially liberal.  I'd love to live in a place where our family would be accepted and given the same rights and privileges as other people enjoy.  I'd be happier in a place where there are mountains, and pine woods, and aspen trees.  I'd be glad if there was water near by.  The Ohio River doesn't do it for me.  I'd like an ocean, or at least, some big lakes or a really, really big river.  If I could, I'd pick my kids and the grand kids up and move them all here where they would be close by.  I'd love to be able to just drop in on the grand kid and find out what he is up to this afternoon.  That would be awesome.  Finally, I miss the Mexican food that was so ubiquitous in Colorado.  One finds a very Americanized version of it here, and I have learned that, unless there is somebody's "Mammacita" in the kitchen (or someone who learned from their own Mammacita) cooking her very own version of green chile, or making the tortillas -- it just isn't going to be the same.

In the end, we are transplants who have made this place home.  It is a good place.  I fantasize about finding the perfect house in the perfect place -- there is an "exotic" feeling to that house hunting thing, but really -- this had become "home."



  1. I love your description of Cincinnati (yes I did have to go peek to know how to spell it!) and Ohio - thanks.

  2. Ordalie11:26 PM

    What a beautiful description! For a fleeting moment it seemed to me I was right there. You say "spring comes on slowly" and that's something to be really thankful for. There's an enormous lime-tree in my garden; from the first furled up leaves to the full foliage, it's barely a week and I feel frustrated every spring.


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