Have you ever felt like your life comes full circle sometimes and you don't even notice it? That's happened to me so many times, it's as if all these circles are like rings of a tree that are what forms the richness of our life. When I talk about rich, it has nothing to do with money or material possessions.
A long time ago Morton and I rode bicycles together up the East Coast of America. We lived on them for almost 7 months, saw miracles happen daily, fell in love with living in the moment and had plans on staying on the bicycles to go all the way around America. An injury to my knee and ankle prevented this, but as fate would have it, it was perfect timing.
Heading from Portland, Oregon to Pennsylvania by train, it was hard staying positive. This adventure we were on was ending. I knew in my heart that it wouldn't be able to be continued because of circumstances that were happening around us. Sound familiar? A big thing we've been hoping for, working on, thinking about, just can't be anymore. My nature is extremely a positive one so I just focused on all the wonderful things that were going to happen now.
It was the summer of 2007. Our grandson, Alexander, had just been born. I was going to be able to look after him, which truthfully, is one of the most wonderful things that's ever happened to me. I would be able to write of the joy of this for the rest of my life and not even begin to explain how much love I have for him. So many other positive things too, but they sort of pale in comparison.
As I was watching this little man, I'd have the Travel Channel playing in the background for some background noise. Morton and I were living in an apartment in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Morton was driving a $500 old Suburu back and forth to different temporary jobs, while we were living like we were just starting out in life. Our television was one Morton had picked up on the street that someone was throwing away. Come to think of it, all of our furniture, everything except our bed, had been collected from the side of the road.
It was a regular occurrence for me to be walking to or from our daughter's home and spot something that we could use. We were new in America, had zero money in savings, living in an apartment we could just afford, and we were still having the time of our lives. We were together, thankful and had this delightful grandson of ours showing us that life is always branching out.
The trouble with that apartment was, we lived under a woman who sold drugs, we know because the walls and ceiling were paper thin. The stairs going up to her place were right in the middle of our wee bedroom and living room that I had fashioned into a playpen of fun and safety for spending my days with Alexander. Most of the days I'd walk to his house to look after him. It was a lovely Cape Cod with no loud noises, no arguments happening above us, no heavy footsteps going up and down from the apartment over us.
But on the days that our grandson would come to our place, I would have that old television on, that we had hooked up to a cable that stuck out of the wall that got service for a few odd channels, where the scenery would be pretty places, pretty colors, gentle backing music that lulled away the unusual noises coming from upstairs.
Durning this time I saw the Travel Academy being plugged between shows. I had always been interested in photography and videography. I had took courses at Winona Internation School of Photography just outside of Chicago several decades ago, could develop my own film and loved telling stories. I thought that the Travel Channel Academy would be something that I could plug into my current situation in life to get create, have mini adventures with Morton, even have the joy of making videos of grandparents exploring with their grandchildren, a video niche that I thought needed to be filled.
We had been saving money for a better place to live but thought that if I could just sell a few videos each month to the Travel Channel, the money would be well spent as an educational investment for us. I found a secondhand video camera, paid the fee, booked a room and set off on my own for an exciting education just outside of Washington D.C.
This was my first time being away from Alexander and thankfully I was so busy learning, filming, editing, writing and just getting a little sleep each night, the time flew past, as time always does. At the end of it, I had two official looking certificates, two videos I had created for the Travel Channel and so much excitement to create something to share with the world as I was enjoying the gramma life.
But things happen. I came home, the video camera came out randomly, my days were filled with so much pleasure of watching our grandson grow, finding our first home together that needs extensive repairs and was just a half a mile away from our daughter's home, the dreams of storytelling with video became a distant memory.
Fast forward a decade and a smidge and we are sitting here in Locust Gap, Pennsylvania in an old church I found on Craigslist, fell in love with saving and our lives are still spinning in circles and changing in beautiful ways we can't even comprehend.
The picture that's on this post, the church having it's 100th anniversary back in 1971, was one of the first beautiful things we had given to us here. It was back in the days I would spend hours painting, cleaning, pulling nails out of the floor, living the first two winters here with no heat and had no idea what was in store for us here. The gentleman had stopped in with the plate and stories of the Gap, as it's called by locals. I listened to them all, thinking about the 130 years of people really using this old church as the center of their lives. Saving it seemed more important to me then than ever before.
The plate, a lovely circle, sits on the old organ keyboard that will never play again because the original organ had been plundered for scrap metal. It's now purely ornamental and the circle plate seems so well suited there, where sheet music would have once stood as the organist played for the people who came into this building that's much more than a building.
Fifteen years later and I started using TikTok at the beginning of 2022 to share this place we call home with the world and our online community of friends. The grandchildren are teenagers, live a thousand miles away, the plate sits on the keyboard and some things do stay the same. My excitement for video has been changed to a few seconds to three minutes on one of our favorite social media platforms. I've been thinking about things I learned from the Travel Academy that would make things more interesting, enjoyable, entertaining and engaging to the millions of people who are seeing these little snippets of our daily lives.
As I made my first list of things I want to actually do with video storytelling, I realized some of these stories, most of them actually, will need to be longer than 3 minutes. So I looked at our YouTube channel, decided that would be a good idea to start sharing things on there. DIY, exploring the unexplored, creating arts and crafts, Morton's cooking & baking, connecting with this community of beautiful people from all over who now feel like they're here with us on this journey.
The best is yet to come with these new circles of life. I'm so happy you're here to share them with us.