Saturday, April 6, 2013

Traveling at home: Annie Clark and her cafe

Since it has been so long since I have written a traveling at home piece, here are some older thoughts on why I do it.

I feel like the notion of traveling at home falls squarely in line with attempts at reducing trash. When we appreciate what we have, and where we are, we may start looking for beauty, pleasure and wonderment here and now. We don't have to pine to travel to some far out corner of the world, although that would be nice sometimes. We don't have to pine for something from somewhere else, although that would be nice, too. This may seem like some sort of "localism," and maybe it is, but I think it is more. I have not read much about localism but what I hope it means is more than just a patronising of businesses and groups that are close to you. I hope it means that there is a satisfaction with place with a full understanding of what needs to be done environmentally, and consequently socially, to lessen our burden on this planet...I would like to find out what it is that people appreciate about the places they are in, and when and why they decide to call it home

CafĂ© Mooset recently reopened in Bloomsburg right next to Art Space, and right across from the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble.  I have been going there religiously when in Bloomsburg, for the quietness of the space, the art on the walls, and the company of Annie Clark, owner and chef.  My interview was cut short by customers, and so it didn’t come to its tonic, but here is a part of her life and her thoughts on home.

Cafe Mooset

Art always
Where do you live, and where do you call home?
I live about three miles east of Sunbury on Sawmill road, on the side of a mountain overlooking a beautiful east-west valley.  I live on the dark side of the mountain.  But, I grew up in the northern part of Pennsylvania, close to the New York border, in Silver Lake.  Silver Lake is nine miles north of Montrose, and I still call Silver Lake home.  We used to move twice a year from our home in Silver Lake, though, because it wasn’t weatherized for winter.  So, we moved twice a year.  In that way, home had to be wherever I was, just like for a military family.  Fortunately, we moved in the same area, and so I maintained relations with the same kids in the same school. 

How has home changed over time?
It has been developed.  It was once rural, and actually remote, given its proximity to a city and a town.  I just drove there the other day, and where there were once trees are now houses dotted all around.  There used to be a lot of farmland, too, but the houses used to be clustered in small areas.  The other kids in school used to live five or ten miles away, and so when I wanted to see them, we had to plan the visits.  Nothing was walking distance.  The cottages in my area were populated in the summer, and then no one would be around.  I loved it.

What did you at home?
Well, my brother was a boy.  I was closest to the sons from the next farm, and we would always go to the water together.  I used to do a lot of stuff on their farm, and as I got older, a horse got involved.  My father was not a farmer, but a French teacher.  After teaching, he spent the rest of his life in Binghamton, working on flight simulators.  

How has the environment at home changed over time?
During the late fifties and early sixties, there was a drought in the area.  You couldn’t make it farming, and so everyone got other jobs, or they would try to farm during the day, and then have a 3-11 pm night shift job.  The farmers of the smaller farms that were less productive started selling parcels of their land to give way for more houses.  I still remember the dwindling size of the grass and hay bales.  Then again, everything goes back to the way it was when you stop doing what you do.  

There was a rule about the number of cottages that could be along the lake, and there was never supposed to be two rows of them along the lake.  Because it was a mountain lake, all the runoff ended up in the lake, and it began to suffer from pollution.  They fixed it all though, but I am not sure how. 

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