How far? -- 12/10/08

Six entries in a row... Go me!
(Just wander in from Holidailies? There's an introduction to the main characters down towards the bottom of the page... just scroll down.)

Today's Holidailies prompt: "Do you still live in the place where you grew up? How far away are you now, and why?"

I don't live all that far from where I grew up: 131 miles in a straight line from house to house.This made me think about how far I had traveled on the globe: 9976 miles westward, 4172 miles eastward.

Where I've lived:

I grew up in Kingston, New York -- an historic and aging industrial town on the Hudson River. (In fact, we had a nice river view from our house.) I now live in South Kingstown, Rhode island -- also an historic town, but not crumbling away like my birthplace. They are roughly the same in population. South Kingstown has about 28,000 people and is growing while Kingston used to have at least that many but is now down to about 24,000. They are quite different in size. Kingston is urban -- it covers 8.6 square miles of which 7.3 square miles are land, so it has more than three thousand people per square mile. South Kingstown is a combination of rural and suburban (that is, it partly serves as a bedroom community to the greater Providence area) -- and it covers 79.8 square miles, of which 57.1 square miles is land, and it has fewer than five hundred people per square mile.

I said above that my current house and the one in which I grew up are 131 miles apart in a straight line -- the distance is more like 170 miles if you are driving a car, but I think in some ways there is an even greater distance betweem them in terms of the kind of town each one is.

Kingston was my birthplace and was my home until I graduated from college. I then lived in New Paltz (a college town about fifteen miles south of Kingston) for two years and then spent another two years in Monticello, New York. I then moved to Binghamton, New York (to attend graduate school at the state university there). Despite dropping out of the English Ph.D. program after two years (I think of it as escaping), I ended up spending a quarter of a century in that general area, the majority of it on Binghamton's West Side.

We moved to Rhode Island thirteen years ago and love living here. This is a wonderful area with just about anything I could want within easy access (except mountains -- Rhode Island has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, but it has no mountains) I could easily see living quite happily here when we retire. (The only drawback is the totally incompetent and corrupt state government and the ever increasing taxes for ever poorer return.)

Where I've been:

As I had said, this question prompted me to figure out where I had been in the world. The furthest east I have been (measuring from my old house in Kingston) is Vienna, a straight line distance of 4172 miles. The furthest west (and also the furthest south) was Sydney, Australia -- a straight line distance of 9976 miles (oh, okay, "straight" when looking down at the Earth as a flat map; obviously the line would curve over the surface of the globe).

The farthest north I've been is Oslo, Norway. (The farthest north while in this hemisphere is Montreal, Canada.) The farthest south I have been while in this hemisphere is Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. (I had thought it would be Mexico City until I checked and found Mexico City was 19 26 N latitude and Roatan was 16 20 N latitude.)

An introduction for those of you wandering in here from Holidailies for the first time: I'm just a middle-aged guy (but somehow I hit 65 on my last birthday) who lives in Rhode Island with my wife Nancy (a middle-school math teacher), daughter Gillian ("Jill" -- 26 yr old baker and part-time college student), son Jeremy (23 yr old restaurant cook and part-time college student), and Tiger (senior citizen cat). Eldest child Adam lives in New York City with his wife Leah and our grandsons Sam and Milo. I'm a programmer/systems analyst who got involved with software training and instructional design. I currently work from home doing quality assurance and editing on course material for both classroom courses and Web- based training courses for a very big computer company. I've been writing this online journal since 1996.

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