In the fall of 2009, my husband and I left our home five miles away and moved to a sprawling set of buildings in South Nashville. One of the buildings is a 1400 square foot apartment over the same footage in a garage, connected to the main house by an enclosed skybridge. This apartment is home to Mom and Dad, Ethel and Ernest Blair, who left the family farm in Smith County to the ownership of grandchildren. They named this place “The Compound.” Dave and I live in the main house. I was tickled to claim an efficiency apartment in the daylight basement as my studio, which I named “The Cellar.”
We found this place by accident, or, if you believe in God, by divine guidance. The foray began, something of a grand experiment of multi-generational living. Failure was not considered. The moves were permanent.
What happens when we live together with aged parents? What does it take to ensure autonomy and dignity for two eighty-somethings? How do we maintain privacy and constant contact at the same time?
Mom, Dad, Dave, and I found a bond in the mystery of an overgrown ravine that stretches across the back of the property. We watch plant and animal life–birds of multiple varieties, foxes, raccoons, possums, groundhogs, feral cats, the rare deer. Dad works at conservation measures to protect the ravine’s banks while he clears matted vines that threaten to kill the tall trees; we want to make sure to protect the habitat of these ravine residents.
“On the Ravine” tells the stories of elders, senior citizen “kids,” animals, neighbors, grandchildren. We might touch on caregiving, politics, religion, or anything else that we do, encounter, or talk about.
I hope you’ll join me “On the Ravine.”