Though my mother tried, I don't think she ever really liked upstate NY. She appreciated it's beauty, but that's what photos and a "View Master" is for.
Being a city girl, she was used to the urban ambience: falling asleep to sirens, passing busses and trollies, neighbors talking and people getting robbed.
She first came to visit me when I lived in Geneseo. I was living on main street. On school breaks when the college students weren't around, main street could be as quiet as the outside rural areas. I was working at "Buzzo's" (a local music store). A few doors away from Buzzo's was a tanning salon. It was raining that day. My mom arrived on a GreyHound bus. The bus stops at a little shop which doubles as a bus station. She arrived early. While my mother was waiting for me, she decided to walk into the walkway of the tanning salon to get out of the rain. A friend of mine, one of the funniest guys I know, walks into Buzzo's. As we're talking, I tell him that my mother is coming to town. "She should be here any moment."
He mentions that there's a woman, a black woman standing in the walkway of the tanning salon. I guess he figured she wasn't there waiting for a tan. Then he retells the story as though my mother was a customer who got way more than she bargained for. "OMG! Look at my hair! Look at my lips! And will you look at my ass!!?? OMG!" He kept on… I almost died from laughter that day.
This took place in the winter, and my mom could not believe how cold it was. One thing for sure, she wouldn't be returning anytime soon.
We moved to Enfield, NY, just a mile or two from downtown Ithaca.
We decided one summer that I would do a music tour of the US, and take along the whole family. Great! This is going to be some adventure.
We had two dogs and a cat, so we would need a house sitter for a few months. I asked my mother if she would house sit for a month. She was happy to do it.
Before setting out on our trip, we made sure that my mom felt comfortable and at ease with the animals.
She assured us that everything was fine.
After two days she was starting to get creeped out.
At bed time when she turned off all the lights and could hear nothing but nothing and occasionally an unfamiliar animal, she was totally unnerved. "This place is even more quiet than Geneseo."
Any neighbor was a good walk away. One day she decided she would take a walk to meet one of the neighbors. When she opened the door, the cat had left a squirrels head at the foot of the door. A cat sees this as a gift, my mother saw it as a sacrifice.
After that, she wouldn't open the door. In a week she was back in Philadelphia.