A Tour of Dobbs Ferry and the Dobbs Ferry High School

Dobbs Ferry High School

Dobbs Ferry High School

We began the day with a pretty thorough tour of the beautiful old Dobbs Ferry High School.  See a gallery of images from the high school tour here.

Tomatillo Mexican Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry

Tomatillo Mexican Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry

Afterwards, we ate a great healthy and really delicious Mexican food lunch at Tomatillo in Dobbs Ferry.  Good Mexican food has definitely made it up north (well, it has been a decade since we’ve been up north, and over 3 decades since I last lived up north. Great Mexican food in the north seemed to be surprisingly hard to come by then.).

Terry's folks former house in Dobbs Ferry

Terry’s folks’ former house in Dobbs Ferry

Mavis, a former neighbor

Mavis, a former neighbor

After lunch, Terry, his siblings, and a friend and I set out for a walk up to Terry’s parents’ former house, where he lived with his new step-siblings during his high school years.  It was a long, exhausting walk up and down several very steep hills.  Jim found a neighbor a few houses down who still lived there: Mavis, a former Canadian who was quite charming and also quite the raconteur.  She and her former husband had been painters at one time, had owned a gallery in San Francisco for awhile, and had collected some minor works by some major artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg.  She gave us a lovely tour of her art collection.

This part was pretty interesting: Mavis asked Terry and I where we were living now, and when we said Austin, her response was, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  At first, I thought that, like so many people in New York and from many other parts of the country, she simply misunderstood what a great town Austin is.  Terry and I have occasionally discussed if there’s somewhere else we might prefer to live, and other than perhaps Italy, we almost always conclude that we are exactly where we want to be.  Yes, Austin is changing and growing much too fast, and the traffic is terrible, and the cost of living has skyrocketed since our little town has became so popular and big.  But even with all that, it is where our hearts are, for reasons probably too obscure for newcomers and outsiders to understand: the musical culture born of the confluence of Hispanic music, German music, psychedelia, gospel, country, rock, and blues; the social culture that has emerged from this particular location being at the intersection of the Hispanic, Southern, and Texas Cowboy cultures; the fabulous delicious and healthy food options; the progressive nature of the city’s politics (a little blue dot in a sea of red); and the great respect people here have for the beautiful physical environment in which we live.  Plus, of course, we’ve both been here for decades, and have tons of friends here.  Not sure we’d care to start over at this point.

But as the weekend progressed, I began to understand her comment in a different light.  Every conversation we had that got around to politics (and don’t they all sooner or later?) was palpably different from conversations we have in Austin, even when we think we’re safely ensconced among liberal friends.  In Austin, you have to watch what you say, and who you say it to, as there are still a lot of folks who like to think of themselves as conservative or moderate; who believe what they hear on Fox News; and being a big tech city, there are also a lot of Libertarians (don’t even!).  None of them are any fun to talk to.  But wherever we were in New York or Massachusetts, whoever we were talking to, the assumption was that we’re all liberals.  It was a really great feeling, being surrounded by lots of very, very smart people who have a similar understanding of the political system.  Basically, everyone here is liberal.  Or at least, that was my experience, though we didn’t venture into New Hampshire, which I hear is more conservative.

Dobbs Ferry high school reunion party

Dobbs Ferry high school reunion party

But, back to Dobbs Ferry: in the evening, the high school reunion folks and their spouses met at the Railroad Station bar for more dinner, drinking, and schmoozing.  Some folks had put together a video montage of photos from their lives as students in Dobbs Ferry.  I have to say, it was very moving.  There were only about 114 people in their graduating class, and many of them had lived in Dobbs Ferry all their lives, and thus had grown up together and gone to all pre-college levels of school together.  They knew each other quite well as kids.

My experience was so different, having gone to a 3-year high school that had about 3500 students altogether.  I knew who a lot of the kids in my classes were, but my friends were a tiny (yet hip) subset of the whole class.  I can see the benefits of both, but on this evening, I found myself feeling wistful that I hadn’t had the chance to grow up in a smaller school environment such as this one.  OTOH, I may not have done well in such an environment.  It was what it was, just very different than what my husband experienced.

Here’s a gallery of images from the rest of the Dobbs Ferry visit, including a walk down by the Hudson River.

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