November 7, 2001

List

I’ve lived in exactly forty-two forty-four houses and apartments. I’m not entirely sure how this happened. One thing led to another until I found myself here, in Brooklyn, with forty-one forty-three places behind me.

I could say what prompted me to leave one place for another, forty-one forty-three times, but that wouldn’t really explain anything. What’s there to learn from a series of turns?

In the back flap of my address book, I keep a list of all forty-two forty-four places. The list includes the dates I lived at each, rounded off to the month. Between certain entries I’ve noted places I’ve stayed or trips I’ve taken after leaving one place and before moving to another. These have dates as well. The dates are important. I refer to the list whenever I want to know when something happened.

I feel that I’ve always been the same person, even when I lived on Tremont Street, even before my sister was born, and yet I’m suspicious of this feeling. One forgets. One creates a past that makes sense in a present that continually changes.

Maybe it’s different for different people. My sister, for one, seems to remember nearly everything, and with matter-of-fact clarity. For her the past is neatly printed and arranged into chapters, with a first-rate index and four-color photography. For me it’s an enormous room strewn knee-deep with undated papers that have long since yellowed or smeared to the point of illegibility.

Naturally I’ve forgotten when I first complied the list. Whenever it was, I remember having to call my sister to fill in several dates from my childhood.

In the last ten sixteen years I’ve added eleven thirteen more places. Each time I’ve been struck by how the last place on the list always ends with the word present, how this word keeps sinking, anchor-like, to the bottom. Of course in the final list, the one I won’t be around to update, present will be replaced with a date.

Date Place
12/60 – 7/65 Tremont Street, Phila., PA
7/65 – 12/75 Maxwell Place, Phila., PA
1/76 – 3/76 [Dad], Valley Forge, PA
3/76 – 4/78 Maxwell Place, Phila., PA
4/78 – 7/78 [Aunt Dee & Uncle Sam], Phila., PA
7/78 – 4/79 Souder Street, Phila., PA
5/79 – 8/79 West 59th Street, New York, NY
9/79 – 4/80 [Mom & Andrea], Phila., PA
4/80 – 10/80 Kingston Street, Atlantic City, NJ
11/80 34th Street YMCA, New York, NY
11/80 – 5/81 Park Slope YMCA, Brooklyn, NY
5/81 – 10/81 East 11th Street, New York, NY
11/81 West 72nd Street, New York, NY
12/81 – 3/82 East 84th Street, New York, NY
3/82 – 5/82 E. Quad back kitchen, Ann Arbor, MI
5/82 – 7/82 East 23rd Street, New York, NY
7/82 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA
8/82 [Ken etc.], Brooklyn, NY
9/82 – 2/83 Vicente Street, Oakland, CA
2/83 – 5/83 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA
5/83 – 8/83 East 11th Street, New York, NY
9/83 – 5/84 Lawrence Street, Ann Arbor, MI
6/84 – 8/84 Packard Road, Ann Arbor, MI
9/84 – 5/85 Division Street, Ann Arbor, MI
5/85 – 9/85 Hillegass Street, Berkeley, CA
10/85 – 11/85 [Eve], Hollywood, CA
12/85 [Various friends] Ann Arbor, MI
1/86 – 5/86 Michigan Street, Ann Arbor, MI
6/86 – 7/86 Travels w/ Gary
8/86 Arch Street, Ann Arbor, MI
9/86 – 11/86 Beacon Place, Somerville, MA
11/86 Trip to Ann Arbor
12/86 – 6/87 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA
6/87 – 8/87 Route 110, Tunbridge, VT
9/87 – 11/87 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA
12/87 – 3/88 Noe Street, San Francisco, CA
3/88 Travels to L.A., Santa Fe, Chicago
4/88 – 11/88 Rossmore Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA
12/88 Travels w/ Lisel
12/88 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
1/89 – 3/89 Glen Avenue, Oakland, CA
3/89 Various friends in Boston area
4/89 – 5/89 McBride Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
5/89 – 6/90 Cottage Street, Cambridge, MA
6/90 – 4/91 Jay Street, Cambridge, MA
4/91 – 7/91 Bike trip
8/91 Travels w/ Monique
9/91 [Laura’s parents], Salisbury, CT
10/91 – 11/91 Travels w/ Monique & Laura
12/91 With friends in Boston area
1/92 – 10/92 Rugg Road, Allston, MA
10/92 – 11/92 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA
11/92 – 5/93 Jay Street, Cambridge, MA
6/93 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA
7/93 – 10/93 41st Street, Oakland, CA
10/93 – 10/94 Northside Ave., Berkeley, CA
10/94 – 1/95 39th Avenue, San Francisco, CA
1/95 – 7/95 Armstrong Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
8/95 – 8/96 Fainwood Circle, Cambridge, MA
8/96 – 3/00 Harvard Street, Cambridge, MA
4/00 – 8/00 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY
8/00 – 9/02 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY
9/02 – 8/05 St. John’s Place, Brooklyn, NY
9/05 – present Berkeley Place, Brooklyn, NY