WHERE NATURE SMILES
By CATHE ELLSWORTH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
It was a year ago last week that we left our home of 36 years in Cooperstown to move to a new home in Mount Vernon, Ohio. We left behind the house which the he-we’s grandparents built for $5,000 in 1912.
Though the years, four generations of the Ellsworth family lived at 105 Pioneer St. But now the family has indeed taken Horace Greeley’s advice and has gone west. And while we had anticipated it might well be a difficult move to make, that has proven not to be the case.
Granted, the move has meant adjusting to all sorts of new things, like medical care, shopping opportunities and, most importantly, restaurants.
We have traded the Cooperstown Diner for the Southside Diner. Hunan Gardens has replaced the China Wok. Toscano’s has become Mazza’s, while the Hawkeye Bar & Grill has fallen to either the Stein Brewing Co. or the Alcove Restaurant. We cannot make up our mind about the best replacement for the Hawkeye.
And when it comes to pizza, Mount Vernon has a plethora of possible pizza parlors. Unfortunately, we have yet to find one that comes even close to having the delicious pizza we always so enjoyed from Sal’s.
For grocery shopping, instead of Price Chopper and Tops, we can choose from Walmart, Kroger, Aldi and IGA, a grocery store we had long thought no longer existed. Of course, we don’t ever actually go to any of these grocery stores, as we discovered early on that the wee-we, who is not so wee anymore, loves to grocery shop. And far be it for us to stand in his way of doing something he loves.
When it comes for social opportunities, we also find ourselves well positioned. Perhaps our favorite undertaking is the monthly book club meeting held at Paragraphs, Mount Vernon’s independent bookstore. As was the case in Cooperstown, we have found being in a book club means that we read all sorts of books which we might not have chosen for ourselves. And that is a very good thing.
We also enjoy the monthly potluck dinner, weekly jigsaw puzzle gathering and card playing at the condo community’s clubhouse. Plus, the added attraction in the summer of a heated-to-86-degrees swimming pool next to the clubhouse is not to be overlooked.
In addition, we must note that our access to dramatic productions, music concerts, art shows and lectures at Kenyon College are all available throughout the college year.
Plus, we have the opportunity to attend presentations at our granddaughters’ elementary school as well as their dance and gymnastics recitals. So, we do not lack for all sorts of outside activities. And we cannot stress enough how very much we have enjoyed being close to the wee-wee’s family.
Of course, the changes we have encountered in terms of dining and shopping are not the only changes we have noticed. In fact, we are tempted to say that the changes in the cost of living has been the most remarkable. For example, in 2017 the property taxes on our Cooperstown home totaled $8,448. However, our 2019 property taxes on Ohio came to $2,537.
And while it is the case that the assessment on the condo in Ohio is less than was the assessment on the house in Cooperstown, it also seems that the governmental entities in Ohio manage with much smaller budgets.
As an example, in 2016 New York State spent an average of $22,366 per public school student. In Ohio, the amount spent per student is about $11,953. And as far as we can tell, with one granddaughter in fourth grade and the other just entering kindergarten, the education seems to most satisfactory. At least we have not heard any complaints from the either parents or the students.
Likewise, it seems that the overall cost of living in Knox County, Ohio, is less than it is in Otsego County, N.Y. And our thinking seems to have been confirmed by an article we read online that listed, according to 24/7 Wall Street, what $1 is worth in all 50 states.
It seems that in NYS, $1 only buys 87 cents worth of goods, while in Ohio $1 buys $1.12 worth of goods. It quite makes us think that by moving to Ohio, we increased our income by about 25 percent. And that is something with which we will not argue.
Consequently, we must conclude that our move to Ohio seems most satisfactory except for one thing, namely the fact that we left so many dear friends behind in Cooperstown. Many of them we had known for all 36 years we were in Cooperstown. Others we had met more recently.
And for some, the Ellsworth family shared generations of friendship with other families. It was indeed hard to have left that Cooperstown feeling of friendship, trust and loyalty behind as we firmly believe that the only real thing of importance in any community is its people.
Yet, although it will never be the same as Cooperstown, we are indeed delighted to have learned that the people we have meet here have been equally willing to share their friendship, trust and loyalty. And for that, we are eternally grateful as well as very glad that we have managed to bloom where we are now planted.
Cathe Ellsworth, “She-We” in “Where Nature Smiles,” the column she wrote for decades locally, moved from her Pioneer Street home a year ago to be nearer to “Wee-Wee,” son Christopher, his wife the their two children.