Welcome to the country.
But I live in the country.
No this is country.

By Sylvia Beckerman

I’m confused. I’m a confused New Yorker who grew up in Queens and then the suburbs of Long Island, moved to Los Angeles, Denver, Israel back to Queens, New England – a variety of places in New England and as far as I’m concerned, am now in the country. But it seems that can be disputed. Some call this the suburbs. Really??? From where I come – this is the country!

Growing up in Queens for the first 12 years of my life was very different from the suburbs of Long Island. We lived in a ‘garden apartment’ in what was called a ‘court’. Nowadays I believe it’s called a ‘cul de sac’.  (Actually I just looked up the difference and found: ‘A “Dead end street” or court have houses on them. A “cul-de-sac” has half-million dollar homes on then.’  We definitely lived in a court.). As children we went outside and played with the other children in the garden apartments in the court.

The suburbs of Long Island were slightly different.  These were single family homes with postage sized lots. Putting in lawns of sod was popular. We’d go outside and ride our bikes around the block. Children would be out and if they weren’t, we’d knock on our friend’s door to see if they wanted to play. If no one was home, we would just return to our own house.

Fast forward to the 80’s, divorced and two children.

New England and the ‘bedroom’ communities. There were a variety of places that we lived and so it became a learning experience.

The first was a reconstructed farmhouse in Wilton up on a hill.  To me that was country. There was nowhere to walk to and no children around.  Next up was a townhouse in Ridgefield. Suburb inside of country. Children were able to go outside and play with other children who were also outside or even knock on their friend’s door to come out and play.

Then there was the move to the city…Stamford that is (It took me awhile to realize that when someone mentioned going downtown, they meant downtown Stamford and not NYC), and a house in what looked like the suburbs that I’d grown up in. I’d driven around the area with a friend of mine who told me that we could figure out a neighborhood with children by looking for houses that had basketball hoops.

The first thing I put up, you guessed it, a basketball hoop. But alas, the start of having to plan and make play dates. No just walking next door and knocking on the door.

Now years later here I am in what I consider country. I mean, it’s Fairfield, no sidewalks, lots of land and houses far apart from each other. Definitely no trick or treaters here.  And I’m told that this is not the country. According to who? Not me, that’s for sure. Just the other day I went to a friend’s house in Bethel who welcomed me with ‘welcome to the country!’

‘Welcome’ –  Are you kidding me? For a gal from Queens, I live in the country.