The End of an Era

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a restoration of a photo of her young children, now the end of an era.My mother’s house in Massachusetts had sold, and I was desperately searching the shelves to take away something to remember all the sweet times over the twenty years in that place. Tears welled as I took a final glance around, said goodbye, and went out the door for the last time.
“It’s the end of an era,” friends kept telling me, when I arrived home sad and dazed. I thought about that. I tried to envision all my personal eras: childhood on New York’s Long Island, college and graduate school upstate, two decades in business designing my world as Silk Oak, and the years spent raising my babies into adulthood. But the “end of an era” meant far more than simply the loss of this time and place. Something bigger was ending.

For as long as I can remember, there were adults in my life I looked up to, ones higher up than my parents. There were important people who took care of us and I trusted them. Kind Doctor Strauss, the firemen who stopped our boiler from exploding, the tall policeman who occasionally visited PS94 to talk to us about safety, my teachers, … my President. The ones who had my best interests in mind. I felt safe and secure because I was in what my father called “the best country in the world” and we had really strong leaders. Later, I got to vote for some of my leaders. How amazing when the ones I voted for were elected; how much faith I had when the other team won, that we would still be lead judiciously even though under another brand of wisdom. Those days when I casually wondered what a World War must have felt like, or when I didn’t have to consider that I might possibly be a next target of racism or discrimination – that was an era.

Losing my mother’s place where I loved spending long weekends is sad. Losing the ceramic bird and beautiful white blankets my mom said I had to leave behind for the new owners is mildly heartbreaking. But losing my security and the trust that my leaders are looking out for me – this is indeed the end of life, as I’ve known it.


What does “the end of an era” mean to you in your life? What helps you deal with disappointments and worries in the world today?


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2 thoughts on “The End of an Era

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Ahhhh… Thank you. I can imagine that, Robin, but those kinds of connections ended for me in 1959 when my family left the small town where we lived and moved to a suburb of Detroit. I can still imagine that feeling of safety in the memories of a place. Not my mother’s home, but the home where I’ve lived since 1972. Deep roots here. A deep sense of belonging and safety. What a wonderful photo of your kids. Marika’s little face…

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      There’s a long way between Detroit and the beautiful peaceful spot you now call home, Elaine. I also feel a deep connection to my current home, 42 years on the same land although only 17 in this last house. I wonder if you also think about the day, far off in the future hopefully, when we will no longer be able to live in our quiet deep-rooted safe spots where we belong. I’m looking around the place now trying to take it all in so that the day I have nothing left of it but memories my head and heart will be filled.


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