This baby boomer isn’t too old to move!

A few months ago, Californian Erin O’Brien wrote for BoomerCafé about moving. Not just from house to house, but from coast to coast. Why? A fairly typical boomer story: her husband was retiring. Now she’s getting settled in on the other side of the country — in Rhode island — and has discovered one thing for sure: Baby, it’s cold outside. Really cold!

When the alarm clock went off at 4:30AM, I reached for my glasses in the darkness and hurried to the window. No snow. My husband, newly retired (for just two weeks) thanked me for the announcement. I fell asleep to the sound of the fog horn in the distance and dreamed I was still in California.

Erin O’Brien at her new home in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Not long after that, it was barely light outside and my husband called me to the window. There it was: fluffy, sparkly, magical snow. I grabbed the camera, but not before my coat, scarf, hat, and boots, and when the screen door slammed behind us I breathed in the cold air in the wintry silence.

Our next door neighbor, bundled up and calming her dog, observed us tromping around and assured me there’d be plenty more photo opportunities. Thinking mittens would be clumsy with the camera, I clicked away until my hands were white with cold.

The wheelbarrow and the bird fountain took on a new beauty dusted with snow. Tiny animal tracks crossed the path. On the way down the hill to the cove I slipped and fell!

A lone dove sat on a telephone wire in the stillness. Every mossy snowy branch was a masterpiece. As it began to get lighter outside, neighbors on their way to work waved at the Californians in the snow.

Inside, the snowy scene is framed by the window above the radiator (which I’ve discovered is a great method of drying Vans tennis shoes.) A noisy bluejay lights on a snowy branch.

As I continue unpacking boxes after our cross-country move, I gaze at the snowy trees outside, and put away my radiator-dried California-brand tennis shoes for now. (What’s this? A package of “Quake Hold.” I won’t be needing that, either.)

Surprisingly, my Christmas poinsettias didn’t survive overnight on the front porch. A neighbor who introduced herself had noticed our frozen floral Christmas decorations. “They’re from California,” her husband whispered.

Coming from a land where gas comes out of the street, I watched in awe as the oil truck filled up my house with fuel for heating, just like a car with gasoline.

I’ve only been a Rhode Islander for a couple of weeks. Here’s to exponential growth on the learning curve!


  1. thank you for the beautiful pictures. There is nothing like the first snow to make the earth a beautiful place to be — so calm and peaceful

  2. Your delightful post made me giggle. I am a former New Englander, happy to be a Southerner for the last 24 years (after a brief stint in Los Angeles where the weather was perfect). As the saying goes, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Enjoy the snow- and keep it up there, thanks!

  3. Great pictures Erin. I’d rather be there now than Vegas. I like the house with the flag – yours? I remember liking the snow in Wisconsin (sledding, building a snow fort, throwing snowballs, etc.). Enjoy your new home.

  4. Thanks, Erin, for your beautiful photos and whimsical post. Having spent ten years in Boston, I can attest that New England is really a winter wonderland. Enjoy!

  5. Love the pics & update of your big adventure, but SO glad my ancestors emigrated out of the Northern states. It was a sweltering 39° in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley this morning! 😀

  6. While reading your article I can just visualize you running around in the snow snapping pictures and falling down, I promise not to laugh – love the visuals in my head. I pull from my memories as a child growing up in the snow keep writing, keep in touch!

  7. Looks like you live in a little Utopia…so beautiful, Erin! Reminds me of the first snow we experienced in late April after we moved to Montana. The beauty and novelty of it never wore off!

  8. There is a learning curve when it comes to moving to snowpacked environment from Southern California! Remember– four wheel drive, not four wheel stop; a snow blower is a great investment; pellet stoves are amazing; put your windshield wipers up if your car is parked outside (you’ll thank me); and an auto start on your vehicle to warm it up is a great investment! Enjoy the new adventure!!

  9. I’m so excited for you and your beautiful new adventure! Love the photos, and I can feel the wonder that you are feeling just by reading your words!

  10. I saw you out tromping that morning on my way down Buttonwoods Ave. I didn’t know who you were but we waved and I thought, now there’s someone really enjoying this beautiful snowy morning. Reminded me to pause, look around, appreciate and enjoy! Welcome to Buttonwoods!

  11. And that damp cold weather cuts right through you, I remember. Wet snow packs into ice under the tires very quickly, I remember sliding down the road one day… As Brian said, 4WD doesn’t help you stop unless they’re studded or wearing chains.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *