Living the Dream

Living_the_dream_1Here’s an idea: sell the house, buy a camper, blow Dodge and go around the world. Most of us are too tied up in our salt-and-pepper shaker collections and travelling soccer leagues to even think about it. Well, Montclair resident Molly Monahan and her son Max, 12, are actually doing it. They leave June 30, with the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia as their first major destination. They’re planning to blog their trip and make a documentary about their adventures. We’ll put the link on our sidebar as soon as they have one, and we’ll update you on their travels throughout.

Stuff Meanwhile, Molly and Max are having the yard sale to end all yard sales this weekend, from 9-2 Friday and Saturday, at 34 Erwin Park Road. And when they say "everything must go," they mean it. Look for some special stuff: Molly is, among other things, an art dealer and collector. In addition to some great prints and paintings, sharply reduced, she’s casting off a couple of cool ’50’s Formica tables, some stained glass and a kimino rack! For other yard sale listings, or to add yours, go to Classifieds.

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66 COMMENTS

  1. Sooo cool! I give them a lot of credit. Reminds me of William Least Heat Moon’s “Blue Highways.” I wish them luck.

  2. That’s awesome! How many kids wouldn’t die for a mom who would do such an outing with them? This is one of those things that they’ll both always remember and talk about. Too cool!

  3. Hm. What happened to the other way of saying get outta dodge, anyway?
    Just kidding. This is a great idea, now if only more people had the opportunity to run rampant around the country when gas prices continue to go to all time highs. They should at least get an H2 or something before they go.

  4. Sorry to sound like a child welfare noodge, but what about the kid’s education? Friends? (Saying “he’ll make new ones” doesn’t cut it, they’ll only be temporary.) Anyone want to bet how long it’ll be before the kid gets bored or scared or, understandably, homesick for the earthly paradise known as baristaville?
    It’s tempting to want to chuck everything. “Born to be wild,” as opposed to the reality of being mild, as most of us really are. It doesn’t quite work that way in practice. I once sat in a stalled commuter bus when a bikie in club colors roared by on a summer Friday. My seat partner said, “Wouldn’t you like to live like that? To be so free”
    I replied that he really wouldn’t like it, that there are an awful lot of rules in an MC, meetings, dues, assessments. He snarled back, “What the hell would you know?”
    Again, it’s tempting to get in the wind, going by the posts above. But maybe just a mite unrealistic. Nice, however, to see how many dreamers remain out there.

  5. “Sorry to sound like a child welfare noodge, but what about the kid’s education? Friends? (Saying “he’ll make new ones” doesn’t cut it, they’ll only be temporary.) Anyone want to bet how long it’ll be before the kid gets bored or scared or, understandably, homesick for the earthly paradise known as baristaville?”
    Cathar, I really thought you were a free spirit! Don’t disappoint me.
    First of all, Max can be home-schooled by his mom if need be. Secondly, what better education is there than traveling around the world, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, having exciting adventures? Yes, his classmates may have the traditional desk & chalkboard education but what Max will experience can never be replicated in a stuffy classroom.
    Plus, he’s 12 years old. It’s not like he’s in his junior year of high school waiting to hear back from colleges. If not now, when?
    Yes, he may get a bit homesick for his friends, but that should abate once he’s out on the road. It’s not like he’s being banished from Baristaville forever. He and his mom can come back when they’re ready and I’m sure they’ll be the life of the party with all of their stories.
    I envy them and I can’t wait for the blog/documentary.

  6. I would venture to say that Max is probably not a typical 12 year old.
    I expect there will be great days and not-so- great days while on the road, but what remains is that it’s a once in a lifetime adventure.
    Bon voyage!

  7. Odds are, cathar, that it most likely it won’t become a permanent lifestyle for mom and son. Being free is damn hard work. All the more reason to applaud them for acting on those yearnings we all share.

  8. I don’t share those yearnings, walleroo. As Walter Brennan says to the tavernkeeper at the end of “Northwest Passage.” as they watch Rogers’ Rangers march off on another adventure, who asks if he’s going too, “I’ve been.” Now I’m back. Flag, family and fireside cut it for me now. I always have a dated return ticket.
    And I hate to sound like a cornball, but proper home schooling calls for some educational structure. (One of my cartoon heroes remains “Droopy Dog,” I’ll also add relevantly.) I think the item just stirred up a little hippie wishfulness (or do I mean wistfulness?) in you folks, perhaps because you weren’t quite the right age to pull it off yourselves back when people split on a whim. You didn’t miss as much as you think if you do feel like this, honest.
    Yet if you’re going to do something like this, I suppose Canada is a relatively safe place in which to start. But would any of you folks take off with your own offspring (I’m curious)? Would your offspring even want to accompany you? Who’d water your plants? Pay your water bills?

  9. It’s admittedly through the confusingly filmy glow of age, but right now I can’t think of anything much better in life than to be “your typical 12-year-old.”

  10. PPS: It’s fine if they “leave Dodge,” as long as they’re not leaving because of the bold words of Thom Kennon back on Memorial Day.

  11. Apparently you regulars were declawed in the last few days. I would think that simply by virtue of her being a Plofker neighbor, Ms. Monahan would incur your ire, but apparently bohemian musings can quell that anger.
    But for the unitiated, Ms. Monahan and her son got some other press not long ago from the Montclair Times in an article entitled “Where to go when you’re on the brink.” From their archive:
    “Upon first impression, Mollie Monahan seems to be doing just fine. She lives in a five-bedroom house on tony Erwin Park Road with her 9 1/2-year-old son, Max. But her husband√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s decision to seek a divorce a few years ago left her reeling.
    Her income as an art curator and as a saleswoman for a consulting firm isn’t enough to maintain the lifestyle that she had with her ex. She and her son don’t go out to dinner as much as they used to, and there’s no money anymore for such luxuries as babysitters or new toys.
    Monahan considered moving to a smaller house, but said she couldn’t bring herself to leave her home. “I chose to live praying that the pipes don’t burst,” she said.
    For several months, Monahan has been searching for a housemate, ideally another single parent, who could share in the responsibilities of keeping a home and caring for the children.
    “It’s more important for me to stay in this house than to have privacy,” she said.
    But if the pipes go or another disaster strikes, Monahan said, she√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s ready to let it all go. Her life, she insists, is about a few priorities: her family, her church, her wits and her health. If getting outside assistance helps to keep these things in focus, she√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s willing to turn to that.”
    Guess she should have sold the kimono rack back then.
    P.S. Word on the street is the house sold for around a mil. You gotta love this town.

  12. Thank you much, Trixie. I’m semi-ashamed I retracted my claws on this one.
    I missed the kimono rack reference. What on earth is it? Something the shogun tosses his soiled skivvies on after a happy day of decapitating his enemies? Does anyone know what one looks like? Would I be able to distinguish it from, say, one of those life-sized racks on which a man lays out tomorrow’s suit, shirt and tie? And if it’s so valuable, shouldn’t our intrepid travelers take it along for barter purposes to obtain salt cod and flour from those notoriously backward Nova Scotians?

  13. Ps: Did the pipes go?
    Now I’m also concerned that the ex won’t get to see his son if they’re heading off to Labrador or some other cold, hard-to-get-to Canadian place. Or is it possible the trip isn’t meant to last as long as all of us above assumed? I can still hear Steppenwolf singing “Born To Be Mild” on this one, folks, instead of Blackfoot doing “Fly Away.”

  14. Well, if the ex wants to see his kid, he can always hire a Labrador retriever.
    Sorry. Couldn’t resist!

  15. Miss Martta, I laughed out loud at that one. And as a Garfield fan, I don’t usually even chuckle at pro-canine humor.

  16. Well, there is the “tony Erwin Park” association, and since most issues that are even vaguely or remotely related to Plofker (or his wife, or his kids, or their skateboarding habits) seem to cause a stir, I thought perhaps that thread might weave again. Go figure.

  17. trixie – oh. um, ok. well, obviously you missed judge those folks…though, there are the other regulars who still belittle anyone and everyone, even 12 year old boys.

  18. Hands off Trixie! She was merely adding some crucial detail to a story that now has more emotional resonance, isn’t necessarily as cut and dried a tale of “white line fever” as it first may have sounded. But then these things never are, even if at first reading they stir up the wanderlust in others.

  19. Thanks for getting it, cathar. And butchcjg, I have the uncomfortable sensation that I have been belittled.

  20. It is alas incumbent upon me to remind butch that she is dangerously close to violating both the letter and spirit of her hitherto agreement.
    (surprised am I not)

  21. p.s. As penalty for the infraction, Cathar may make one (only one) reference to any passage written by Ayn Rand that either confuses or enrages Butch.

  22. “And as a Garfield fan, I don’t usually even chuckle at pro-canine humor.”
    Cathar, you probably just haven’t met the right dog yet. 🙂

  23. “And as a Garfield fan, I don’t usually even chuckle at pro-canine humor.”
    Cathar, you probably just haven’t met the right dog yet. 🙂

  24. I think the truce is working so far. But Liz, you have to be a mite more vigilant. And ROC, I can’t get through anything Ayn Rand’s written, she and her “gang of 1” (meaning Nathaniel Branden) just strike me as impossible prunes. You just sit next to a book of theirs and you’ll feel clammy and in a pari-dysentery state. Give me Edmund Burke any day.

  25. trixie – i didn’t comment to belittle you…i simply said you had misjudged people. obviously some folks here (myself not one of them) are very agitated by Plofker, but they’re obviously not quite as horrible as you’d think.

  26. Objectivism has a little too much “Man-Centered” hedonism in a way I suppose. (though the last I read her I was 20 and it was during the 4 weeks I was a Philosophy Major – what a disaster) But, exception granted, use Burke.
    I didn’t remember reading Burke ever before, so I just read SPEECH ON AMERICAN TAXATION (1774). Political oratory has certainly degraded considerably since 1774 hasn’t it? I wonder if his contemporaries ever passed acts only to get him to sit down! I read that some of his speeches ran to 8 hours!
    I read the speech (took a while). Got a bit lost for awhile but then hit paydirt. I even got a little choked-up at this part:
    “Let us, Sir, embrace some system or other before we end this Session. Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence? If you do, speak out; name, fix, ascertain this revenue; settle its quantity; define its objects; provide for its collection; and then fight when you have something to fight for. If you murder√¢‚Ǩ‚Äùrob! if you kill√¢‚Ǩ‚Äùtake possession! and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, violent, vindictive, bloody, and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you!
    Again, and again, revert to your own principles— Seek Peace, and ensue it —leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, not attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these
    metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they antiently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. They and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under that system. Let the memory of all actions, in contradiction to that good old mode, on both sides, be extinguished for ever. Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. Let this be your reason for binding their trade. Do not burthen them by taxes; you were not used to do so from the beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety. But, if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No-body will be argued into slavery. Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side call forth all their ability; let the best of them get up, and tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry, by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burthens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery—that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation, either to his feelings or his understanding.

    So then, because some towns in England are not represented, America is to have no representative at all. They are our children; but when children ask for bread, we are not to give a stone. Is it because the natural resistance of things, and the various mutations of time, hinder our government, or any scheme of government, from being any more than a sort of approximation to the right—is it therefore that the Colonies are to recede from it infinitely? When this child of ours wishes to assimilate to its parent, and to reflect with a true filial resemblance the beauteous countenance of British liberty; are we to turn to them the shameful parts of our Constitution? are we to give them our weakness for their strength? our opprobrium for their glory? and the slough of slavery, which we are not able to work off, to serve them for their freedom?
    If this be the case, ask yourselves this question, Will they be content in such a state of slavery? If not, look to the consequences. Reflect how you are to govern a people, who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading up to your eyes in blood, you could only end just where you begun; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found, to√¢‚Ǩ‚Äùmy voice fails me; my inclination indeed carries me no farther√¢‚Ǩ‚Äùall is confusion beyond it.”
    They don’t make them like that anymore!

  27. ROC – you were a philosophy major for 4 weeks? what’d you switch to?
    I actually liked some elements of The Fountainhead (perhaps the grandiose-ness of it) and Rand certainly has an interesting background – talk about our childhood upbringing/baggage dictating your philosophies later in life.

  28. Thanks for filling us in, Trixie. (Wasn’t that the name of Ed Nortan’s wife?) It does seem like we’ve been declawed lately. Have we been behaving ourselves because of that ceasefire negotiated in the middle of a particularly rancorous thread a few days ago? I’ve only been paying spotty attention lately; it hadn’t occurred to me that some of you may have had a coming to Jesus.
    I’ve also “been there”, cathar. I’ve had the joyous experience of quitting the job, packing the bags, and getting out of Dodge. (It was exciting, it was an adventure that lasted for many years and has affecteed my life in numerous ways since, but also it was a bit like that story in the Maltese Falcon, where the guy leaves his wife, family, etc and moves to another part of the country, only to slowly resurrect the same life all over again.) Though I wouldn’t put flag first in my list (we can agree to disagree on what loyalty to country means), I must admit I am content with my present lot as salaryman (of a sort). There are other people in my life now besides myself. There’s still a part of me, though, that wants to hop back on the proverbial Harley, and that is continually scheming about how to make it so.

  29. Being content with your present lot is perhaps the greatest gift of all, walleroo. You’re obviously blessed. Good for you. If and when you do hop back on the hog, I hope it’s a chopped one. Or a newish Indian.
    I used to believe in the spirit of the old “Route 66” tv show. Then I looked at a map (I was young and naive) and realized the show had little do with the real routing. Oh well, Hollywood lied to me again. But great, great theme music.
    At risk of crowing, the “ceasefire” wasn’t so much negotiated as it was entirely suggested by ymagnanimous yours truly. (God but I feel Willam Pitt the Younger-like! Better that than Neville Chamberlain-like, I know.) But it’s like Panmunjom, Or the Gaza strip. Things, verbal jihads, ad hominem attacks, hokey yowls of surprise over opnions, can erupt any time. Just as long as we agree to damp them back down right away.

  30. I knew something was amiss yesterday when an innocent agreement between ROC and me elicited head-nodding and yay-saying. I have to say, I don’t miss some of the more stridently ad hominem disagreements. I’ve personally said things to Butch, for instance, that I’d just as soon take back. Come to think of it, cathar, you and I had some scrappy set-to’s in the early days. Thankfully neither you nor Butch seem to be the kind to hold a grudge.

  31. “I used to believe in the spirit of the old “Route 66″ tv show. Then I looked at a map (I was young and naive) and realized the show had little do with the real routing. Oh well, Hollywood lied to me again. But great, great theme music.”
    Agreed! And I had a MAJOR schoolgirl crush on George Maharis!

  32. In light of that article, this come to mind: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
    Kris Kristofferson, right? (sung by Janis Joplin).

  33. of course, not, walleroo. you seem good intentioned. you and i made our peace awhile back. we all say things in the heat of the moment that we wish later we could take back.

  34. Walleroo, don’t go getting all Unitarian-ish on us, and don’t expect me to sing “Kumbaya” with you. It is basically simply that posters here, unlike members of both the British press and Parliament, seem to shrink back when the give-and-take gets really lively. So it’s better to keep things a bit grounded, so to speak. And relatively peaceful and well-modulated.
    Someone once said to John Wilkes, “Sir, you will surely either die on the gallows or of the pox.”
    To which Wilkes replied, “That depends on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”
    We’ve had no repartee even a tenth as good here. We never will. (And that single 18th century exchange is, to me, worth more than the entire output of “gonzo journalism” from Hunter Thompson.)

  35. Just so y’all know, this “yard sale” s*cks!! Ok, so I do hate to shop, but when I saw “art dealer” I thought perhaps I might find some good deals. Nothing of value there…. Really. Don’t waste your time. P.S. She’s a nice lady, though.

  36. (Someone once said to John Wilkes, “Sir, you will surely either die on the gallows or of the pox.”
    To which Wilkes replied, “That depends on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”)
    At least if you embrace the mistress, you have a good time before you die…

  37. This thread has come a long way from announcing a yard sale. What I’d like to know, “hate to shop,” is how much the kimono rack is going for? A colander-type price? What’s it look like?
    Pam, that depends on both the mistress and on how fast the “pox” spreads.

  38. Well, I eventually spied the kimono rack in the very stinky basement (how many cats does this woman have, anyhow?). It was hidden behind a mound of clothing and covered with a couple of blankets, I think. I didn’t even venture to look for a price since the smell was really getting to me….

  39. Only in Montclair would someone need a special rack for their kimono! You gotta love this town.

  40. This is Max Monahan—the ‘kid’ who is going on the trip. You guys are cracking me up with all your comments. I am learning a lot about ‘facts and fiction’ from you folks. I can’t wait to go on this adventure. I will learn tons of things. Cathar…If you are so interested in our trip, you should get the facts from us. Don’t worry about seeing my father. Of course we have worked that out. Oh, And we lived here BEFORE the Plofkers, who are great neighbors, moved here.

  41. Whatever the facts and fictions, Max (and I welcome them), yes, 12 is very much kid-dom. Hold on to that state as long as possible, don’t be in so big a hurry to claim any other status. Whether in Canada or baristaville. You should also be happy so many people were concerned about you in print, they probably wouldn’t react so re your “great neighbors.”

  42. Max,
    Great prose, sentence structure and punctuation skills! At 12 your post outshines many a post here by people three times your age. Keep up the good work!

  43. Thank you “Right of center” for your complement. I will make many friends on the road. My friends here can still keep in touch with me by going on to our future blog.

  44. And ROC — unlike some posters who get so easily ruffled, our young Max has a sense of humor!!! Kudos to you — you’ll need all those good qualities on the open road…

  45. Do take to heart cathar’s point about being a ‘kid’ though, he is quite right! Keep the scare quotes off as long as possible!

  46. Max, you seem like a sharp kid, way out ahead. If you’re going to be a vagabond, be a disciplined vagabond–keep reading, writing and thinking.

  47. Dear “chick flick,”
    Go ahead and have your bloody tantrum. If you’re that oblivious to what words mean, then you deserve every minute of madness and rudeness you can summon up in yourself.
    And go play “defensor fidei” somewhere else. (Why, too, do I sense your posting name is a pseudonym for another regular poster? Hmmm…)

  48. Walleroo
    You are right about the reading. I am actually putting together a rather complex documentary project called “Being A Boy”, where I interview and film boys my age all around the world. I have to learn about their culture and lives to make this documentary.

  49. Sounds like a great idea, Max. Speaking from experience, though, ideas are a dime a dozen; follow-through is everything. I don’t say this to dampen your enthusiasm, but rather to persuade you to channel it. (That’s where the discipline comes in.) Also, don’t forget to read the dead white european males. Keep a syllabus going, and revise it frequently. And last, don’t ever take any advice from anybody you meet on the Internet. (Present company included.)

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