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  • Valerie Koonce

Home Sweet Home

Our sweet honey mustard

Home is where the heart is - as they say. This week we will be moving again. We are buying a home and settling into this beautiful place, Boise. It has been a long journey for us for the last five years we have made a lot of changes all for the better. This will be our fourth move in five years. We're getting good at it. I worry that (well, I worry about everything) my detachment from things is so easy. In my experience, once something has been stolen from you, it's easier to detach from the emotional connection to things. It makes me think of all the times I have moved throughout my life.

I have always jumped at the chance for new adventure. When I was 18 I packed all I owned into a Saturn and moved to Boulder, Colorado. A city I wish I had given more of a chance.

When I was 23 I packed two suitcases and moved to New York City. When you are young you have so little precious belongings and you don't realize how precious that is, how precious your life is. It was absolutely nothing like Broad City or Sex in the City. I worked three jobs. I frequented restaurants that accepted Discover Card as it was my only credit card. I used someone's free tickets to see CHICAGO! on Broadway. I had to buy something to wear because I didn't have time to take the train all the way home and back before showtime. I made terrible decisions, and a few brilliant ones. I ate stale Rice Krispies I bought at a bodega. They had put the price sticker over the expiration date. If you thought Rice Krispies don't go bad, you're incorrect. Take my word for it.

I met Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ed Bradley, and Jerry Orbach if you count showing them to a table in a dining room and taking their coats as "meeting" them. I choreographed, and danced, and worked, and worked and worked. I paid for cabs to Jersey. I took a cab and told the guy the address and he drove for two seconds and announced we were here. It was before google maps, before Siri. I watched the fireworks over the Hudson and over Central Park. I kissed someone in the rain. I walked through Central Park in the winter and the steamy summertime. There was only one woman on the waitstaff where I worked. One. I was enthralled by her because she saved up her waitress money to take a year off and just "enjoy the city". It's where I learned I was very comfortable in a suit. I worked with a guy they called "One Suit" and he would take limos out with his friends. I just walked to the train eating stale poptarts. Another hostess was trying to get a part in a Woody Allen film. I learned how to love French salads with lardons and egg. I worked with some of the meanest people in the world. The pastry chef was so mad that someone had given me a chocolate from his nights work that he took it from me and threw it in the trash. I told a lady that we served white truffles, the truffle was kept in a locked fridge beneath my desk, and when we were out of them the night she dined with us she told the manager that I had told her they were on the menu. She had my name written down. I was hollered at in a broom closet. I had to read a script when on the phone, wear pantyhose and smile. I became friends with the coat check woman who was Parisian and made everything seem gorgeous and she worked for tips in a coat closet for a living. New York living is not for everyone.

When I was 35 I moved to Sugarhouse, renting a house from a friend when I needed one the most. That tiny, lovely in every way, house taught me so much about myself. In that house I realized that my most precious things were my kids and that with them I can do absolutely anything. I worked, cooked for friends, threw parties and took a chance again on love.

When I was 39 we moved to Boise. This town is just right for me. A city where I feel comfortable in a suit - one kind for work and one for the river. Where I have time to go home and change before showtime. Where the people are so genuine and kind. We finally found a home in the perfect location that we can call our own and fill with memories.


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