Today is the 32nd Anniversary of my move from California to Martha’s Vineyard.   (MUSICA) On March 5, 1982, at around three in the afternoon, I was bundled up, ferrystanding at the rail on the ferry with my eyes tearing in the freezing wind,  looking out over the choppy waves at the blurry island slowly coming into focus as we came closer.  The foghorn blew from the lighthouse, church spires and chimneys trailing smoke poked above the tree line.  When I got there I thought I would look in the paper, find a furnished place to rent and stay for three months.  I wanted to see what it was like to live in New England and have seasons. So I was going to see winter turn to spring and then to summer.  That was my plan.  The whole entire plan.


March 1982

This is the little house I bought about a week after I arrived.  Buying a house 3,000 miles from everyone and everything I had known and loved was not part of the plan. It was actually a bit of an accident because I was at loose ends and there was a really cute old-fashioned stove in that kitchen.  So now I had a 9′ x 9′ bedroom to decorate in forget-me-not blue wallpaper where I would wake from now on and see snow falling outside the windows, or leaf shadows shimmering on the walls.  Me and three kitties to keep me warm.  The doorway to my future and in such an unsuspected place.

houseThe thing I love most about time passing is how I can look back and see everything falling into place.  Just as it was meant to be.  Thirty two Years!  The best accident I was ever in!    My prayer:

Sky, be my depth;

Wind, be my width and my height;

World, my heart’s span;

Loneliness, wings for my flight.

Leonora Speyer

flower border

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404 Responses to ANNIVERSARY for me

  1. Lee Rose says:

    Congratulations. It has been 9 years since my big move and I think of it every year on the day. Happy I did it but so glad I don’t have to do it again.

    This is off subject, but have you ever made any of your artwork into jigsaw puzzles?

  2. Danielle says:

    Happy Anniversary! Everything happens for a reason ♥

  3. Georgeann from Texas says:

    So very much looking forward to a book about your decision to come to Martha’s Vinyard. I am curious about how long you were married before your divorce. Having been through a divorce myself I know some some things we don’t mind talking about and some things we would rather leave in the past. I’ll be so happy to read about your little home !

  4. Terry says:

    Couldn’t help thinking of ‘Miss Potter’x

    My thoughts turn to my arrival via a little ship to the shores of Kangaroo Island. Still but a child it was all very exciting, but for my family somewhat daunting…dad almost backed the car off the Kingscote jetty, with us all inside!

    It was to be a wonderful experience living on the island.

    I’m so glad I found your blog, it is without rival in the warmth, art and sincerity department. I read a couple of pages of your book every night before turning off my lamp!

    • sbranch says:

      XOXO So nice to hear that Terry, thank you! My did tried to back our car off of things with us in it too … so I remember that feeling!

  5. Marianne says:

    And we’re glad you did! (Bet that goes triple quadruple a million times over for Joe.) Happy Anniversary!!!

  6. evangeline says:

    Hello Susan and gf…I had to share my wonderful blessing!! I was privileged to be with my my “baby” daughter, Lindsay Evangeline, as she delivered her most precious son, Malakai….Oh there sometimes are not words for what the heart experiences!! He is so beautiful and perfect and well….MINE! My little sweetheart will live here at “Grammies house” with his mommie . How blessed our home is….had to share our “happiness” with you. I adore your posts, I looked you up while in hospital and had a huge screen to enjoy your blog…read the posts to my daughter while she fed her little one. We both loved the snow video…the quiet….and snow…so peaceful. A new “book” begins now in our family…”Our Malakai”…really appreciate the wonderful posts. I read each comment and check everyday for any new news! Happy Anniversary to you and MV….what a beautiful life…… have shared this life with so many….thank you….many times over…..from the happy land of “grammie-ville” ha ha…..evangeline

    • sbranch says:

      Evangeline! How wonderful, you made tears in my eyes! Congratulations to you and to Lindsay Evangeline for Malakai. That was lovely. You certainly know how to choose beautiful names in your family! xoxo (((Hugs)))) to you all.

  7. Jody says:

    What a charming little house to live in. Happy anniversary to you.

  8. Mrs. Pivec says:

    Susan, you look so darling in that photo. 🙂 What a brave thing to do!

  9. Linda says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have been reading (and LOVING) your book, “A Fine Romance”. We have been blessed to travel in England several times, but have never had the opportunity to spend days in one perfect little flat or cottage. The Lake District charmed us with its’ small villages, the ferry across Lake Windemere, walking through pastures on footpaths, seeing a sheep dog herding sheep, and of course the homes of Beatrix Potter. I did not grow up reading her little books, but fell in love with her stories as I visited Hill Top and the surrounding area.

    I have never been to Martha’s Vineyard, though I love New England and fell in love with Nantucket. I look forward to seeing your book about it.

    Congratulations on 32 years. May you have many more years of love and laughter together with Joe.

    (near Seattle)

  10. Dinahsoar says:

    Oh how I love this story—wish it were me!! I LOVE New England but my husband hates cold weather. Thanks for sharing this. I wish there were a whole book about it. I’d love to know how you discovered you could paint as well. Love to you and yours–you make the world a lovely place SB!..from the hills of TN.

  11. tricia says:

    Happy Anniversary, Susan! If only I had known you were coming to New England, I would have welcomed you and offered you a nice cup of tea! I made my “big move” from Ohio,ten years before you arrived and on the day you came I was looking forward to the birth of my second child, born in May of that year. I’ve lived in New England (Massachusetts) ever since then, but I’ve never visited Martha’s Vineyard – someday…

  12. Star from Cypress, CA says:

    Hi Susan,
    To steal a quote from another artist…..”Life can only be understood Backwards, but must be lived Forwards.”
    I think this explains what you are talking about.
    Congratulations on your “move anniversary” and all the good things that have happened to you since. Joe, Girl Kitty, Jack, writting, art. You are one blessed gal.

  13. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    Susan…you are a treasure. Thank you for doing what you do. If I have a stressful day, I pop into your blog and just start reading. I wish we could clone you. 🙂

  14. Wendy says:

    “Loneliness, wings for my flight.”
    I love that. A lot. Been struggling with loneliness lately and to think of it was wings for my flight gives me hope. Thank you, dear Susan.
    Your cottage was adorable and 100% YOU. What a great place to start!

    • sbranch says:

      Loneliness is one of the worst things I’ve ever felt. Hideous. But there is something in that silence that is so good for a person. And then you could join something where there are people. Just two nights a week, then the other nights will not feel lonely, you’ll just be happy you don’t have to go anywhere. xoxo to you Wendy.

  15. Mary Ann says:

    You sure were one brave, independent woman, moving all the way across country on a whim. I’m so glad you did, as I’m sure none of us would have “known” you without this big move. Congrats!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I look back and can’t imagine what my life would have been if I hadn’t gone. A whole different set of friends, maybe no books, no Joe … yikes, No Jack!

  16. Loretta says:

    Hi, Susan….read your blog and just wanted to send a big “Hello” to you.! Thurs. the 13th makes 44 yrs. my husband and I met! It was a very exciting day….he was on leave from the Navy. Was stationed in Viet Nam and came home for a week. We had been communicating thru letters for a couple of months. We met on the 13th, he proposed the next day on Valentines Day and we were married in November! In some ways, it seems so long ago, and in others….it seems like yesterday! Have a great day…. Loretta 🙂

  17. I love this post. So, so sweet and full of dreams come true.
    Happy Valentine’s Day my friend.

  18. Jan says:

    Love the picture of you in front of your little house. Reminds me of my oldest sister who moved from small town Michigan to New York City after her divorce. She loaded up a uhaul truck with her belongings and drove there. (My little sister went with her to help – I think at the insistence of my Mom) At the time I just couldn’t imagine. She felt is was something she had to do. Anyway – Happy Anniversary on your move. So glad you did!

  19. Kelly B. says:

    Susan, if ever there was someone who found their niche in life and their place in the world it was you! Congratulations on many happy years. I believe that I too have found the perfect place for me, from the moment I learned there was such a wonderful place as Martha’s Vineyard to the day in June of 2007 that I finally spotted it from a distance from my seat on the Island Queen. Wonderment, fantasy fulfilled. Martha’s Vineyard is truly a place of dreams. Your blog makes me feel like I’m there and I thank you!

  20. Audrianne says:

    Something always comes from accidents….and this one was a grand leap of faith. So happy for the results – Joe, life with the kitties, your career….

  21. Carol Tuchschmidt says:

    Congratulations, Susan, on your anniversary. I fell in love with M’s Vineyard eons (29 years) ago on a sailing ‘vacation’ with another couple. Hated sailing; the other couple divorced; and I wanted to stay on the Vineyard. I was a newlywed, and my beloved didn’t want to stay, nor did I really want to jump ship. Your pics of snowfall on the island just make me so homesick (here in AZ for the winter). BTW, I made your Steak au Poivre 3 nights ago for a house guest (who has a Parisian wife). He complimented me beaucoup times for the delicious recipe. I took all the credit. Hope you don’t mind. Hugs to your whole household ~~ Carol from Colorado

  22. GF Michele says:

    Hi Susan! I am late wishing you a Happy Anniversary on your move to New England! I love that you chose HERE to experience the change of season and heal. For me, it doesn’t get any better than this place. I have only lived out of state once in my life, Tampa. FL. Was the most boring 2.5 years. No mountains, no HILLS!, no seasons, everything is one big grid. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a TON from that experience and I am glad I did it, but moving back home to my beloved snow and change of seasons was absolutely heaven. I’ll never leave again!

    Oh and one more thing: ONE MORE DAY TILL I CAN SEE YOU IN PERSON! I am so excited. I hope the snow doesn’t cause an issue. I can really say, “See you tomorrow Susan!”. So cool 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, that’s so nice to hear, Michele — you’re coming! I was sure we would be all alone with the people who work at Costco today! We’re getting a blizzard! Serves us right, us celebrators of the season … See you later!

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