Nuclear Families, Time To Move, And Less Of Everything

Summer Block
6 min readApr 9, 2020

I started this letter on March 4 and just reopened it again. The original letter began:

“Yesterday was an election day. I woke up early to go stand in front of the elementary school with some other parents and wave signs that read Yes on Measure I (a local school funding initiative). Everyone was in high spirits. We were preaching to the choir, of course, and that’s the most fun kind of preaching. Parents honked and waved as they drove by and shouted ‘I voted!’ out of their passenger windows. I ran in this election too, for a small local office (Los Angeles Central Committee Delegate for Assembly District 43, for those keeping track) and lots of people shouted, ‘I voted for you, Summer! I told all my friends!’

“After the sign-waving, I went inside the school for an emergency PTA Executive Board meeting (not actually an emergency, they use that term pretty liberally) and more people told me they voted for me. A few people gave me hugs. Then I took Margaret to the YMCA so I could work out and everyone there had voted for me, too, and the YMCA was also a voting center so I watched people file in and out of the glass-walled cardio room and the two women that run the YMCA’s childcare room gushed over Margaret and how much she had grown even though they saw her last only a week ago.

“It was such a nice day and it made me sad because I knew I’d be leaving. The night before Election Day our offer had been accepted on a house in Pasadena. For those who don’t know, our new house will be about six miles east of our current one, and while I know it’s more than a little ridiculous to make a fuss over moving six miles, residents of big cities know how much of a difference six miles can make. Many of the things we love about our house now are not only in our neighborhood but on our block: not only the YMCA, but the corner liquor store with their extremely optimistic Instagram account and the corner grocery store that saved our dinner by stocking chicken broth on Christmas Day (we brought the grocery store owner a thank you present a few days later).”

I was going to talk a bit more about moving and about community, when everything about our community changed very abruptly.

Summer Block

Writer for Catapult, Longreads, The Awl, The Toast, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, and so on. Owner of After-Party Taxidermy. Working on a book about Halloween.