For someone who had to run away from a war, an environmental catastrophe, or from a country under political unrest, to have a locker with a key feels really good. A locker it’s a place when you can store your personal belongings, where you can even leave some cash, a chocolate, a granola bar, a bottle of water.., besides your tooth paste and underwear. It gives you a sense of place. It’s like an umbrella when it rains. It helps to mend the holes in the emotional blanket…
I have been lucky enough to feel always safe, secure, and protected. Since I was born I had a family that took care of me, and a father who made me feel important and loved. So far, I haven’t experience a war, neither I’ve been in danger for long periods of time. But it is always a big change when ones moves out (even that I have lived in 3 different places before coming to live here (Spain, Aruba, and California,) and move in somewhere else. That’s why when I arrived to Wilmington to have a locker at the YMCA made me feel right at home.
I still miss my locker at Wilmington’s YMCA. It had my name on, and gave me a sense of belonging. I felt sassy when a girlfriend invited me to have a cup of tea, or to drink something somewhere. In those times I didn’t have a car. It was a blessing to be able to kept my essential oils, my makeup, and my little black dress inside my own locker. I could go somewhere right away, without having to go home to change my clothes. So every time I go one of those invites to go for a little while downtown I called home right away to let Bill know he didn’t have to come to pick me up, and that my friend will bring me back home.
Sadly, three years ago our YMCA burned on fire. I lost contact with many old wise ladies, who shared with me their wisdom, many warm times at the swimming pool, and hot sessions in the sauna. I’m sure they miss “The Y” too. The YMCA is now all dispersed, and it was sad for the community to lose that building and its spaces. I fear it was also detrimental for the health of some people, specially the elderly, as not everybody can pay a private facility to exercise, and distances by public transportation can be challenging. I remember some folks used to get there by bus. The YMCA had more than 7.000 members.
We had it all in one place. It was like a “city club” for me! I hope the facility can reunite everybody in one place not so long from now. In the mean time, I’m getting ready to spend the end of the year back home, now that I have the best of the 2 worlds, the beach and the mountain. But I still remember those days of getting to know the Wilmington community, and I still miss my old locker at the YMCA.