On a warm late-may afternoon 19 years ago in the bowels of Jack Murphy Stadium, future Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt announced his retirement from the sport he loved and the team – the Philadelphia Phillies – with which he had spent his entire career.
”I gave it some time to turn around on the field,” a teary-eyed Schmidt said then. “I looked for signs and reasons every night to continue as a player, but I just couldn’t find them.”
This morning I spent quite a bit of time looking for signs myself and, like Mike Schmidt, I couldn’t find them. What made things worse was I was less than 10 miles from the Dobson Ranch – the area in which I grew up and lived for 16 of my 39 years.
Take me outside of the general confines of the Ranch and what once was known as the tri-city area (there even was a mall so named a long, long time ago) and I’m lost. This is not the Chandler and Gilbert I once knew. These are large, sprawling cities with dozens of subdivisions all designed like tiny mazes to keep out those who don’t belong.
Today I came to realize I’m in that class. It’s a difficult admission for someone who has lived in the Phoenix area for more than 30 years and always has taken pride in being one of the seemingly few who knows both the East and West Valleys.
Without my GPS working (it died valiantly last week after leading me into Fountain Hills to show homes … and get stranded on the balcony of a townhouse), I found myself heading south from the Loop 202’s southern end trying to find Pecos. Pecos is a block north.
Later I tried going west from Recker to find Power Road, not realizing it was behind me to the east. Recker … Power … Meridian … Idaho … Sossaman … these names have about as meaning to me these days as Park Place, Boardwalk and Illinois Avenue. I know that they are there in the east … somewhere.
I’ve argued the Phoenix real estate market is not one where you can specialize to a severe degree, not unless you’re entrenched in an area like Bob Simon, who still is walking the streets of the Dobson Ranch after a couple of decades. Part of that argument was the willingness to go anywhere to serve my clients; later I’ll post a map of where I’ve sold homes here in the Valley.
But after today, I’ve got to rethink that to a large degree. I was lost in what was my own backyard, driving streets whose sole interest to me 20 years ago was their possibility as a make-out spot. (Don’t tell my mom I wasn’t really going to Burger King with Angie those few nights. It would break her heart to know her son was a wannabe 19-year-old gigolo.)
I’m shortening my circle … the West Valley, for certain. Scottsdale, absolutely (as long as Steve Belt, Dru Bloomfield or Irene Hammond don’t know I’m there as I’m persona non grata in the west’s most overrated city.)
But the far East Valley … the time has come to say my farewells. I’ll cherish the memories but that time has come. I’m looking for signs, for reasons to stay … and I just can’t find them.[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]