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Explorer & Maker


In the eighties, when Jody Melander arrived in Provincetown, it was love at first sight. She has made nearly all of her adult decisions – working in restaurants, finding rentals – so she could stay. But over the decades, Ptown has changed. Some of the old timers, artists, and characters have died or moved away. The town is less gritty, its funk and textures faded. Last spring, Jody uprooted to Truro.


I came to Provincetown in ’84. I came with my mother, who drove me here. And the whole ride she kept saying things like, “Wouldn't you rather live in Chatham? Wouldn't you rather live in Wellfleet?”  And I was quite adamant that I wanted to be in Provincetown.


I totally fell in love with the town. I've had a relationship with the place that's been like a relationship you have with a person.


It was a place that I came to because I could be who I was. That was true of people who had been coming here for decades. It didn't matter whether you're gay, or straight. It didn't matter if you had money, or no money. You were who you were, and people didn't really care. That was one of the reasons that I immediately felt like this was home.


I've made pretty much all the decisions in my adult life based on staying here. I've worked in restaurants most of the time that I've been here, I've painted houses. I launched weather balloons one year. I've done anything that I needed to, to make it work, to stay. If somebody asks me what I do, I don't actually have that quick short answer to explain yourself and justify yourself. It doesn't fit neatly into a package. That's the part that I like, actually.


I've walked Provincetown for 36 years, and I still find paths that I have never seen before. I've walked the dunes. I've walked the woods. You can walk the bike trails, and there's all kinds of paths that go off of that. And then there are deer paths that go off of the paths. It's very wonderful when you're in a space where you feel like it's possible that nobody's been there for at least a year. And I know I've been in some of those spots.


If I'm all by myself, or it’s just me and the dog out in nature, it's like meditation, being totally present in that space and in that moment, hearing it all and seeing it all in a way that’s not distracted. I love that.


When I'm on my deathbed, what are the things I'll remember? It's those kinds of experiences, really, that will be there.


For years, I would've said Provincetown is my home. I will never leave Provincetown. And now I'm in Truro. I was so in love with Provincetown, and I still am, but there are things that started to become really frustrating to me. Part of it, for me, is that the landmarks have changed.  Practically any street, almost every house or every intersection, I could name 10 things from my memory that happened there, or that have meaning to me.


And more and more, the houses are different. It's not like things have changed, and there's new possibilities coming in. To me, it's felt like there's change, and the doors are shutting. You don't look at the house and say, “Oh, I used to have dinner there. And perhaps I'll meet whoever lives there now and have dinner again.” You look at the house and you say, “Well, that part's done. And that place is done.”


There's been so much shift that it feels like it feels when you've broken up with someone, and you're still family. I am not deeply in love anymore. It's a great fondness, but it's a different kind of feeling.


Being in Truro now, it's 15 minutes down the road, but it's like I'm miles and miles away. I can put my attention on something that's new and exciting, and I can let go of angst over the parts that I've loved that are different than they were.


I got lucky. My mother was interested in going in on a place. Late last winter, there was a house that went on the market on a Sunday. And by Tuesday I had put an offer in. I have a yard. I can have a big garden. I have a basement. It's crazy!


I feel like Truro is a new chapter. It's not an entirely new book, and I was afraid that it was going to have to be a new book. But this is a new chapter in the old book.

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