Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moving along the highway (Jess)

"One more song about moving along the highway . . . " Carole King's eternal classic "So Far Away" resonated this weekend as Stan moved into a  house and Mike, Elaine and their child moved off to Hawaii.

Tears and joy dominated the weekend.

Elaine, Mike and their daughter left Saturday morning because some couldn't take a very long good-bye.  Rebecca wasn't even sure she would be able to say good-bye in person.  But, at the last minute, she showed up, eyes red and puffy.  And making a point to tell Mike that it wasn't just her former college roommate Elaine that she was going to miss.


A few hours after that, a number of us helped Stan move into his new home.  I joined Wally, Kat, Marcia, Rebecca (and her husband), Ruth (and three of her grandchildren), Isaiah, Trina (and her husband), Ava and C.I. in moving Stan in.

We were the moving crew.  We had everything moved, unpacked and put away in five hours.

And the last 30 minutes were the hardest emotionally.  Stan moved an hour away from where he was living and he had been only a half hour away from Marcia (his cousin).

It's weird because Stan only moved an hour away but his move felt like a loss in the same way Elaine and Mike moving off to Hawaii feels like a loss.

The three of them aren't participating in this edition but will be participating next week.

With my limited vision I don't understand 
Why anybody has to lose a friend 
Everybody has to follow their heart 
But it can hurt so bad 
To see changes
-- "Changes," written by Carole King, first appears on her Welcome Home album

It's not as if we're not going to be talking all the time.

But there's something really fearful about someone you can count on suddenly making even a small change.

As if that small change means your relationship with them changes.

And it also goes to the fact that we are all changing.

When this site started, for example, I wasn't even dating Ava. Now we have a child together.

I told Stan Saturday night that he was going to be overwhelmed about ten minutes after we left and he texted me that I predicted correctly.

No surprise.

We moved, my family, all the time.  We moved constantly.

And I hated it.  Some were just to different neighborhoods and I got to stay in the same school at least, but some were into school districts or new cities.  I hate moving.

I hate letting go.

That's the stuff you can't take because you can never take everything.

Stan, for example, ended up tossing away journals.  I had no idea he even kept a journal.  He had almost forty volumes.  And he was tossing them.


No time to pack them, he said.

And you have to be ruthless like that.  I can remember my mom telling me to pick three toys, three comic books, three this, three that because there wasn't room on the moving van for everything.

And Dad would drive the van, and my sister, Mom and me would be in the car behind following.  We'd have our dog Rex with us.  Rex would be walking all around the station wagon (the back of it).  He'd look at this and look at that.  And, like most dogs, was happiest when the car was moving and he could stick his head out the window.

Then we'd be approaching the new home and my sister and I would try to figure out which house we'd be renting.  That was a good distraction, by the way.  But then we'd see Dad turn into the drive of one of them and we were no longer wondering which home would be our new home, we were now really aware that we were moving.

I had so many friends that I lost because of the constant moving.

Shaun was my best friend in middle school.  And I swore I would keep in touch.  He made me do a blood oath on that.


I never wrote him once.

How come?

I was depressed as hell, honestly.

Every day, I thought about the tree house we'd built -- sound and real -- in the woods behind our homes.  I'd think about the little creek back there and all the fun we had.  And I'd think about my new school and how everyone was either mean or indifferent.  I'd think about writing Shaun but then think, "Why?"

To depress him?

To make him feel bad too?

To let him know how lonely and alone I felt?

Didn't seem like the thing to do and by the time 'things got better,' we were moving again.  We were always moving.

And remember the threes?  Three comics, three toys, three this and three that?

A few times my stuff never made it.

I love my parents but they know, to this day, do not make a joke about that.  I have told them repeatedly, if you had to toss my stuff for space, tell me that's what happened.

They swear it never did.  But I can remember three non-consecutive moves where my stuff was the only stuff that was lost.

And the stuff matters because your memories are gone.

I was supposed to marry Courtney, for example.

I was in 8th grade.  And I really loved her.  And she seemed to really love me.  She had a very difficult family life.  And we weren't moving this time, my parents swore.  Why, we'd probably be able to graduate high school (my sister and me) from this same address.  But by the end of eight grade - actually a month before the end, we were moving again.

But for a little while that school year, I was able to pretend  I was like most of the other kids, going to grow up together, going to school together from start to finish, etc.

It's awful to always be the new kid, it really is.

Even when you fit in, you've still got everyone sharing the story about 4th grade or this or that.

I have no idea what the moves this weekend triggered in everyone else, but, above, is some of the stuff it made me think about.

To be the last to leave, the last to be gone,
stolen from the ones who hung on to it.

To be the last in line, the ones that live on,
silhouette of a dream, treasured by the ones 
. . . who hung on to it.
-- "Fireflies," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's Fleetwood Mac Live.

And that's what we're all really thinking about, right?

When does this end?

And how does it end?

I'm referring to Third but you may have thought I meant "life" or something else.  Whatever you thought, think about what that says about you.

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