The story of our moving day from country living to city living is featured in Trading Lives. I think I was twelve when my parents made their very happy decision to move back to the place where they belonged. I kind of had to go with them, but I had built friendships and expectations on the next school year. As a kid you go where the folks go and make the best of the new until it becomes your normal.
|Washington, IL: Family Picnic|
When we were just a couple of weeks out from moving for good, my dad loaded me up with our Rat Terrier, Bluto, a few of our household and personal goods in the car and headed to Missouri.
Before we left Washington and sorry in advance for "too much information", my stomach began to hurt. I think I was nervous about traveling to Missouri, with my dad who really didn't talk to me much and staying with my grandma and cousins without my mom. At one point, I begged my mother to give me a laxative because I had not had a BM in a while. She did NOT want to do this, but I pleaded and won, if you call it winning.
The last hour before we landed in our tiny hometown, I was ready to explode. The first place we stopped was at our neighbors house. They owned one of the country stores and ran the post office. I stayed in their one bathroom so long that both Dad and the woman of the house knocked on the door, at separate times, asking me if I was okay. Of course, when I exited the bathroom there was some teasing, and I was embarrassed.
Our little Rat Terrier, Bluto, was a mighty dog, rarely
afraid of much. He was a bit energetic so the long distance car trip was not his favorite thing to do. Along the way, he became...gassy. This was not fun for the humans, but it did make my dad (who NEVER wanted to stop and stretch) stop so that Bluto could take care of business, as needed.
As a child, anytime I stayed all night with anyone other than home, I missed my mom terribly. Until my parents, two siblings and a truckload of furniture and things arrived at our house, I would be staying with my grandma. Staying with my Grandma Sadie and the three cousins was fun, but I was so homesick for my mom. They were so excited to have me stay and spend time with them that I told no one of missing my mom.
My Uncle Charles, his wife Glenda and their children lived with my grandma and ran the farm. My uncle was leaving the army when my granddad died of a heart attack. Grandma couldn't run a farm on her own so Charles moved in. Later he would marry Aunt Glenda and their five children would grow up there. My youngest cousin was actually a couple of months older than my son.
Ultimately, my family moved back into our farmhouse, near both sides of our family. Bluto got to explore wherever he wanted--a much better life than in the city. Throughout the years, I felt sad for kids who did not live near grandparents and cousins. I understood the gift I'd been given. Not all family members are people you want to live near, but living near the "roots" of your family gives a glimpse into your own identity. A cool thing.