Archive for the ‘moving’ Tag

The Benefits of Moving   2 comments

While I have no desire to repeat a move at this time in my life, because we did that eight years ago and I still remember how much work it was and what an upheaval it was, there is something to be said for moving on a regular basis when you’re a child.

My parents were obviously the ones who carried the load of all the logistics and planning.  But they were very good at framing the move as an adventure for our family. So that’s the way I saw it as a child.

And here, in no particular order, are my favorite things about moving often.

1. I got to live in many interesting and beautiful, sometimes wild, places.

2. Because we lived in different places, we got to go to a wide variety of vacation spots that were in driving distance of where we lived.  When we lived in Montana, we went camping in Montana and Wyoming.  I got to see Yellowstone and Hebgen Lake.  I went to Girl Scout camp near Red Lodge, up in the mountains.  We could take the train to Minnesota to spend Christmas with my father’s family.  Then when we moved to Oklahoma, we took in lots of Texas, Arkansas, and beautiful New Mexico (and did I mention more of Texas?  There’s a lot of it to take in.  And a side trip in 1983 to Ciudad Juarez.)  And when we lived in Alaska?  Well–I got to see Alaska.  What more can you say about that?

3. I learned how to make friends in new places.

4. Once you’ve lived all over the country, you know people all over the country. So when I travel, or if I need help when I’m away from home, I just might be near someone who can help me out.

5. Lots of Christmas cards.

6. I got to know a wide variety of people whom I would not have come to know had I stayed in one place and gotten insular there.  It’s easy to just stick with what you know in your day-to-day life, and in who you spend time with.  Moving thus gives you exposure to all kinds of interesting folks.

7. There is a bond amongst family members since you are with each other and for each other through all the changes.  You become, in essence, each other’s closest friends.  And these are friends who are not left behind when you move again.

8. When you are the new person, you learn what it is like, and this gives you motivation to welcome new people in.  When you have an awareness of what it means to be made welcome, you draw others in and you become a force for good.

Posted November 17, 2014 by swanatbagend in transitions

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Laura and Me   3 comments

When I listened to my weather radio this morning I learned that the record low for our city was set in 1876.  Laura was nine years old when that record was set.

Why do I even know that?

I happen to have been born 100 years after she was, and so in any given year I can easily remember her age.

When I discovered I was almost exactly 100 years younger than Laura Ingalls Wilder, it added to the kinship I felt with her and her family.

For one thing, my father also looked like Abe Lincoln, was born in a log cabin, and had itchy feet.  And to me it appeared that he could either fix or make anything we needed.  A child of the Great Depression, he knew how to make do. The best illustration of this came on our move from Colorado to Oklahoma.  The engine of our bright red VW camper died and left us on the side of the road in hot, empty eastern Colorado.  It appeared some small part in the engine had broken.  My father had a package of Black Cat firecrackers stowed in the glove box (why no idea), and he inserted one into the gap, and got the van running again.  We’d drive anywhere from two to ten miles and the firecracker would burn up.  Stop.  Open engine compartment.  Insert new firecracker.  Repeat.

My family moved all over the west when I was a child, in search of I’m not sure what, but this helped give the four of us the bond that can only come from helping each other walk through being the new people in a new place multiple times.  My brother and I lived with a father who was ever ready for a new adventure in a new part of the country, while his wife would have been more inclined to stay where society (musical, literary, church and political) was established.  Ma Ingalls only put her foot down one time when Pa wished to go further west again,  but my mother expressed her frustration in a different way.

We had recently moved to Colorado, where my father had started work at the Denver Service Center for the National Park Service.  My parents were in the process of buying the first house that was their own, not government issue, when my father saw a posting for a Coast Guard job in Juneau, Alaska.  Doubting he would be properly qualified, he applied anyway.  We had been in our lovely new house with blue wall to wall carpet and a pool table in the basement for merely weeks, when he called my mother with the fantastic news.

He had the job!

Mom was so mad, she hung up on him.  That did not stop us from moving to Alaska, however.

Another way in which I identified with Laura was in the love of words and books we shared.  I liked the way she thought through difficulties and questions.  I resonated with her fear of being the new girl at school and all those unknowns.

It goes without saying that I read her books innumerable times.  Which is my favorite?  Hard to say.

I read The Long Winter and emerge with Laura once again into spring, lettuce and new peas in the garden, after twisting hay to burn for fuel most of the winter.  I read On the Banks of Plum Creek and rejoice when Nellie gets her comeuppance via leeches.   I read Little House in the Big Woods and hear “Now is now. It can never be a long time ago.” It sets the strings of the past reverberating in my heart.

But my past or hers?  Somehow, a bit of both.