Moving Days—Part 1
As the idea of another and I hope very final move begins to take shape, my thoughts are drawn back to the whole notion of ‘moving house’ and the disruption, adventure, excitement and exhaustion that such events create. So far the end point of this move remains unknown but there will be one and I’ll probably be living there by the end of this calendar year.
Some families, mostly those associated with the military or similar transient professions, move every few years. My moves have always come in fits and starts. The first big one I do not recall—that was from Missouri to Arizona in early 1946. Actually I’d already lived in three different homes by then and had moved to and from the Boston area and back to Missouri in those few short months. I was not quite three,about 32 months old, when my parents moved to central Arizona. I do not remember that one. We camped in a motel for a few weeks and then found a rental in Jerome.
By my third birthday we were living in a little house on “Sunshine Hill” in Jerome, an old mining town near the geographical center of Arizona. I am sure the household goods came in a moving van for Dad had driven the little black Ford coupe to get there as I have a few photos to verify. There were still some wooden boxes years later which I am sure had made the journey. That was the first home I remember and we stayed there for about seven years. (OMG—about the same time I have lived in my current home!)
|Where it had been...|
In the late fall of 1953, we moved from there down into the Verde Valley and settled in two little square brick ‘company’ houses in Clarkdale. I have vague recollections of that move but not a lot of specifics. I was ten and of course had to help pack boxes and such but somehow it did not seem too significant. We used the gray Jeep pickup and a couple of trailers Dad had built or redone to haul the household goods. It took quite a few trips. Within a few years the little cottage on the hill in Jerome had been lifted from its foundation and hauled away along with most of the neighborhood. I’m not sure where they ended up. We were in the new house by Thanksgiving and had the job completely done a short while before Christmas. Charlie probably celebrated his second birthday in Clarkdale though I am sure he does not recall!
|Clarkdale Home years later|
That was home for what seemed like a very long time. Years feel so much bigger when you are a tween or teen. I left in early September 1966 to start college at Flagstaff and from then on the family home was really no longer mine. They left, due to some unexpected issues, in the late summer of 1967, bouncing around to several temporary camps and then a time in Sacramento, CA before moving to New Mexico in the early fall of 1968. They lived a number of places from then on, most of which I visited, but never considered home for many reasons.
In Flagstaff, I had several “homes”, five dormitory rooms and then an apartment in a big old house on Agassiz Street, just a block from the Santa Fe mainline tracks. From that time on, I have always enjoyed hearing trains, even at close range. I did not have a car any of the four year period when I got two degrees by going to all but one summer session as well as the regular semesters. I simply carried my plunder between rooms in two of the dorms and enlisted help of friends with cars to move my stuff across campus for the first summer session and then when I left the third dorm for the apartment.
In three of the dorm rooms I had roommates and lucked out there to get people I could tolerate who could also put up with me! No roomie-from-hell stories to share. My second full year I had solo rooms, which was both good and bad. I tend to be a bit reclusive in many ways and not sharing a room made it harder to get out and do things. That ended when I moved off campus as I had three roommates in that apartment the next two years. Two of them became long term friends as did one from the dorms.
|Leaving 17 S Agassiz|
Finally my student days were over and I had a job to go to! There was only a weekend between the completion of my graduate studies and my reporting to Fort Huachuca as a brand new civil service employee. I had to jump! I borrowed my roommate’s new car to go take the driving test (until then I had never had a license though permits several times) and the next day rented an Econoline sized van from Ryder to move. By then I had acquired more than a few boxes and a suitcase of ‘stuff’ and I wanted to keep it all. Roomie Carol and I drove from Flagstaff to Sierra Vista and I moved into El Cortez apartments, a one-bedroom unit on the second floor. She took the van back to Flagstaff and I was again afoot for several weeks.
|El Cortez Apt--window in upper floor|
My co-workers were generous in giving me rides and things worked out well enough. I was already used to walking since I had walked hundreds of miles in Flagstaff as I adjusted from a very active outdoor life to a more sedentary one and then carried home groceries and really everything I bought to include a sewing machine—heavy haul for several blocks!—a typewriter and a small desk from Goodwill. After I had received a couple of paychecks, I got bold. I did need wheels! I rented a car and drove to Tucson. My first stop was Jim Click Ford.
They had two brand new-that-year Ford Pintos in the lot—one white and one lime green. The personable young salesman saw me coming. I drove home in the white one with his assurance he would see the rental returned. I guess he did since they never came after me!
It was wonderful to have my own wheels—finally—in October 1970. However, I soon found my princely salary did not stretch as far as I might wish when a car payment was added to my expenses. I moved from the apartment to a more economical mobile home park rental for two months. At least I had a car now to move my possessions although cramming larger items into the Pinto could be a challenge.
Then I discovered rent was much cheaper across the hill in Bisbee. By then I had another roommate so we again put the Pinto to work and hauled my things and a few of hers over to Bisbee. Through that move I had always rented at least semi-furnished places so moving was not the huge chore it could be with a full compliment of furniture and household effects. That turned out to be the last move I was to make on my own for well over thirty years.
|Pinto at Spaghetti Western!|
I rented a two bedroom place in an odd little strip of rentals, the only one vacant at that time. Outside it looked enough like a set for a spaghetti western to make me happy and inside it had all the necessary things except a tub but no shower in the bath. From Clarkdale on I had grown used to showers and was not terribly fond of tub baths. Water and I have never been really compatible. Then too, sitting in water where one’s dirty body had been while you bathed and then got out seemed vaguely unsanitary. I am not a bubble bath gal.
The move to Bisbee proved to be one of those fated or life changing decisions that sometimes happen to mark a sudden stop and shift in your route. Within a year, I had begun a brand new adventure -- being a wife and an instant mother! So the next move was a family one and a big relief since it happened at government expense!
To be continued!