My Final Move

Have you moved lately? If so, you have my complete sympathy. I detest moving and my intention is never to do it again–with the one major exception I’ll talk about further down the page.

As the child of a Baptist minister, I lived in a variety of places growing up:

  • Hollywood, Florida (six months)
  • Farmville, Virginia (eight years)
  • Durham, North Carolina (three-and-a-half years)
  • Norfolk, Virginia (six years)
  • Cumberland, Maryland (four years)

I was too young to know what was happening when we moved from Hollywood to Farmville, but the emotional trauma of the move from Farmville to Durham was tremendous. I’d never had any reason to think I wouldn’t live in Farmville forever. Our other moves were more positive, thank goodness, but I became increasingly responsible for packing my own things. And helping with other packing as well.

After college graduation,  however, I was on my own. Moving was largely a matter of choice. I’ve spent my adult years in:

  • Cambridge, Maryland — eight years
  • Easton, Maryland — six years
  • Richmond, Virginia — thirty-one years

The trauma may have been less, but the physical demands of moving were horrible for someone as lacking in physical strength as I am.

When I moved to Cambridge to teach, I roomed for a while in a guest house, where I didn’t need a lot of stuff. Then I moved into an apartment with a fellow teacher, found a different apartment the following summer when my roommate returned to Pennsylvania, and then found a nifty third floor apartment that fall.

Third floor?

By then I had a lot more stuff than I’d had when I first moved to Cambridge, and bringing groceries upstairs exercised me in ways I would’ve preferred avoiding. I would’ve stayed in that apartment years longer had my landlord not decided to let his grown daughter have my place.

I needed another apartment. Pronto. And not only did I have more furniture to move, I’d bought a small piano months earlier. You should’ve seen them delivering that to the third floor. Getting it back down the steps was even more challenging because it was up to me and my friends to do it.

I was able to take over a suitable apartment from teacher friends who were moving, too. I had a first floor place this time. But boy! did those space heaters not do an adequate job of keeping things warm. My wife and I accumulated more and more stuff.

Then she and I bought our first house–a real fixer at $15,000. Fortunately, we only needed to move a few blocks. I’ll never forget strapping the drier to a dolly and pulling it behind the pickup truck–very, very slowly.

By the time we moved to Easton, where we’d bought a new mobile home, we had more furniture and other stuff than ever. That was about a seventeen mile move. Distance didn’t really matter, though. When moving, it’s necessary to pack just as carefully for a short trip as for a long one.

And that’s just the beginning of the history of my moves. Our longest one was from Easton to Richmond. Between then–1984–and our separation in 2001, we lived in an apartment, a townhouse, and finally an actual house again. A new one that was all ours.

I bought a new mobile home. That’s where Kathleen and I live today, fourteen years later. Unless you’ve been doing the math, you may not have noticed that I’ve not only lived in Richmond longer than in any other place, but I’ve lived in my current home longer than I’d ever lived in any single residence. I love stability!

If you’ve ever moved–most people have–you know what a pain it is. That’s why I’m determined to stay here the rest of my life. If I should ever have to go to a nursing home, I’ll probably be too feeble-minded to care, especially since it would happen without any physical effort on my part.

But I do have one final move coming up. A very final one. And it’s one I’m actually looking forward to. Let me tell you about it with a stanza from one of my original songs:

Heaven is the home of God; He shares it with believers,
Though movin’ there takes a lifetime to do.
I cannot claim to tell you just where Heaven is located,
But day by day, I long to see it more.

I hope I’ll see each of you there when the time comes. How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,
Roger

The “Good Old Days” That Weren’t

r1958-2    t-r1963    Flatlanders

If I recall correctly from the days of my youth, one of the things we hated most about older people was the way they talked about “the good old days.” Especially the days when they were our age.

Well, not me. I wasn’t thrilled with that time in my life.

As a Preacher’s Kid who didn’t know that moving came with the territory until my father announced his resignation at the end of the worship service one Sunday, I was miserable. I was eight years old at the time, and that’s one of the only times I remember crying as a child. I didn’t want to leave the town we were living in.

So I unconsciously decided to hate the city we moved to. I don’t recall a whole lot about that place. Not a whole lot good, anyhow. I gained a lot of weight—I remember weighing 148 in the sixth grade and having people at church talk about what a cute little fat kid I was.  Although I had friends in the neighborhood, we weren’t close in a permanent kind of way.

My parents were so concerned about my misery that they fully supported my becoming a safety patrolman. Whether that brought me out of my shell any further, I couldn’t say.

So when we moved to another city, it was such a relief from the one I’d hated so much that I was bound to like it better.  But lo and behold, the mayor prevented schools from opening on time in his resistance to integration. I don’t know how many Saturdays we had to attend school to make up for lost time, but I resented it—and Mayor Duckworth, whom I considered not to be worth a duck.

During my eighth grade year, I came down with acute viral encephalitis and was in a coma for several days. Although I survived and was not left a vegetable as the doctors feared I might be, my recovery took forever and left me without nearly as much stamina as I’d had before.

As the son of the Preacher, I often felt like I was left out of things. The kids at church were nice enough, but I didn’t really feel close to them. I was starting to like girls then but shy about admitting it. I dated very little, but enjoyed hours of telephone conversations.

Things changed when I bought my first guitar in the fall of 1962 and started learning to play. That was during what I refer to as “the folk fad of the sixties,” and I ended up forming a trio with two other guys from church. That was fun, but they had girlfriends and I didn’t.

After graduating from high school in 1964, my parents and I moved to another state. No more trio. No more youth.

Life is so much nicer now. I’m happily married, healthy in spite of the number of medicines it takes to keep me that way, and very involved in church activities. Not to mention having become a published novelist who retired at sixty-two to write full-time.

Other older folks are free to talk about the good old days if they want to, but I’m happier with my life now than I ever was before.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,
Roger