While we were taking our walk yesterday, Cliff and I got to comparing notes about how often our families moved when we were kids. Cliff likes to say that his parents moved every time the rent came due, but I don't think it was quite that bad.
The worst thing about moving, when you're a child, is going to a new school. Cliff decided it might be a good thing, in a way, because maybe a kid learns to adapt to new situations.
"I learned to adapt, all right," I said. "I just ignored everybody and kept to myself."
My parents were telephone operators in Villisca, Iowa, for awhile. I have sharp memories of things that happened in the house there, but I don't remember attending school. Perhaps I was too young. There are no pictures from there.
There was a time when we moved to Harlem, in Kansas City, but didn't stay long. That's when somebody decided I should be advanced a grade. It was horrible, mainly because the math was beyond my comprehension. Here's a strange thing: I don't remember a house associated with this brief stay in the city; maybe we stayed with one of my uncles.
Another time we moved to the Kansas City area and lived in Riverside, up on a hill in a basement house where the block walls were always damp. The only thing I liked about that place was that I could see the Riverside drive-in theater from our yard. It didn't take me long to figure out that movies aren't very interesting if you can't hear what's being said. I walked up the road to a school where I never got to know a single kid. The only thing I remember about that school is the lunchbox my mom got me, and the hot cocoa she sent in my thermos.
Daddy worked as a hired man on a farm near Eagleville after the phone company went modern. Words can't begin to describe how much I loved living on that farm.
Our final move to Kansas City took us first to a tiny apartment in a building that had once been a grocery store. Two uncles and their families lived in the downstairs apartments. There was one bathroom for the occupants of four apartments, a bathroom that had only a stool and a sink. There was no tub or shower available to us; we'd never had one before, so I guess it was no big deal. We had running water there for the first time. Cold running water, no hot.
Next we moved a couple of blocks down the street to a two-story rental house that I think might have had running water, but no bathroom.
And then my parents became home owners for the very first time and moved across the road. Now we had all the amenities: hot water, a bathtub, you name it. That's where we lived when I took the picture that's in the previous entry of my mom talking on the phone.
Now, at some point in those Kansas City years, we lived in a dumpy little rental house on Antioch Road, but I don't know where that fits in. I remember really liking Tab Hunter and Elvis, when we lived there; I must have been thirteen.
Notice how the house next door looks just like ours.
I never made another move with my parents; they moved to Blue Springs because of my dad's job, and I moved to an apartment by myself until shortly before I married Cliff. Since we got together, we've moved a total of six times; one of those moves simply bounced us right back to this place, which we've owned since 1975.
We had our fill of moving before we ever met one another.
I only wish I had thought to ask Mother before she died why we so often relocated to places where we hardly stayed long enough to change the address at the post office.