Almost four years ago now, my partner (now husband) and I found ourselves in the unenviable position of moving to the East Coast. For us, the timing of the move was not something we had expected. In fact it was years sooner than his ex and him had agreed when they split. He woke to a phone call on what should have been a visitation day with the oldest from their maternal grandpa, “your kids are no longer in the state, they are in Connecticut now.”
No warning, no goodbye, nothing.
The youngest was seven months old and the oldest wasn’t even three.
He was devastated.
For a year he traveled across the country every month or two in order spend time with his kids. He knew that with each passing day he was missing time that he would never get back. So much sooner than anticipated we found ourselves packing everything we owned into the truck and heading East.
The morning of our departure we woke early and shuffled around town getting last minute supplies for our trip. I took the time to say goodbye to my little town nestled in the redwoods. A place I have lived all my life. A place I never thought I would leave. See what you get for thinking?
Our dogs knew something was up. Honey was on high alert, she had been abandoned many times in her life. She knew all the warning signs and we did our best to assure her that she was indeed coming with us. When we had gotten everything loaded in the back seat the pile was only two feet from the ceiling of the truck. That didn’t matter to Honey, she promptly climbed the pile and squeezed herself on top. “I’m going too!” Her message was clear.
Realizing that we needed to free up some space we stopped by my parents to reorganize, package and mail some stuff that we wouldn’t need for the trip. I found out a little later that we had slightly different definitions of the word ‘need.’ I spent the last few minutes with my family while the reorganizing dervish did his thing.
In the end he was able to free up some head room for the girls and we began our greatest adventure.
Whether out of obstinance, stupidity or a combination of the two we decided to head North first. We did not plan a route cross country and just took each day as it came. Unwilling to just head East we started up the coast toward San Francisco as we crested the hill overlooking The City my love looked down at my feet for what I thought was a long time. Looking up he said:
“Good, you are wearing sneakers”
Why would he say that? I wondered, then realizing I should probably get clarification I asked hesitantly:
“Because I mailed all our shoes to my parents in NY (upstate.)”
“All of them?!”
I was not entirely sure how to react. I know he was trying to free up space and we had not packed anything but the essentials but still ALL OF THEM? Oh well, I had on my most comfortable pair so I let it go.
That act pretty much set the tone for the next few years, we always have just enough, few if any options but we make the best of it. What else is there to do?
As the sun set of the last day we lived in California I found myself happy in my disheveled state. We had our dogs, most of the stuff we needed, a full tank of gas and each other. Most importantly with each passing day we were that much closer to the boys. Who could ask for anything more?
In fact, things were going so well we let Pele take the wheel for a while.
If anyone likes this one I will continue with Part II of Eastward Ho: Weed (the place,) Crater Lake and keeping Portland weird.
Let me know and be well!