In less than a month, I will have lived in Germany for ten years. So often time seems to fly by, but when I think about those last months in the U.S. of A. . . .
- when I unabashedly (although involuntarily) wept in front of my students, their parents, and my fellow teachers…boy, was I a mess! (I HATE crying in front of people because my nose and eyes get all red; so unattractive.) I guess I really was sad to be leaving them.
- when we organized our first and (so far) last yard sale on our lovely log cabin’s screened-in porch, and I, in a desperate attempt to get rid of most of our belongings, sold everything at the 1982 prices I seemed to recall from my parents’ yard sales…(I mean, where do you buy ANYthing for a quarter these days? That was probably my average price. I think I was a bit loco at that stage of our moving process. At least we had happy customers!)
- when my most handy of husbands built a crate that was approximately a cubic meter in size (3x3x4 feet), and we crammed all of our most treasured possessions into said scrawny quarters for a long journey over the Atlantic without us. Dear friend, Lash, joined my Angelo in putting his back into the effort to haul it out on a pitiful pallet hand-truck, down a long and bumpy driveway, then down an even longer and bumpier alley, and onto a delivery truck waiting at the main road–with a less than spectacular freight lift up to the trailer. (I’m sure our sweet landlords were grateful when it finally left their garage. They were so generous to us, Cade who spoke beautifully slow Southern and offered her citrus-tinged sweet tea, and Tom all white haired with a knowing twinkle in his eye. After working with my dear husband on building the screened-in porch out back of their treasured, two-century-old log cabin, Tom commented on how Ange might make some mistakes, but he always figured out how to fix them. I loved the delicate Forget-me-nots sprinkled amongst Cade’s blooms; they were so special to her, something from her father once-upon-a-time. They hosted a group of 20-somethings for a Bible study in their refined, pink parlor, and one evening–after some heated debate–Tom told us, “I knew better than to get involved with your generation.” That same parlor hosted our families as we gathered for a pre-wedding time of prayer and blessing. My sister-in-law-best-friend-Maid-of-Honor, Rose, and I slept in their guest bedroom the night before the hot July wedding, and the first wedding pictures of the day were taken on their staircase and in their garden. What blessings, Tom and Cade. They even let Ange sleep in their basement when he came to visit me. And, lo and behold, there he stayed until we married and he moved into that fantastic cabin with me.)
- when every single nook and cranny of my “Lily” white car became the home to every other single thing we had to take with us that didn’t fit in the crate. And Ange and I drove around 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) from our first home in Asheville’s gentle mountains to visit all the relatives and friends we could manage to see before flying across the ocean for who knew how long for who knew what reasons. It was a grand road trip fueled by Wendy’s Frosties (unavailable in Germany) and surely worthy of Steinbeck’s treatment. From Florida’s Spanish Moss panhandle, up along the East Coast to the rainbow houses along Charleston’s shore, with a special detour on the ferry out to the sliver of an island called Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to D.C. to chill with one of our favorite friends who happened to be studying one of my least favorite things at the time (parasites!), and up to NY to sample the lush green and waterfalls and good food of Graham & Amy’s Cornell. Then we veered left to go back to our roots, mine not so distant, Ange’s folks’ further back. The midwest, heartland, breadbasket, flat, boring-to-drive-through-unless there’s a thunderstorm or sunrise/set prairies with their amber waves. More precious time with family. We put in a hardwood floor there. And we journeyed out to the rugged Colorado Rockies for a camping adventure with my folks where Ange caught fish for us to eat around the campfire. Oh, there was much more! A wedding! Chicago swing dancing and jazz! Singing along to “Puff, the Magic Dragon” with Peter, Paul & Mary (musical childhood memories) in concert! Hugging all my grandparents! Reminiscing with my Eddy B gals from college! Before we left, people warned us that a lengthy road trip might be rough on a young marriage–stuck in the car mile after mile with the same person. No problem. And, although we honestly did not see the irony, appropriately, we read Leon Uris’s hefty novel, Exodus, as we drove.
- when we wound up back East in Philly at Angelo’s brother & sister-in-law’s place, we discovered we didn’t even have room in our flight luggage for what we still had in tow. So a box we’ve never retrieved stayed there, and we soon found ourselves in a NY airport on 9/11, two years after the horrific events had occured. It was a quiet day to travel.
In less than a month, I will have lived in Germany for ten years. So often time seems to fly by, but when I think about those last months in the U.S. of A. … Well, right now those memories seem like an age rather than a decade ago. I suppose it’s because I’ve experienced so many different things since then; in a way, I changed worlds, and in the process, I think this new world–the “Old World”–has changed me, for better and for worse.