A couple of days ago I was talking my regular morning walk when I passed a young man loading a U-Haul trailer. Not an unusual site in an apartment complex parking lot. People are always moving in or out. I suppose I made more of a mental note about it because it was the middle of the month and that, although still not unusual, is less usual that it would have been two weeks later. Maybe that’s why my brain went into overtime thinking of moves I’ve made over the years.
There are some people who have never moved. I know at least one family where at least one offspring has lived in the same house through what it now the fourth generation. And there others I know who have moved multiple times in a year, one particular other who moved three times in one particular year. I think I fall neatly in the middle. In my first six years of adult life I had six different addresses. In the next thirty I had one. (Actually, let’s call it one and a half as I maintained a small apartment on the opposite side of the state to lessen what would have otherwise been a killer commute. But that’s a story for a different post. I’ll make a note of it.) Since then I have moved along through two additional addresses. If you are one of the ones who have never moved, I’m not so sure I can say you’re one of the lucky ones. Moving can be an adventure and some adventures are pretty – umm, adventurous. If you’re one of the ones who has moved and it has never involved a drive it yourself truck or pull it yourself trailer, then indeed you are one of the lucky ones!
My first couple of moves were easily handled by the back seat and trunk of my car. Granted that car was a 1976 Monte Carlo that had more interior room than some of today’s trucks have cargo volume. The trunk swallowed a console television set with room, lots of room to spare, as long as I didn’t mind barreling down the highway with the trunk lid raised. I believe it was move #3 that was the first to require a more traditional heavy hauler, in the form of a small boxy U-Haul trailer tacked onto the rear bumper of the Monte Carlo’s successor, a shiny white Thunderbird that had oodles of amenities but barely enough room in its trunk for a decent early 80s stereo. These were all simple, “get from one side of town to the other” type moves that barely registered to the neighbors that somebody was moving in or out. Not the type where a large truck with a crew of uniformed workmen ready to pack, lift, and carry any and everything put in front of them. That will be coming. But not yet.
The next move was the first that involved a truck. A big truck, smaller than a full blown moving van but bigger than a standard cargo van type truck. But no packers. No lifters or loaders. No drivers. Just a big truck. And me. And the then Mrs. And a dog. So, me. Now this trip involved a move! A cross country move. Well, a cross half country move, from Pennsylvania to central Texas. One thousand four hundred miles over three days. Me in the truck with nearly everything we owned. The then Mrs. and the dog in the brand new red T-Bird Turbo coupe with the snack bag. This was pre-cell phone days. The only way to communicate on the road was with walkie talkies or CB radios. We opted for the CB set-ups, anticipating being always in contact with each other, coordinating rest stops, food stops, and sleep stops. In reality, the only times on day one we were within range of each other were during the radio check in front of soon to be former residence and at the pre-determined first night stop, a Days Inn, 480 miles west and 150 minutes behind schedule. And so it went for the next 4 days. Yes, we modified our planned daily mileage and driving times significantly, swapping 300 miles a day for 5 days into the place of the definitely overachieving initial plan of 500 miles over 3 days.
It was a few years after then that time came to move back in the other direction, and remembering the joys of the earlier trip across half of the country, I opted for the fullest of full services available. We didn’t even have to lift a tape gun to seal any of boxes that we didn’t fill. The most strenuous thing I did for that move was sign a check. Everything was packed, loaded, and hauled 1400 miles east without any work done by yours very truly. Everything. Including the bag of garbage sitting beside the garage door waiting to be carried to curb upon our departure.
The moves since then were of a hybrid nature. I packed and unpacked and the stuff in the middle was handled by a small crew of professionals and real moving vans. Not as many good stories came from those moves, no stories at all I think. That was okay with me. I had plenty to talk about from other more eventful moves, even if there were half a lifetime ago.
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