A Family Lost

A Family Lost

 

Courtesy Wikimedia.com Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic

Courtesy Wikimedia.com Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic

Have you always known where you lived? If you haven’t, it can be maddening—especially with a car full of toddlers.

We moved a lot in the sixties. Coporate families were transferred like military families. IBM employees said, “We work for I’ve Been Moved.” One transferred wife told me, “I’m not going house hunting again. I told my husband, “Just buy anything with three bedrooms and a dishwasher.”

From Bradford PA, where snow fell on Memorial Day, we moved to Raleigh, NC in July. Azaleas and tall pines bordered our red brick ranch on a leafy green street. Our house looked just like all the others in the neighborhood.

So, after the movers left, I packed up the children in the VW Beetle with no air conditioning, (who needed it in Bradford?) and off we went to the supermarket.

The temperature reached 100 as I loaded the groceries into the back pouch of the Beetle. The kids didn’t complain—they seemed shell shocked. We meandered home along curving, hilly streets with small properties bordered by azaleas and tall pines. Around and around I drove, car windows open to the fetid humidity.

“Are we almost there?” asked daughter Martha, 4.

“I’m hungry,” said son Gordon, 3.

“Hot,” from 16-month old Ellen.

“We’re nearly there,” I said, passing red  brick ranches with green lawns edged by azaleas and tall pines.

“How many minutes?” Martha asked.

“I’m hungry,” Gordon said.

“Juice,” from Ellen.

At noon I found a patch of shade, parked, and opened a box of cookies. Poured warm lemonade from the cardboard carton into paper cups. Fortified, the children quieted. Strengthened, I finally remembered that our red brick ranch had a  dogwood beside the front door.

I told myself I’d never sit back again while someone else drove, and not pay attention to where we were going.

 

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