I'll begin at the present. Here I am, Cottonwood, Arizona, two thousand seven hundred miles from the place I grew up in. At the time it seemed to be a long trek. Now looking back it was only a brief moment. As if it occurred in a blink of an eye.
It was October 25th 2000. We threw everything we could into our 1992 Maxium. And when I say threw, I mean it literally! The closing on our house was in a few hours and there we were, still packing and sorting thins out!
Our three dogs, BB, Dustee and Sunny, looked at us as if we lost our minds! We had just only had our beautiful, handmade queen bed removed earlier this morning. It was donated along with two large dressers to the local charity in Asbury Park, NJ.
Now, it's 1:00 PM and the closing begins at 1:15! Brad our next door neighbor drives by and asks if we needed any help! Boy, that was an understatement! Well, Yea! We didn't even think about how one of us were going to get there, since we were still packing! We asked if he could drive one of us to the closing while the other finished loading the car. I stayed behind and with the help of God strapped down our suitcases on top of the car roof. I had never done this before and you know what? I never once had to adjust or tighten them the whole way, pretty amazing if I have to say so myself.
OK, Linda returned from the closing, signed papers in hand. The house was officially sold! But I was still not finished packing. "Come on", she said "we don't own this house anymore, we got to go"! So,franticly we took everything that was left in the house and put it next to the garbage. We couldn't fit anything else in the car and the house was suppose to be empty for the new owners. I know you're wondering, what did we fit into the car? Well, our TV, of course and that took up half of the back seat. We had to have a crate for the two dogs and the third one sitting on top of it. That took up the other half of the back seat. So, in between that we shoved a couple of pillows, got to have them, also what loose clothing we had, a couple of wall pictures, only two of our very best and some snacks for the road. Now, in the trunk, Linda had to have her pots and pans! No discussion about that. We also, thought we would need the TV stand, so that went in there and I think that was pretty much it. Sixteen years of our lives reduced to a packed car filled only with pots and pans, three dogs and a TV!
Alright, where was I? Yes, running around like a chicken with my head cut off. With Linda's help we were out of there in about twenty minutes. I left a twenty dollar bill on the counter with a note to the new owner, explaining all the left over "stuff" and apology for what was left behind. And off we went but we weren't quite finished, yet!
Down to the Post Office was our next stop. A change of address was needed if we wanted our mail to ever get to us. We filled out the forms earlier that our letter carrier had given us and we just needed to drop them off. Easy enough, we thought. I run inside and hand them to the clerk. She looks at them and said "Oh, these are outdated". Outdated! I just got them. She said"I don't think I have any new ones right now, come back tomorrow and fill one out". No way, I said. "I'm leaving this town today, I mean really, right now. She didn't look too concern about my situation but I know she could tell that I was a little upset. So, she tells me "let me see if I can find some somewhere". Well, the clerk next to her can see the frantic look on my face and said " oh, I have a couple of those new forms". Great! I grab the forms, rush out to the car, where Linda's been wondering " where the H-- did you go. It was only suppose to take a couple of minutes and I was gone almost twenty minutes! I tell her the forms we got were wrong and had to fill out new ones. We both said some choice words about the US Post Office. Who hasn't? Anyway, we filled them out and back in I went.The clerk accepted them and with a big smile said "Good-bye".
You would think this would be our only stop but it wasn't. Next we had to return our cable box. We drove to the local cable company all the while I was thinking " I hope there isnt' a line". There always seem to be a line when you're in a hurry. Why is that? Well,there we were driving around Neptune with our car packed from top to bottom with three dogs crying, what a site to see and something that won't easily be forgotten. We made it to the cable office and just in time, they were about to close! And no line! Things are looking up!
We were exhausted. Four o'clock, already. Where did the time go. I thought we would be half way across Penn. by now. Oh, well. How how we stop at McDonald's, I'm starving. Besides we were right there and didn't have to drive so far. A couple of cheeseburgers and a large coffee would be a welcome break and a chance to reflect on the most incredible experience either one of us was having. And What was to still ahead of us.
You must also, be wondering why we waited so long to get things done. Well, I had a business to sell, on top of the house being sold. And that is an undertaking in itself. From juggling the house and the business it was really time consuming. I had only gotten a buyer for the business a week earlier, talk about cutting it close. And I had to stay on and train the new owner. So, between the yard sales and getting the house ready for new owners and all the legal stuff with the business, time was short. But looking back now it is amazing what you can do in a short amount of time. From start to finish it took two months to sell almost everything we had, move out of one home, buy and move in to our new home and sell a business. Not bad!
We drove out of Neptune, New Jersey headed for Cottonwood, Arizona. Two thousand, seven hundred miles of road ahead of us. Our destination would take us to a lot of places and a lot more stories.
Our first stop on this journey? Carlisle,Penn.!
Written by Christine Schimanski