Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You can never go home again

by Robison Wells

I moved on Saturday. I have been married for nine years, and in that time we have moved nine times. Granted, some of that can be chalked up to very short-term moves, like when we were housesitters for a friend for four months, or when we moved into a one-bedroom apartment for a few months while waiting for something bigger to become available. But, yes, maybe if I paid the rent on time we wouldn't have to keep running from the law.

At the moment we're living at my parent's house. For you readers who haven't heard my sob story before, I recently graduated with my MBA and have been on the job hunt ever since. The BYU housing office kicked us out after graduation (though I've already been getting phone calls from them asking to donate money to my alma mater), but since I don't know where I'll end up getting a job we figured that we shouldn't move into a new place of our own yet. (Which is to say: we have no money, and my parents had some spare room.)

So, all of our stuff is boxed up and sitting in my parents' garage, and we only have the bare essentials inside with us. I'm halfway tempted to burn the garage down and start over, because--holy crap--I didn't realize how much junk we owned until we had to box it all up. There were some boxes that we hadn't opened in the two years we lived at BYU--they'd just sat in the closet. And, when we were loading things into the garage, my dad pointed out the boxes that we'd stored there during our last move--boxes that I'd completely forgotten about. (However, when I mentioned those boxes to my wife, she informed me that she knew they were there and that they were full of VERY IMPORTANT STUFF.) (She's wrong.) (Well, I assume she's wrong. I still haven't looked in the boxes.)

It's weird being back in my home ward. Growing up, there weren't ever very many kids, and the one girl who was my age is also back in the ward and now the Relief Society president. I don't imagine something similar will happen to me. Instead, the Bishop will look at me and say "Hey, aren't you the kid who used to get in trouble for climbing up into the attic? I'd like to talk to you about some great callings available in the nursery."

Really, though, the ward has changed so much that I can hardly recognize it. I grew up going to a cool old chapel, built around the turn of the century (the old turn of the century, not the new one). Just before my mission we were moved to a fancy new boring building, and I don't really think of it as home. Also, almost everyone that I knew has moved, since they were all my age. The only people who I remember there now are so old that they don't remember me.

Likewise, I don't know anyone who now lives on my block. Everyone's moved. (This one isn't really so terrible, since some of the people who used to live on the block were weird.)

But it's still neat. My kids are sleeping in the bedroom that I slept in when I was their age, and during the day they go in my backyard, discovering the same nooks and crannies where I used to play. Of course, if they're really like me then they'll steal a neighbor's ladder to climb up on the garage, or fill the basement stairway with dirt so it will look more like a haunted house, or cut the phone cord just because they happen to be standing next to it with a pair of scissors and it seems like something interesting to do. Or--

Well, maybe I'd better go check on the kids. See you next week.


At 6/02/2009 7:26 PM, Blogger Micah Bruner said...

If you need a job, I have a very interesting opportunity where you could be your own boss and make $47million a month!!

At 6/02/2009 9:23 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

That has got to be a rather trippy, time-warpy experience. With any luck, you'll soon be in your own place, and even those mystery boxes will be unpacked.

At 6/02/2009 10:50 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Rob, enjoy this time and let your parents enjoy their grandkids. You'll land a great job soon and be on your way again, family in tow.

At 6/03/2009 2:43 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

That "nursery" calling part almost killed me! Ha ha ha ha ha!

I'm crossin' my fingers for your new job and glad that your kids are experiencing your childhood world. =]

At 6/03/2009 9:21 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I remember being away from home for a couple of years, then coming back and it all seemed so different (and smaller).

At 6/03/2009 2:01 PM, Blogger One Cluttered Brain said...

Hope you can find a job soon. going back to the house where you grew up--kinda cool but alittle trippy. hope you can ger a place of your own soon!

At 6/03/2009 2:03 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

If they're anything like you, yeah, go check on them.

At 6/03/2009 9:33 PM, Blogger Allison Hill said...

or drive the wheelchair through the sliding glass door, or throw all the rotten apricots at the garage as hard as they can to see if it will stick, or get stuck in the 2 inches of space between the garage and the fence because they were playing ewoks.

At 6/04/2009 2:15 PM, Blogger Heather Justesen said...

I hear you. My husband and I have been married 10--almost 11--years and we've moved 12 times. And we lived in one place for four years. I still have boxes that haven't been opened in the past 5 moves (or more), but I'm sure they have VERY IMPORTANT STUFF in them, so I can't just toss them without digging through them first, which is going to happen... sometime in the next decade...or two.

Returning to my parent's home for a few months between houses was interesting. I hadn't lived there for twelve years and I remember sitting in church and poking my sister and asking for the name of the guy sitting in the front row. I knew he lived across the street and down a house. I could recognize his voice across a room with my back turned to him, but couldn't for the life of me remember his name. Unfortunately, this was a very common thing the first...two years I lived in my hometown.

Now I just smile and greet people as if I remember every conversation we ever had fifteen years ago and have no trouble recalling their name--and hope someone will come over and mention their name before I make a huge fool of myself.


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