Imagining and anticipating

Near the end of the summer of 1974 we loaded our household into the back of a half ton pickup and then loaded the pickup into the box of a two ton truck. Two of us took turns driving the big truck to Mankato, Minnesota. The morning after we arrived, we unloaded the pickup and I drove it into Chicago where I unloaded its contents into a storage area in the basement of the apartment building where we were going to live. I got to see an apartment in the building, but it wasn’t the one into which we were moving. It wouldn’t be available for another week or so. Then I headed back to Mankato with the pickup. During the day and a half that I was away the truck had been loaded with the household goods of a new employee of my father’s business. I drove the truck back to Montana with their possessions. It was the start of a grand adventure for us.

The next phase was for us to load our clothing and a few other personal items into our little car and head out to Chicago. I had a gas station credit card and a bit of our summer earnings in my wallet. These were in the days of the 55 mph national speed limit and our car had a range of around 150 miles on a tank of gas, so we’d stop every three hours and stretch our legs. We stayed with relatives in North Dakota and Minnesota on our way to Chicago and started each day early. I’ll never forget the feeling of driving into Chicago. As the traffic increased so did our excitement about moving to a new place. Although I had made the trip with our things, I had not had any time to explore the city and I didn’t even know my way around the campus of the University of Chicago, where we would live.

Our apartment had been assigned to us by the housing office of the seminary. In those days it was expected that all seminary students would be resident students for at least three years. So there was no need to search for a place to live. The seminary had a dormitory for single students and an apartment building for married students. It had a preschool for young children and parents of older children had access to a nearby school of the Chicago Public School system of the University’s private lab school.

We settled into our apartment. We didn’t have many possessions and the apartment was furnished. The only piece of furniture we had was a desk. We unpacked our kitchen items, filled up the closet in the bedroom and set up our typewriter on the desk. We had two kitchen appliances: a coffee maker and a popcorn popper.

Moving is much more complex for us more than four decades later. We own quite a few more possessions. And we don’t have a housing office to assign us an apartment. We’ve been looking at potential rental homes on the Internet and we’ve driven by a few of them, but we have to get the timing right. We don’t want to have to pay rent before we actually arrive, so we are juggling the schedule of our move with the autumn weather. We don’t have the same kind of deadlines that we had in our student days, but we would like to be settled before the weather turns bad in the high country. There are five mountain passes between our home in South Dakota and our new home. We’d like to go over them on dry roads if possible.

We won’t be borrowing a truck from my father for the trip. The rental truck has to be reserved and the trip needs to be made within the time guidelines of the company that owns it. There is a fair amount of logistics to work out, including the simple fact that it is hard to estimate how big of a truck we will need.

Still, there is an excitement about planning a move to a new home and a new phase of our life that is familiar. We lived in Chicago for four years and then moved to North Dakota. After seven years we moved to Idaho, where we lived for ten. We’ve lived in South Dakota for twenty-five years, so it has been a while since we have packed up our household.

Some of the process, however, is the same as it was when we moved to Chicago. We have to decide what to take and what to leave behind. We have a limited amount of space to load our things and we have a deadline, though this year’s deadline isn’t as rigid as the first day of classes in a formal school. We’ll probably plan to move into our new to us place on or around the first of a month, so we’ll have a specific date on a lease when we move. Our original plan had been to move our things to a storage unit and live in our camper while we searched for a place to rent, but it appears that it is easier to rent a house than a storage unit. The rental storage units all seem to have waiting lists and are uncertain when they will be available. In these uncertain times it seems that there are a lot of families on the move. And it is likely that we aren’t the only ones who have collected more possessions than we need.

Every move has a time of planning and imagining. We don’t know exactly where we will live. We haven’t selected a house yet. We have a sense of the general neighborhood where we want to rent and we’ve even looked at some homes that we might consider purchasing. But the market changes every week and the specific homes that are available will be different a month from now when we hope to be close to signing a lease.

This is a season of anticipation and imagination as we wonder “what if?” Soon it will be a season of reality as we begin to feel “Here we go!” Fortunately we know that when we finally open the door to our new home we will be together to share yet another adventure.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!