Friday, September 19, 2008

Run Away

In each generation of my family, one of us inherits the itchy feet gene. Not athlete's foot, I'm talking the urge to move. When I was a kid my mother drug me all over creation, just like her own mother did with her and her brothers. My grandmother got it from my great-grandpa. His urge was so strong, he ran away from home at 11, joined the circus, then paid a wino to pose as his father so he could join the army at 13 (he was tall). He fought in WWI, WWII and Korea. He was stationed in Germany, Japan, San Francisco, and Georgia. I wonder if we got it from his mother's side of the family. She was Cherokee Indian.

Roaming is just in our blood and only one of us gets it - the firstborn. Once in control of their own destiny, my aunts and uncles have lived in the same towns doing the same stuff almost their whole lives. As much as I hate the physical process of moving (if hell is custom created, my punishment would be moving every day for eternity) I like to go. I'm not sure if its the urge to run from something or to something. There's only one certainty - the new place, no matter how exciting it sounds, will lose its charm before long and the urge to move will return. Because its not the town or the people. It's us.

We get bored. Bored with where we are and what we're doing. Tired of the people we see from day to day. Disinterested in our lovers and our homes. It's really sad. The American Dream of the family with the 2.3 children, the home in the suburbs and the white picket fence... that's the kind of thing that sends shivers down our spines. We think we should want it, like everyone does, but when we get it, its like a hot, wet blanket thrown over our heads on a humid summer day. We can't breathe. We feel smothered.

The fact that I've stayed in Alabama for 7 years is a triumph. I've only lived in my apartment, my first house, and then my second house in all this time. My mom is only in her second place, so she's lived in her house for over 5 years. I think that's a record for her. Home buying was an exhilarating and frightening experience. For once in my life I actually had something to keep me where I was. A house, a car, more crap than any person can schlep with them. It makes good financial sense. And yet, I hate it. I cannot just up and leave without a huge financial impact. I have a good thing going here. There is absolutely no reason for me to leave. So I do my best to ignore the urges. I stay busy and don't leave myself time to think about it. I travel a lot, so that helps, although I can't help but think about moving to every place I visit.

My mom isn't doing as well. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a call from her one day that said she took Little Sister and moved to Iowa while Stepdad was at work. Moving in the night without telling anyone is our specialty. Anyway, as part of the birthday thing, I told my mother I would take her on vacation to anywhere she wants to go. We settled on Italy. I'm not sure when we'll go, maybe spring 2010. Unfortunately, now mom has Italy on the brain. I was able to squelch her moving to Florida earlier this year, but now she's talking Italy.* ITALY! She's never even been there. She wants some little cottage in the rural countryside where she can get away from all the modern crap we're bombarded with. With all the junk on the news about the election and financial crises, gas prices... I can't say I blame her. I'm not much for goats and churning my own butter, but I could certainly use a simpler lifestyle.

Maybe just a year in Italy. :)

Do you like a change of scene every now and then? Or are you one of those people who are firmly rooted in their home? Is moving to a far away place a dream or a nightmare? What would you like to run away from?


*Update - today she's changed her mind. Now she wants to move to Mazatlan, Mexico. Sigh...


Playground Monitor said...

I lived my first 22 years in the town where I was born except for the time I was away at college. After graduation I got married and my husband's job had us moving all over the southeastern US, often only being someplace for a month or so before heading off to the next audit. Then his dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer and we wanted to be in one place while we waited things out. We happened to be in Huntsville and they let us remain here.

He died 5 months later and not long after that the DH was offered a position in the International Division of his agency. They only took the best of the best, so it was an honor. We had to turn it down because of his family situation. We figured we'd lost the chance at his dream job for good. Fortunately, they offered it again the following spring and in September of 1976 we moved to Frankfurt, Germany. The DH then became an international gypsy and traveled all over Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Lucky me got to go along some of the time.

When it came time to move back to the US, they'd changed the rule that you had to move back to DC. We asked to come back to the Rocket City because we think it's one of the best kept secrets in America. We've been here 28 years this month. Actually, they first offered us the chance to move to Panama to the Central American office. They were even going to throw in a month's paid vacation between Europe and Panama. We said gracias, but no gracias. Oddly enough, the culture shock coming back to the US was harder than moving to Europe.

We had a two-year-old when we moved back (actually today is his 30th birthday and September 19th was the date we flew from Frankfurt to Atlanta - we deliberately waited til his birthday so they'd have to buy him a ticket. The Delta folks were really nice and had a birthday cake for him and the whole business class section sang Happy Birthday to him). We bought our first house within a month of returning, stayed in it for 5 years and then built a new house. We were in it for almost 20 years when the DH got the urge to move. Actually he'd had it for years and I kept changing the subject. Finally I couldn't put it off any more. So 3 years ago we moved 25 miles diagonally across the county. I have to admit it was a good move for us. The house is lower maintenance and the yard is flat instead of the steep lot we had before. It's also all on one level except for the DH's office over the garage.

My next move will be to the nursing home.


Problem Child said...

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but I don't have that gyspy gene at all. DG and I have been in Huntsville 10 years now and I don't see me moving away any time soon.

I do want a bigger house though...that's a move I'm willing to make!

Instigator said...

Hmm, this is a complicated topic for me. From 2nd to 6th grade I changed school every year. It was tough on me - all that moving. I'd get settled somewhere, make friends and we'd move. So I don't like the idea of just leaving behind everything that I have.

But I do get bored and itchy feet. I'd really love to travel much more than I do now. See things I've never seen. Experience things I've never imagined. I'm limited by money, the kids, opportunity...but I think that will change as I (and they) get a little older. Hopefully I'll be able to see all those things and places I want to eventually. But I always want to have my home, family and friends waiting for me when I get back.

SP, you aren't allowed to leave now. We'd miss you too much!!


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Gypsy feet run in my family. I've been in Huntsville for 2 yrs, and I don't yet feel the urge to go. But it'll happen. I'm just going to have to settle for fabulous vacations. Our moving days are over. Though I may move to a different house at some point. :)

Smarty Pants said...

To be honest, if it wasn't for you guys... I'd probably already be gone.

Darling Geek said...

I'd only moved home twice before leaving for college. And one of those moves was a whopping five houses down the road. And I was too young to clearly remember the other one.

But, after college, I moved continents. That has to be worth something.

We've moved two more times since then, and while, as PC said, I do plan to move into a bigger home at some point, I can't foresee ever moving outside of this county (or city for that matter) again.

Then again, to quote a wise (yet fiction) being: Hard to see, the future is.

Kathy said...

What chicanery is this, Yoda? ;)

Argh! A pirate lives a nomad life. Give me the sea, a heady sunrise beaming over that horizon, the taste of new lands, plunder to fill me gullet.

Soldierin' borne me love of adventure. Me father served burning me soul wit all things shiny and new. Met a few kindred souls, I did, in me travels. Found a pirate to match me skills, I did. A soldierin' swob who instilled me virtues of adventure and wanderlust aplenty. Arrr!

See the course I lay? Every three years, me ship needs to sail. Me feet need to tred upon foreign ground, me tongue needs to taste native grog. Aye. What can be done? I'm a pirate wit a pirate's tongue.

I bid you farewell for the nonce!

Playground Monitor said...

After that long discourse about my moves, I forgot to mention that I still love to travel. All I have to pack is a suitcase, not every closet, cabinet and shelf in the house. We seem to take a really big trip about every 5 years -- for our anniversary. For our 30th we went to the Mayan Riviera. Our 35th anniversary trip is a bit delayed; our anniversary was last May but in January we're going to the Netherlands Antilles for some sun and fun.


Sherry W. said...

Until I moved to north Alabama from south Georgia a little over 12 yrs ago, I had always lived within 10 miles of where I was born. Good grief, I could throw a rock in any direction and hit a relative. It was a huge scary step packing up my children and leaving all that was familiar. But it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. We don't plan on moving away, just to a bigger house in the next couple of years. (Hopefully!)
But...I would dearly love to travel. There are so many places I want to see. And Italy is on that list.

SP - let your characters move for you. You can decide where they go, where they live and who they love. You will be there with them but without all the hassle and you won't have to leave all your friends. :D

Anonymous said...

No wandering or itchy feet here. I lived in my hometown of Bessemer for 27 years. Moved to Gardendale & I have lived there 20 years. I have an offer on my home even as I write this & may be outta there by October 1st. If this happens I will be moving to McCalla, near Bessemer, to be near my 3 sisters. Once I make that move, this sister has no more moving plans!!!
ps, have a great weekend everyone.

PM's Mother said...

PM, you stole my line (re next move to nursing home.} That was what I said when I moved from North Carolina to south Georgia.

While I was born in North Carolina (Mother was visiting her parents and I was born prematurely) I spent the first 4 years of my life in Florida, the next 11 years in South Carolina, the next 50 years in North Carolina (not in the same house or town) and now I am planted in south Georgia. That takes care of the south Atlantic coastal states.

My kids (PM and the CPA) were raised to read a road map. That took care of the "Are we there yet" questions. As a family we traveled quite often far and wide in the United States; it wasn't until PM went to Germany that I traveled abroad. Since then I have flown across the "pond" numerous times, especially to England.

There are still a few states in the US that I have not yet visited. Maybe I'll get there before I hit the century mark!

Even with all of the traveling, home looks mighty good when I return.

Next week my traveling companion and I are going on a River Barge trip from St. Louis to Cincinnati...sounds like fun! And restful, too.

Angel said...

I'm definitely a homebody. And after the last move I made, I have no desire to move again until the kids are moved out. Then, at least, I won't have to move all their stuff too. Preferably, I'd like to never move at all, but if we decided to change houses, that would be fine. Since my hubby owns a business here, I don't see me moving away from this city ever.

That said, I love to travel. I would do it more often if not for money and fear of flying issues. But I'm always thankful to be back home.


Linda Winstead Jones said...

When I was first married we moved a lot. Even after the kids were born, we moved every year or two, thanks to the DH's job. We moved back to Huntsville 21 years ago, and I have NO desire to go anywhere else, except for the short vacation now and then. And even with vacations, after a few days I want to come home. I have roots and I like them. :-)


Problem Child said...

When Lynn moves out of her house, I get first dibs on it. (Espeically now that she has that rockin' media room!)

This is really the first place I've ever felt like I had roots, so I'm loving it. I'm glad to hear DG's not harboring any ideas.

And robertsonreads--I know exactly where you are! My dad's business was in Gardendale, my BFF grew up in McCalla, and I used to hit the Bright Star for lunch! (Of course, Gardendale is about three times the size it used to be...)

Playground Monitor said...

I've been to the Bright Star! My DIL's bridesmaid's luncheon was there. She grew up in Bessemer as did her parents. Her dad lives in Gardendale now but her grandma still lives in Bessemer.

It's like old home week now. :-)

Smarty Pants said...

I have no clue about Bessemer, so I'll stay out of that conversation.

You'd think I'd hate to move - I'm terrible at making friends. It takes me forever. I'm not very sociable. I guess I just like the idea of starting fresh. Leaving all the worries behind. Not feeling burdened or tied down. It makes no sense. I wish I could shake it, actually.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I may need to move out now. Hubs and I are arguing about the paint in the media room... *g*

Um, Kathy, you feeling all right? ;)

I looove to travel. SF this year was fun. I could go back and hang out in wine country for much longer than we did.....

Virginia said...

I have lived in my house for 24 years now. I don't have any plans on moving anywhere. I have never moved around alot and now I don't want to.