We are short timers here in Vermillion: we constantly talk about our upcoming move, we lose many hours researching real estate websites for our next home, and while empty boxes pile up in the garage, we are loathe to buy furniture or books or cotton balls or anything that might unduly over-burden our U-haul. And then some well-meaning person or calendar or medical school administrator points out that we’re not moving for eleven months.
So, maybe we’re a little premature in our excitement. There’s still lots of enjoyment to be wrung from our little prairie town. We’re in another community theatre production (Thornton Wilder’s Our Town), Adelaide is having a great summer going to the park and the pool, and, in a few weeks, medical school is finally going to get a little easier. What’s the rush? Why is it that the walls of our flat seem to be creeping inward? Why do our routine walks around the town seem so routine? Because it’s moving time.
Moving trucks, over-burdened pickups, and sedans with mattresses lashed to the roof drive by our house every day. The town is filled with “For Rent” signs. Friends of ours have graduated and moved on to bigger (or smaller) and better (or worse) things (or their parent’s house). Adelaide and I attended a lavish going-away party for some faculty friends who’ve finally landed their First Real Job (My FRJ will arrive circa 2013. I will be 35. There’s absolutely no reason to be depressed about this.) and are moving to Kentucky. We wore funny hats (apparently like they do in Kentucky), made the kids compete in a somewhat punitive obstacle course (Adelaide was content merely to spectate) and toasted them with mint juleps. They got a little misty, but it was plain they were excited to be heading toward the horizon.
And now we’ve discovered some friends of ours have landed their FRJ in St. Joseph, Minnesota, a few miles from Aimee’s home town. Aimee was already surfing a curly and foamy wave of nostalgia before hearing their good news. She was reading novels set in Minnesota, comparing home prices in Minneapolis and Rochester, and listening to A Prairie Home Companion, and now she feels a little odd about imagining our friends, “getting to know, as adults, the places I grew up in, and experiencing for the first time so many things that I miss.”
I replied that I felt a kind of disorientation, thinking about their upcoming move. “We’ve been creating this fantasy of our next place, and now suddenly they’re living our fantasy. Now when I think about moving to Minnesota, I see him as a medical resident and her as a nurse, and their kids get squished down and become Adelaide, and everything’s kind of flickering between what we’re constantly imagining and talking about, and what they’re doing.”
I think the disorientation, and perhaps some of the nostalgia, will subside. For one thing, unless things go very much not as planned, we won’t be moving to St. Joe. But I doubt if we’ll get tired of planning and dreaming about the next place; we’ve so far found it to be an inexhaustible topic. If you come and see Our Town, there’s a scene wherein Aimee and I are at a cemetery, staring off into the distance. We’ll do our best to be in character, but you may enjoy knowing that she’s mentally drawing floor plans, and mentally I’m hundreds of miles away, training for my First Real Job.