If we are lucky, this will be our last move. The stories we hear about the experience become even more difficult during a shaky economy. I’ve written about the sadness when we had to give up many of our favorite possessions. There was also the pain of leaving behind the natural beauty of our Los Altos home.Much of the sadness disappears under the physical weight of packing approximately 80 boxes to be transported only two miles away. In a strange way, I feel that we are on a long vacation from home. Unfortunately, it is impossible to keep up the illusion when our new abode looms like a golden behemoth on one of the busiest streets separating Los Altos from Palo Alto.
We don’t look down at San Antonio Road, but whenever we find time from our labors, we seem to cross that most familiar street. It reminds one of an elderly dowager that has dramatic surgery on her face at least once a year.
An amusing sign on the back of one car proclaimed, “I live in Palo Alto. We drive carefully there.” Pretty insulting, I think! But more worrisome is the strong reality that my new residence community stretches out 8.5 acres, a town within a town. I have to admit that a great deal of skill went into a long, drawn-out process of creating a unique and lovely environment, from the towering group of palms trees to the carefully thought-out color schemes that greet residents, who can travel from one building to another with modern art making each area into striking art-lined walls.
Luckily for me, as the hallways run into one another, there are comfortable chairs planted along the way for weary seniors. Even our moving men worked up a sweat as they transported heavy boxes of all sizes to their appropriate destinations. Our furniture looks like our home, but in most apartments the boxes loom halfway to the ceiling in the living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. When will we move each box into its proper place?
Back home, before the journey, the sound of powerful bands of packing tape filled the air and damaged the ears. I still hear the ripping sound in my dreams. Now a week after the move, the halls are quiet as one apartment after another gets mowed down by the remaining boxes. After each apartment is loaded to the ceilings, we can hear the frustration of cries, “Where are my pajamas? Which box has my toothbrush and the soap?” I love the glass walk-in shower, a shining explosion of the latest style that accompanies the most modern equipment.
The movers unloaded my boxes of clothes in the same order they had pulled shirts, pants, coats and blouses from the closets in Los Altos, settling them in my new home unceremoniously, making it obvious that I should have had four estate sales instead of two. “Simplify, simplify,” whispered a long-lost Thoreau in my memory.
We are tired, hopeful and happy to meet many new neighbors as we sit down to dinner each evening, regaling each other with stories or jokes suddenly new again. Oh, my goodness, I have to learn all their names. My husband, Howard, reminds me that it’s good for the brain – and all that walking will help us lose weight!Charlotte Kaye Jarmy is a longtime contributor to the Town Crier.