Part One-So long, it’s been good to know you …

Take the bull by the horns …

Today, in honor of our good friend, Laura Drake, I begin a three part series talking about the trauma and the joys of moving. Often in equal measures, moving can be compared to death, getting married or shedding old skin to reveal a new under layer. It’s saying goodbye and starting over.

Two weeks ago, Laura posted pictures of her house in various stages of “moving.” She didn’t move across town, down the street or to a near-by city. She moved a thousand miles from California to Texas.

One of the things she talked about having to leave behind was the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America, a chapter she has talked about many times over the years.

The week before she left, this chapter gave Laura a Farewell Party, and looking at all the smiling faces of her chapter-mates and seeing the photos of their celebration on Facebook, I understood that behind all the smiles and laughter, there was a tinge of sadness.

raging bull wine

Winery web page

I googled Dancing Bull, which was on the label of a bottle of wine she received from her chapter mates as a parting gift. The symbolism of course, harkens back to her Sweet on Cowboy series, a series you should take the time to find and read. (The link will bring you to the Amazon page with Laura’s second in the series, Nothing Sweeter.)

How do we forge bonds and friendships that become as important as our family ties? For some the bonds we have with our close friends are stronger than those we have with family.

We are especially blessed when the chemistry of a group, a partnership or a kinship works, makes us better at what we do, makes us stronger, and gives us the courage to believe in ourselves.

The virtual life we live on-line can get very strange. This past week Jenny Hansen threw a virtual birthday party for Kristen Lamb. We have involved correspondence and “visit” or “talk” as much to our virtual friends as we do to those we can actually break bread with.

Laura Drake is one of those for me. I wish my friend the best in her new home. I know I do not have to wish her the best in her new career, her talent has already taken care of that.

moving is no fun

Moving is no fun.

I’ve done it twelve times in my life and each time I felt the same way, like something was pulling at me, dragging me kicking and screaming.

I didn’t want to move as a kid. It meant I had to go to a new school, make new friends, figure out how to fix my own space. I moved to four schools before sixth grade (two schools while living in the same house) and moved a total of twelve times before I settled in my little cottage (four of them with the kids and various pets.)

Twelve times to different locations, schools, jobs, cultures, and circle of friends, and no matter how happy or sad I was to take the next turn around the corner, it never got easier.

We didn’t always have “our own” rooms. We shared rooms or slept in living rooms or closet-sized bedrooms. We curled up on cots, folding beds, scratched under Army blankets and protested if our tiny corner of the world became invaded by a sibling or parent.

With the kids I moved from a ten-room house in New Jersey to a small one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. I managed to squeeze in all of the essentials … and leaving the husband behind, gave us a great deal of extra space to move around.

On moving day, my son and my husband had a long discussion about the larger than life rocking horse which sat between the dinning and living room of our house. Made in the image of a vintage carrousel horse, this was no tiny little pony with shaky seat. This was a wonderful masterpiece that took the hubby ten hours to construct on the night before my son’s third Christmas.

After hours of negotiations and arguments, the dog and the rocking horse came with me to Brooklyn, the big red fire engine and four boxes of toys went with daddy to Staten Island.

This apartment building was my first venture into multiple dwellings. In winter, the halls turned into a giant day care, with a gaggle of kids who found their way into my long, narrow hallway, otherwise known as the kid’s playroom.

The dog barked and the newly acquired cat jumped, the kids ran in and out and mom tried to monitor the door and count heads. Several times as I ran to answer the bell, I ran toe-first into our classic rocking horse. Four times in five years I broke one of my toes. It was the middle one two times, the little pinky toe once, and the week we moved, I broke three at the same time.

That last time we were in the middle of a blizzard. The dog escaped and ran in circles in the hall chasing four kids, the cat jumped on top of the stereo speakers and hissed at everyone and the next-door neighbor yelled, “Can’t you do something about all this noise?”

I looked down the hall at the man and spotted one of our summer beach balls rolling on the floor between my legs. In an effort to kick it, like a soccer ball at his head, I missed the ball, and hit the base of the rocking horse, breaking not one, but three toes.

During the same record-breaking blizzard, the rocking horse, the dog and the cat found new homes, and the three of us moved to Manhattan’s, Washington Heights. My middle toe still aches when the weather changes.

I don’t mind because it conjures up the best memories of them growing up, crazy, free and happy in Brooklyn.

What say you, reader?

What major move in your life was the most significant?

Which one was a life-changing crossroad?

fOIS In The City

Stay tuned for Parts Two and Three of … So long, it’s been good to know you.


Filed under Ramblings

17 responses to “Part One-So long, it’s been good to know you …

  1. Wow Florence, what a great blog to open to this morning! Thanks for the shout-out. I love your way with words, “I managed to squeeze in all of the essentials … and leaving the husband behind, gave us a great deal of extra space to move around.” You made me laugh out loud!

    I’ve thought lately, as my friends on FB send me support and virtual strength, how amazing social media is – I’ve known you for what, 6 years? And we’ve never met. Yet that doesn’t seem to matter – friendship isn’t formed with seeing a face.

    It’s like C.S. Lewis said:
    Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.”

    Thanks, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is my pleasure, Laura. A pleasure to be your friend and read your work and a pleasure to know that you are indeed one of us.

      Imagine that? You inspired not one but three parts 🙂 What inspires the most is knowing you are traveling along the same road and that soon we will be side by side, virtual or in fact, I love that you are there to keep the light on to guide me.


  2. Love this post! I’d say the biggest move in my life was a literal one when my parents uprooted me from Michigan and moved me to where I still reside today, Cape Coral, FL (I was 8 1/2). Probably the biggest crossroads was deciding to get married at 18. Worked out so far . . . celebrating 16yrs in August 🙂


    • Jamie, that biggest crossroad was a wonderful moment when you knew you had found a soul mate and companion for this journey we call life. How fantastic for you … 16 years and still going strong 🙂


  3. vicki

    Hi, Florence, I’m so hoping I get to see Laura sometime. And I hope she knows my door is open for her to go to my RWA chapter. I am lucky. My family moved to be near my dad’s work when I was five and I don’t remember it. I moved to college, my own single girl apartment, a home with Handsome, and another larger home several years later. That was the hardest move as our neighbors on the whole street were like family. My aunt said the farther apart the houses, the harder to be neighbors. That is certainly true where I live now. Big lot. At the old house, my across the drive friend could toss canned goods to me standing on my porch. Everyone watched the kids there, caught loose dogs, took care of each other’s mail and papers. Sadly, the older ones have passed. The bonus to moving is cleaning out stuff. lol


    • Vicki, you will gain a great chapter-mate in Laura. She learned today that she is a finalist for the RITA. How lucky you are indeed to be able to work with her.

      I have often longed for that close-knit type of community … that so called “village.” How wonderful that you had that for such a long time time. And yes the side benefit is being about to clear out some of our bubble 🙂


  4. Florence, I went to the same schools with the same group of kids all of my growing up years. Although I’ve moved several times, it was always within the same area. I always wanted to move somewhere else so I could experience new places and meet new people. Alas, my DH wanted to set down roots in one spot, so with the exception of living in another part of Canada for one year, we’ve lived in the same town all of our married life. 🙂


    • Sheila, it is a blessing to have remained for so long in one place. I so wanted tht … especially when I was a kid.

      You have that young girl, home town way about you and now I know where it comes from 🙂


  5. The biggest move for me was at 20 when I moved to Madrid in September for a junior year abroad, never to come back. I actually believed that and told my parents and friends. Alas, within months I was so homesick I WAS sick, at heart, that is. The only thing that kept me from returning home in January was my Canadian girlfriend whose parents offered to take her and me around Eastern Europe for the summer for 6 weeks. I wasn’t going to pass up THAT opportunity. When I flew home in August and reached the East Coast to change planes I literally kissed the ground when I got to the United States. I’ve been appreciative ever since of what we have here.


    • Patti, that sounds so much like you. I think of you as a true homegirl, grounded and devoted to the land and your animals. Each time you post pictures of riding Maximus, I smile and feel a tug of envy. Thanks 🙂


  6. Terrific post, Florence. I’ve thought a great deal about Laura leaving her old world of work behind and being able to write full time if that’s her hearts desire. She often wrote in different places about her desire to move to Texas and now that she’s finally been able to fulfill the dream, that’s terrific. The Margie Lawson workshop I attended, well every other word Margie had to say included Laura and her writing. I know the praise was more than well deserved and that Laura was the one that did the hard work.
    On another note, you know I’ve moved around the world a time or two. I loved the life style and always wondered if I’d ever give up the need to keep going. Tom and I now consider ourselves at home and our friends laugh and tell us they now write our name and address in ink instead of pencil.
    The move that hurt the most and still does is when we had to leave Monterey, CA for 5 years in DC before being on the road to Oregon for 18 months and then on to NC. Monterey always felt like home no matter how many times I flew in and out of there.
    Again – terrific post. You are definitely one of my favorite word wizards.


    • Thanks, Sheri. You were one of the people I thought of when I wrote this post. I know you’ve traveled a great deal working for the government and some of it was not a welcomed change.

      I am an incurable nester who has been uprooted more times than I would have liked. But, I am settled now and intend to dig in and grow long, long roots 🙂

      And you should check out Facebook. Laura was nominated for TWO yes, TWO RITA awards through RWA. Best new novel and best contemporary romance for SWEET SPOT. Gotta love that gal !!


  7. Florence! I am in the muck and mire of settling into our downsized home. Unlike you, I didn’t get to leave The Hubster behind.

    You most likely have a clue how frustrating it is to wait for “this” before I can do “that.”

    I’m a neat-nick. I’m a nester. Yes, I’m also a road warrior (and most anxious to get in my car and take off for an adventure somewhere), but I need a home base that I can walk into, look around, and say “Aaaah.”.

    From the land of ACK!, I thank you for reminding me I’m not alone.


    • Oh Gloria, it’s been such a long time coming. I love that you need that save home base to come back to when you travel the road for adventure.

      Now that you are settled into the new place, you can get all your ducks, or documents lined up and WOW us once more with your quirky humor. I hope you do 🙂


  8. christicorbett


    I winced when I read how you broke three toes at once! Yikes, that must have been quite a scream you probably let out after that moment. How was your relationship with that particular neighbor afterwards?

    My biggest move was going from graduating college in the Seattle area to my first real job in TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I made the drive alone, and then lived alone. It was a great learning experience because I had no friends so I worked every second I could, and learned a lot about every job in a station.

    Congratulations on your recent move, Laura Drake!

    Christi Corbett


    • Christi, while a trauma, I am sure that move was also exciting. To be on your own and learn so much about your profession … how lucky is that?

      And I kid you not, the only other messed up feet as bad as mine are what Laura Drake’s looked like before her two surgeries. That and a car accident and nature giving me crooked feet to start, are a major pain … and I can predict the rain 🙂


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