The other day, I started counting on my fingers as to the number of places I have lived in my almost 67 years of life. I came up with a total of 12 places in which I have resided. That includes a dormitory and a sorority house, both which were very short-lived.
Don’t even ask what made me start counting. I have way too much time on my hands. After my daily chores are done, I watch my British mysteries and wonder how one gets the acting job of playing the lawyer, oops, solicitor (it’s Great Britain, after all) in all of the police programs. They literally do nothing but sit and stay quiet. The detective could take off his or her shoes and throw it at the suspect, and the solicitor would simply write a note on the ubiquitous notepad. I always wonder how much that actor gets paid.
But back to places in which I have lived. I spent the first 18 years of my life in our little house in Columbus. I never lived there again. Between my freshman and sophomore year, my folks moved to Leadville, Colorado. I bounced around a bit from one place to another, never really living anyplace for more than a few years.
At some point, I lost something very valuable. It had no monetary value, but I miss it more than I would have missed any of my jewelry (except my wedding ring). At some point, my mother went through all of our photos, and put together four photo albums — one for each of her kids — with family photos.
I suspect that I left the album in the storage locker that I leased during one of my 12 moves. There was a period of a month between selling the condo which I owned with my first husband and moving into the little house I had purchased after our divorce, so I needed to store my belongings. For that month, Court and I lived in the littlest apartment you can imagine, sharing a bedroom with two twin beds. I counted that as a place in which I lived. That month included a Christmas Day. It counts.
But I never saw the photo album again. It’s the only thing I’ve ever lost that meant a great deal to me. I guess I’m lucky.
A couple of years ago, I cleaned out my pantry. I try to do that every year. That year, for some reason or other, I decided to really tackle the expired items. That’s when I discovered that I had in the neighborhood of 20 boxes of teabags. I remember thinking two things: 1) Why did I have so much tea when I never drink tea; and 2) Given the expiration date on some of the boxes, I had moved them three or four times. And, see above: I don’t drink tea. Why did I move them? Rhetorical question.
I wonder if Americans today move more or less than we did in the 60s and 70s. I bet it’s more often, because people work at their jobs for fewer number of years. Also, I’ll bet people are less inclined to feel the need to live by their family of origin. Talk to Grandma on FaceTime Kids.
Perhaps I should have majored in sociology instead of journalism. That, however, wouldn’t have helped me find my photo album.