Missing The Rest Of The Story

Missing The Rest Of The Story

Americans move a lotAmericans are a transient lot who move around in order to change jobs, the weather or just for a change. But what happens when you move? Well, you miss the rest of the story. According to the Census Bureau, Americans on the average move 14 times in their lifetimes. In any given year, 40 million Americans are on the move. That’s a lot of boxes and vans.

This means that we miss the endings of a lot of life’s stories. So far, my wife and I have moved 9 times each (not counting our first homes). We’ve lived in two apartments and five houses. If we can sell this house, we’ll move to an apartment or a townhouse. I doubt that we’ll reach that average of 14, but you never know.

With all of our moves, we’ve had many of life’s stories truncated. What happened to Johnny? Did Sue ever get married? Let’s face it after you move your friends are out of sight, out of mind. Sure, you keep up with them for a year or two but time marches on.

My best man Eddie and I haven’t spoken to each other in years. We used to see each other every day because we lived in the same apartment building. He got married and moved out but we still saw each other. I got married and moved out and we saw each other less.

The big break came when we moved halfway across the country with our daughter. We just lost touch. I asked my wife the other day, how old his Leaving Friendstwo sons were. I was astonished when she told me that they were in their 30s. Where did the time go?

Once upon a time, we Americans were a sedentary people. For all our sense of adventure, the majority of us lived a short distance from the place that we were born. Both of my parents illustrate this fact. They were both born in Brooklyn, New York. They met there, were married there and lived the first 17 years of their married life there. We moved to New Jersey and they both died there, maybe 30 miles from their birthplaces.

I on the other hand was born in Brooklyn, moved to New Jersey, back to Brooklyn and back to New Jersey. After our marriage, my wife and I have lived in two places in New Jersey, three homes in Wisconsin and now we’re living in Virginia. That’s a lot of stories without endings.

When we move, we’ll promise to stay in touch. ‘Come back and visit us’, your friends will say. You promise but it usually never happens. Life gets in the way. After you move to a new town, you need to unpack and get settled. There’ll be an exchange of Christmas cards for the first few years but eventually that tapers off. You realize that it’s time to move on.

You’re probably wondering why this came up. My 50th reunion from elementary school is next month. After much agonizing thought, I decided not to go. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ve moved on and I’d like to remember my classmates as we were. Reality might be too much of a shock.


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