Friday, January 22, 2010
Our theme song
Somebody asked me for my home address the other day, and I had to stop and think about it. For a brief moment, Sepulveda Place, Rudasil Road, Whitmore Street, Russell Way, and half a dozen others from New England to southern California were all just kind of blurring together. We've moved around a lot, first because of the S.O.'s work, and then mine. I used to joke about selecting furniture based on how easy it would be to get into a U-Haul. I never worried about spring cleaning -- we just moved instead, and it was almost never short moves.
The most frightening move we ever did, in retrospect, was from upper Michigan to the Seattle area in 1979. We loaded up a 1971 Dodge Polara station wagon that the S.O. bought from his cousin for $150, parked the kids with my parents and said we'd let them know when we got settled, and headed west. Did not know a soul in the Seattle area, had never been there, and did not have a huge cash reserve. All we knew is that Boeing was there and the S.O. was an Air Force-trained airframe mechanic -- we figured that somewhere out there someone would be willing to hire him.
One of the screwiest things about the move was it wasn't necessary for economic reasons. By U.P. standards, we were doing good financially. Obviously not rolling in the green stuff if our idea of a decent vehicle was an 8-year-old Dodge Polara, but not hurting either. The S.O. had a secure job, I had cows, there was no obvious reason to pack up and leave -- but we did.
We survived the move, and found along the way that it was one of the more psychologically liberating things we've done. Back in the U.P. the labor market was unbelievably inelastic -- even truly horrible jobs would attract dozens of applicants when there was an opening. When we got to Seattle, I discovered I could actually pick and choose: every place I applied offered me employment. There is something amazingly freeing about being able to look a prospective employer in the eye and say, "No thanks, I may be looking for work but I'm not desperate."
We liked Seattle, or, more accurately, unincorporated Snohomish County a few miles north of the city. We wound up living in a duplex (fondly remembered as Mildew Manor) that put the kids into the Mukilteo school district and gave us an Everett telephone number and a Lynwood address. But, much as we liked the Pacific Northwest, we weren't fated to be there long. About the same time the S.O. got his FAA airframe certification through Everett Community College, Lockheed California came up recruiting -- and in June 1980 we headed south to the heart of the San Fernando valley.