I’ve been reorganizing our storage room filled with shelves of books and family records. I found a small notebook and recognized my mother’s distinctive handwriting. It’s a record of trips she and Dad took from 1976 to 1978; motels, restaurants (rated), how many miles they drove.
Two of our children and both of my brother’s children were born during those years. During that same time, Grandma settled in Merced with my aunt. Mom and Dad made numerous trips from Brookings, Oregon to the East Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California. They drove thousands of miles to keep in touch with those they loved. They drove and drove. Between trips, Mom also wrote volumes of letters.
They weren’t the first to move away and miss the family they left behind.
Grandma set out from Switzerland. Grandpa set out from Germany. Rick’s grandmother came from Sweden through Ellis Island and across country by train to work in San Diego where she met his grandfather who sailed windjammers around the Horn. None of them ever saw their parents again or many of their siblings. Some siblings followed their lead and came to America. Others sent letters and pictures.
I think of the people on the wagon trains west who left family and friends behind to find a better life for their families. Some of my relatives came “west” from the eastern seaboard states to Nebraska and then down into Colorado.
Our children all live within easy reach of us. We’re thankful to have them close. However, Rick and I know there may come a day when our children will have to move far away in order to find better jobs, more affordable housing, more opportunities for their children.
One of the things that never changes in life is that life is always changing.
Enjoy the ride!