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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Across Borders and Beyond- A Memoir

Across Borders and Beyond

Long Beach, New York was edging toward the nip-your-nose, heavy jacket weather. I am 7 years old and nothing seems exciting to me. My brothers, dad, step-mom Jayne and baby sister Sharon have move to Utah without me. Life was like living in a fog with the Fog of all mothers beside me. School was not an outlet because I hadn't stepped foot in the brown-bricked building since first grade, so the tedium of watching T.V. and playing by myself was getting into my heart and head. " You are nothing. No one wants you. You were left behind because you are not as important as the rest," played over and over in my head.

With no explanation of why from my mother, I started back to school. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... days floated by but weekends were the worst. My mother and I would go shopping or for a walk on the boardwalk but life seemed to be excruciatingly painful for my mother so no fun was had. Monday, back to school and I get called to the office, "What have I done that would get me sent there?" I wondered. Stepping inside that scary, dimmed, four-walled chamber stood the foundation of my security- my dad. Confusion set in, "why was he there since he had moved to Utah?" yet there he was telling me to grab my stuff and come with him. "Daddy, where are we going?" I asked. "Home, to grab some clothes, toys, books and then you are coming with me." I was elated! I never looked back...

Driving across the nation in the backseat of our fading yellowed Dodged Dart was an adventure, I was responsible for making our lunches,(usually bologna or our main staple peanut butter and Velveeta cheese sandwiches, with carrots or celery sticks,) keeping the soda cold and talking to my dad so he wouldn't fall asleep. Hours were spent singing children songs from Disney World, songs from the 60's and artists my dad loved- Eddie Fisher, Simon and Garfunkle, and of course the King- Elvis. Traversing 2,173 miles across country we would randomly stop for breaks in remote towns - I loved exploring new places.

Our last stop before my new home of Orem, was Tooele, Utah or as we pronounced it- Tool ee. In a run-down gas station surrounded by mountains we were sternly corrected by a lightly hairy man that it was pronounced Toe-willa. While gathering supplies, I begged my dad for another souvenir spoon to give to my mom since we had bought one in each state we passed through; I found one with a large ugly seagull on it which my dad informed me was the state bird of Utah; it wasn't great but it was better than the square-with-the-right-top-corner-cut-out spoon; which was Utah's shape on a map. Never saying no, to me, his eldest daughter, dad bought the spoon and stuck it in the trunk with the other souvenirs.

The last hour of our trip was the hardest of all- I couldn't wait to see my heart faced, cow-licked, toe-head of a baby sister, get squeezes from my step-mom Jayne or have my brothers spin me around in their arms like they had so many times before but most of all I was anxious to be in a home where there was laughter, conversation, hugs, kisses and where love abound. This is what my dad gave to me when on his 14 day round trip journey... he proved that I was one of the most important people in the world and I was WANTED.