Back to the Beginning

by Jane Moneypenny

The huge beat-up cardboard box before me groans a little when I toss it out of the storage closet. It’s been hiding in the back for 3 years now, waiting patiently for me to climb through the mountain of smaller inferior boxes to return it to its glory. This thing has been through me for 7 years now; it has every single address that I’ve moved to since the end of freshmen year (which is funny since I never had movers). It even survived a flood of a storage place and survived quite well while its twin went to recycling heaven.

10 addresses in 8 years. Lots of packing, lots of places and this little post-college apartment has been my home the longest. I’ve thought about this day for years: How would I feel when I finally started packing? Would I cry? Would it be hard? Would I pack with a fervor of a restless girl ready to jump to the next chapter? Over and over, I imagined myself going through this and now that I’m here, I’m not sure how I feel. I feel ready; I know that, but it’s bittersweet. And true, things are just things but even the things I throw away, I think back to the moment I picked it up at the store and analyzed if it was worthy of my money. Like the DVD player that I waited years to get (because that’s what computers are for!) and when I finally got comfortable in my job, I purchased it and felt proud. I have a ridiculously vivid and sharp memory for little moments like those and although it’s a little sad, I’m trying to look at how far I’ve come.

When I first moved in the day after graduation, all I had was a new Walmart futon, lot of boxes and a $20 used twin bed. My friend J was staying with me until she left for the summer; I remember us ordering pizza and watching a small 12″ television with bunny ears covered in foil and perched atop 4 boxes to get the best reception by the window. Every time one of us stood up, the tv would fuzz out so we spent the nights building Target furniture that is still with me today. Later, I left for a family trip overseas and subletted my apartment to two jobless guy friends. A month passed and when I opened my door after a 10-hour drive, my apartment looked like an immigration office: mattresses strewn everywhere (our other guy friends slept there often), open suitcases of clothing tumbling out and a broken futon. So that’s how we lived for a few months until one left and then another and then it was just me.

I still have 3 weeks before the move, but people are starting to pick up furniture. Someone asked if my curtains were for sale; I burst out laughing because I had made those curtains from an expensive pattern that I fallen in love with. It was my first and last sewing project. My mom keeps calling to ask if I want her to drive up with another car to help me move. I think she forgets I’ve moved alone for years. The thing about being single and living alone is there’s no roommate or other dorm students moving at the same time. Also, I’ve apparently kept every single box for every appliance and big item I’ve ever purchased. You would think this would make packing/moving easier…

Thanks to everyone for the concerns about my grandmother. She can’t walk right now, but my dad got her a walker (which I’m sure is driving her crazy) and there’s a 24-hour nurse until she can sleep through the night and walk again. My dad emailed a photo and although she’s bruised all over, she’s grinning a strong 85-year old (or maybe she’s 88…) smile.