Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Moving Day

Fifty years ago today was moving day. On October 10, 1967, the Hill family pulled up stakes and headed south from Maryville, Missouri down to the thriving little metropolis of Windsor, and, yes, it really was thriving back then. We blamed the whole thing on God. Dad had been "called" to a new church, though I apparently wasn't around when the call came in. Neither were some of my older siblings who were not too keen on moving during high school. I think Jean was just beginning her senior year. But when God calls, what do you do? Well, in our family, that was the end of the discussion. Time to go.

I was in second grade, too little to make much sense of the matter. For me, it was a big adventure. I just said goodbye to my church friends, Danny and Fred, and the neighbor kids, Lonnie and Randy. I didn't even have to help pack. In fact, Mom sent me to school on moving day, just to keep me out of the way, I guess. Then, in the afternoon, the voice came over the intercom in Mrs. Birkenholtz's classroom, "They're ready for Drew."

I didn't realize it at the time, but Mrs. Birkenholtz had almost all of the Hill kids come through her classroom. I was the last in line, and I think she must have felt some special kinship or affection for our family. So when the message came, she helped me gather up my school supplies and she explained to the class what was happening so they could give me a friendly send off.

Then she walked with me, leaving her class behind, down the hall, past the office, and outside. We lived just up the hill and across the street from the school, and she walked me all the way up to the corner. As we walked, she assured me that I would have a wonderful new school to attend and lots of new friends waiting for me there. When we got to the end of the walk, she said goodbye, leaned down and kissed me on my forehead. Then she turned and hurried back to school as I skipped across the yard.

By the time we made it to Windsor that evening, it was dark. We were winding our way through the curves and hills of Highway 2, and I remember the lights of town as we arrived, the four-way stop, the strange parking in the middle of the street, Dad's new church with tall white columns and steeple, Jerry and I moving into our newly paneled basement room.

Mrs. Birkenholtz was right about my new school and new friends. I remember the big, round-faced smile of Mrs. Chaney, my new second grade teacher. And my new friends were waiting on me or so it seemed. Three new buddies - Bruce, Richard, and Steve - who would always be my musketeers or accomplices or stooges as the situation required. God bless them.

And what a neighborhood we moved into. Kids everywhere - Williams, Madoles, Greifes, Robersons, Ackers, Welborns, Ellis's, Masons, Brooks, Hess's, Buells, Vincents, Nelsons, Akins, Sadlers, - more than I can remember. It wasn't unusual to play ball in the vacant lot next door with fifteen or twenty on each side. What a wonderful place to grow up.

So, moving day, fifty years ago today, turned out pretty well, all in all, at least for me. Just a wave and a kiss, and a whole new adventure. I still blame the whole thing on God.

1 comment:

Lisa Shoemaker said...

We are so glad you “came south,” Drew!