Since helping move a friend to new digs this past Saturday, I’ve been musing a bit about moving. It’s been a long time since I moved (in more than a few senses of the word, unfortunately). But what I’m musing about here is the kind of moving that involves transporting beloved objects, usually right along with objects we don’t-know-what-the-hell-to-do-with, from one place to another.
My very first move was from one part of my hometown (Havertown, PA) to another. After 1st grade our family moved from Oakmont to Llanerch … and I made no decisions about objects or anything else having to do with that move, as I recall.
It was like magic; I went to our grandparents’ house in Ridley Park one day, and came home to a new house the next. Maybe it wasn’t actually the next day – but you get the picture. (I think ChristopherCornblog went to a friend’s house … and maybe HollyCornblog was with me … really can’t remember a thing about it … and sure hope I wasn’t supposed to be responsible for her!) It was June and it was Philly-hot, I DO know that much!
After that, there were no more moves, per se, ’til heading off to college. But I engaged in a great deal of moving within and around the house – creating-little-spaces, creating nooks and crannies, re-arranging rooms, moving furniture, arranging shelves, etc.
In retrospect, it was very much an effort to wrest small islands of order out of the chaos of home life. Making something orderly, or changing it around, allowed me to gain a sense of control … or agency, to borrow a sociological term that applies nicely here. Indeed, today, when I feel stressed and/or my life feels just-a-tad out of control, one of my immediate urges is to rearrange my room. (And if my room offers no possibilities, others’ rooms are at some risk!)
And yes, it was quite a lot like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But it served me well at the time. That and AM radio saw me through! (And, if I wanted to use it, it’s a pretty marketable skill that I developed all those years ago, compulsively organizing shit.)
I remember creating a study space in the basement of our house in Llanerch. Another spot a remember fondly was a ‘reading place’ out in our sun porch … basically a sleeping bag on the floor. It was cold out there and so there were very few interruptions. We had a fireplace out there and I remember reading The Count of Monte Cristo with coals glowing in the grate … a pretty fond memory among other late elementary and early junior high school reading adventures in the sun porch.
You see, it was hard doing much of anything uninterrupted at our house, so I liked finding places where I was more or less inaccessible – at least temporarily. I seem to recall reading Louisa May Alcott up in our magnolia tree. (Am guessing I wasn’t perched up there too long – can’t have been comfortable!)
My spaces were always makeshift and created out of whatever was at hand. ChristopherCornblog would sometimes come along afterward and take it to a whole new level. He made the sun porch into something that would qualify as a real, additional room – whereas my creations were more like a bedouin’s temporary digs – slipshod and portable.
So anyway – I haven’t gotten too far into my history of moving. In fact, I haven’t left the house yet. So, to be continued … sooner rather than later, I hope!