In the summer of 1998, when I was eleven years old, we moved from St.Louis, Missouri, to Athens, Alabama. I had dreaded this move for two years. I remember the day we put up the for sale sign in the yard, it felt like my heart had been ripped out. I just couldn’t even imagine leaving everything behind. There were a lot of unpleasant things that came with moving. We left our house behind and moved into an apartment, eventually we had to give away my dog-Valentine, and I had to leave behind all my friends. But I gained new friends, our quality of life doubled since the cost of living in Alabama was so low, and now I’m just happier here overall.
Living in the Tennessee Valley, we tend to have a lot of fog. So much so that the first morning we stumbled outside and couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces we were certain this had to be a big deal. But no one was talking about it, and there was no mention of it on the news and soon we learned this was a common thing. But that wasn’t the only weather change we would learn to adjust to. There was nothing that could prepare us for tornado season in Alabama. When a storm hit, there was complete coverage on every local station. And one night in the first month since the move a serious storm hit. We were sure death was knocking on our door. And we spent the entire night in the closet. That’s right, all three of us in closet no bigger than an elevator. And I kid you not; my mother sat in the closet singing hymns. Which I know sounds like a scene from a sitcom, but I swear to Bob it happened. You can’t make this stuff up, people.
And once when we opened the door just to hear the weather man he said, “ The tornado was directly over Athens.” My mom slammed that door so hard it almost came off its hinges. But eventually the storms passed and we rejoined the world. We learned that this is a pretty common occurrence in the South. One Sunday when the storms were raging and an important football game was on, the weather station broke in. The put the game in a little box on the side of the screen. However, I’m SURE they got many complaints because the next time they broke in the weather guy was in a little box in the corner of the TV instead of the game. Since nothing is more important that football in Alabama. Not even the threat of death. We learned that while you should take precautions, it’s nothing to lose your head about.
Here I am ten years later, twenty one years old, and about to move again. I won’t have to worry about tornados too much come May. But there will be new things to contend with like earthquakes, traffic, and wildfires. And don’t forget that I will be living with no SWEET TEA. In so many ways it seems like I am moving backwards. I’m going from a nice sized house to an apartment. I will contend with a cost of living that is sky high and I’m leaving so many wonderful people behind when I really only know one in California-Adam. But yet I have faith and hope that this move will end up being as positive as my move to Alabama turned out to be. I will be a different person, and am sure I will go through a lot of internal changes. Everything is moving so fast and I’m just trying to stay on the ride. And even though I hate change, I’m open to it. I know I can only grow from it. But honest to goodness, I really hope I don’t leave my Southern accent behind. Because being able to turn a one syllable word in a ten syllable word is a talent that shouldn’t be taken foregranted. But just like the tornadoes it’s nothing to go bonkers about life is just too good.