My family moved to Lawton in 1968. Growing up in Seattle, my mother married into the military and wound up in Arkansas first. When she heard that Lawton had mountains, she was glad to be moving out of the foothills. When she saw that they were only mountains based on a geological description, she just about cried. Still, through four moves, three marriages, two college degrees, and a few career changes, she stayed.
But stubborn can only last so long before reality hits. She had a shoulder problem last winter that caused her more problems than just hygiene. My sisters, Jenn and Nikki, had been checking in on her. As a nurse, Nikki started making it infinitely clear to our mother that it was time to change. When you can do everything and you’re on your own, you’re called a loner. When you can’t do everything and you’re on your own, you’re called dead. They decided that there needed to be a change. Jenn couldn’t take her in, so Nikki would.
Step One: find a house. My sister has a brood. She married a high school sweetheart and joined the Air Force and managed to have four children along the way. She retired this year and took a job with the VA in Raleigh, NC. Her oldest daughter was still at home in Grad School. Her oldest son is high-functioning autistic and living at home. Her other sons are a freshman at UNC and a HS senior. Now, she was going to take my mother in. So in February she and her husband, Wil, started looking for a house big enough for seven adults. It took longer than they wanted. Money had to be moved around to placate a financial officer who put up new obstacles at every meeting. But by August, it was done.
Step two: compression. My mother had a house full of stuff. She had a dog, two cats, kitchen, bedroom, diningroom, car, closets of cloths and walls of art. She was giving up a house in exchange for a room and communal kitchen and bath. The animals could not join her. That was non-negotiable. There was a lot of work to be done. Jenn and Ben, and Charlie, Ida and Charly would take care of the packing and shipping as well as the non-NC-bound stuffs. Two hundred pounds of her life was shipped via UPS. Her car was loaded with even more. Charlie would store some of it. But everything else, had to find a different home.
Step three: transportation. This is where Thea and I contributed most. Using our SWA Rapid Reward points, mom got a one-way ticket to her new home. Jenn and Ben delivered her car to me in Norman. I was going to drive it to Raleigh, NC and fly back. (Our SWA points really are handy.) But that’s in my next post.