Today is moving day for my son Gus, and while he has migrated in and out of the house many times over the course of his college career, today is more significant than the others because it is potentially permanent. He’s off to Memphis as part of Teach for America. The mission for the next two years is to help high school students understand Algebra – possibly the most important job being done anywhere today.
Good Luck and God Bless.
One math concept we’ve come to understand is simple addition. If you buy stuff for a kid almost every time you see something cute or fun or useful, and you do this for 22 years nonstop and almost never throw anything away, you will wind up with a huge collection of things. The prospect of moving these things out of the house and into a shared apartment 700 miles away has led to some much needed thinning out of the family museum, but even so the rented truck that pulls out of our driveway this morning will be heavy with memories and debris.
Who knows how much of this will fit in the new apartment? Careful plans have been made but we shall see how they measure up to reality.
My first real post-college home was on the second floor of a house just a few blocks from Lake Okabena in Worthington, Minnesota. There were two apartments up there in what used to be the attic. The space was divided down the center with a common hallway and a shared bathroom. I had my own bedroom, kitchen and living room. My housemates were two sisters – they made sure I knew they were of German ancestry – named Matilda and Lucille. I remember at the time I referred to them as “elderly”, although they were probably very close to the age I am now.
I’m sure they were horrified to have to share a roof (and that bathroom) with me – a 20 year old knucklehead with no manners or hygiene. Even now, friends offer sympathy when they find out I had to endure such an arrangement, but I think Matilda and Lucille suffered more severe pain from having to hold their tongues. I needed so much scolding, but it would not be neighborly to just come out and say it even though disapproval can be toxic when it is bottled up. But I knew my activities and associations did not escape notice.
Perhaps it is not such a bad arrangement for a young person to feel so closely watched. If Friday night was so much fun that, come Saturday morning, I could not remember what time I returned home, Matilda and Lucille would be able to tell me. Right down to the minute. The knowledge that one is being carefully monitored can bring some sobriety to the decision making process.
Not a bad thing for a kid on his own, a long way from home.
Tell us about your first apartment.