“Happiness doesn’t have just one address.”—Anonymous
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Spent some time last week packing for a move. No, I’m not going anywhere. I just couldn’t say ‘no’ when asked by a friend to help them get ready for an upcoming move.
Besides, moving is something in which I have experience. Probably too much experience. For some, simply saying they had lived much of the last 40 years in one city as I have in Center and received mail at four different addresses in that time would be a lot. But for me, that four decades was punctuated by a five-year stint at Boerne in the Texas Hill Country and a couple of years on Lake Murvaul in Panola County. I still worked in Center while living on the lake, but during another part of that Center time, I maintained a residence here and one in Naples when I owned the newspaper there and split my time between the two cities.
Confused yet? That’s all right because I am too. And I haven’t even mentioned three homes in Mount Pleasant I owned and one in Abilene when I lived and worked in that West Texas city before settling in Center. Maybe the word ‘settling’ is not the most accurate term here, but you get my drift.
Perhaps a little of that, I come by honestly. Dad worked for the variety store chain Perry Brothers back before mega discount centers when the five-and-dime stores were popular. Just about the time we got settled in one place, Dad would get transferred to another. That practice led to a common phrase with Perry’s managers back then, “Perry’s moves managers more often than the Methodist Church moves ministers.”
By the time I entered fifth grade in Seymour, Mom and Dad’s sixth stop in Texas during ten years of marriage, we had lived in Muleshoe, Ballinger, Pampa, Midland, and Crockett. I finished the fifth grade in Mount Pleasant, and four years later, Perry Brothers was about to ship Dad to his next assignment when he said, “Enough.” He went to work for a local business, ensuring he would not be faced with another new city.
Contrast that with Dad’s parents, who moved into a small frame house at 323 Cypress Street in Pittsburg Halloween night in 1930 when my father was seven, and never moved again. My grandfather died in 1967, and “Granny,” as I called her, was still living there when she left us in October of 1993 after living 63 years in the same house.
On the day of her funeral, the inside of her house looked just as I pictured it from my earliest childhood days. The same furniture sitting in the same spot for every memory I had spanning 40 years. The only changes were a television from the late 1950s and family photos added over the years as the family grew.
Perhaps happiness doesn’t have to have just one address, but it worked for Granny.
Mom and Dad moved once in Mount Pleasant before spending the rest of their lives there. And that’s the move about which I still have questions.
I graduated from MPHS in May of 1966 and left home on Redbud Street that fall for Kilgore College just a few miles down the road. Attending classes during the week and football games every weekend as a member of the KJC band meant leaves were falling before I returned home for a visit.
Excited about a free weekend and a chance to get back home, I called Mom at The Tribune. “That’s nice,” she said when I told her. “I guess we’ll see you Friday?” After reminding me to drive safely, I told her bye. I was about to hang up when she added, “Oh, wait a minute. Don’t go to Redbud Street, I forgot to tell you that we moved.”
“Moved?” I asked in disbelief. “To where?” After a moment’s silence, she said, “Delafield … 1408 Delafield.”
Puzzled by her hesitation and almost forgetting to tell me, I asked, “So …. were you planning to let me know?” After another moment of silence, with a hint of humor in her voice she just said,” Drive safely coming home, OK?”
That was more than 50 years ago, and I still wonder about it. You don’t think moving without telling me was my parent’s attempt to find happiness at a new address … do you?
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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune, the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.
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