This morning in early conversation with my wife I came to the realization that I have lived longer in this damn old house than any other. The realization made me feel somewhat gypsyish. Had I no roots? Is this normal?
My wife and I have lived in our current abode, in the Texas subtropics, above the brown Brazos River, for 10 and a half years now.
My parents indicated to me that I lived with them in an apartment in Cleveland for my first year or two. I don’t remember, but have no reason to doubt. The first thing I remember, I was a full-grown 3-year-old and was standing in a driveway with snow piled around me higher than my head, watching my father clear the stuff out of the way with a snowshovel. That was at a big old house in Chesterland, then a small town at the outskirts of Cleveland, now pretty much indistinct from the rest of that city, which swallowed it up in amoeba-like fashion years later.
Then at age 4 we moved to the little town of Salem, Indiana, where I lived until age 9. Then we moved to Twin Lakes, Ohio, where mom still spends her summers. But I moved out at 18, to better soak up the, um, atmosphere of college and post-adolescent life a few miles away in Kent. So only nine years in Twin Lakes. I did move back briefly at one point, but only nine years of continuous occupation.
During my first marriage probably the longest I lived in one location was this apartment in an old converted schoolhouse in Bellaire, Ohio, for four or five years while I mostly worked at a Wheeling newspaper across the Ohio River. Then a year in South Carolina, then a year and a half in Phoenix, then a year and a half in San Diego. Then maybe six years in a house in the country outside Little Rock, Ark., before I got divorced and moved back to Phoenix, got married and lived in Tempe, Ariz., for maybe the usual year and a half, then back east to Houston, where we occupied one particular house for four or five years before moving to the outskirts of the Houston megalopolis, and into this damn old house, 10 and a half years ago.
By contrast, I’ve met farmers in Lavaca County near our Polka Farm who live on some of the same land their fathers and grandparents lived on. That still happens in places.
All of this makes me think, although I must confess that it does not really make me conclude much.