I think for women of a certain age, the word “cherish” has only one association (ha ha ha). I was in ninth grade and I was moving away from the town where I’d left childhood and grown into a teenager. 9th grade back then was the last year of the arcane thing known as junior high.
We’d lived in Bellevue, Nebraska for six years. My mom hated it. My dad liked it. My brother and I? Kids just live wherever, I think, little kids anyway. I grew into the small town. I liked it. I was active in Rainbow Girls, I was studying piano and getting somewhere, and I was popular in my school, one of the cool of the cool. Most important, I had my first boyfriend. Rex. He started being my boyfriend in fifth grade.
And we were moving back to Colorado.
My Aunt Martha flew out from Denver to drive one of our two cars. By then my mom had her drivers license, but my dad’s abilities had deteriorated and he tired easily (multiple sclerosis) so he wouldn’t be up to driving the two long days from Bellevue to Colorado Springs. The movers would pack our stuff once we were gone. We spent the night before our move in a motel in our very town. I have no idea how the logistics of this worked. At age 14 I wasn’t responsible for anything but me.
We spent a night on the road. In Colorado Springs, my family spent a few nights in a motel and I went to Denver with Aunt Martha. The following week, we moved into a little brick tract house that was a lot like the house we’d left behind. Our stuff arrived and the movers put everything where it was supposed to be.
The family tried to slide smoothly into a new life.
I missed everything. I missed being cool (because now I wasn’t). I missed my piano teacher (but he wrote me). I missed knowing where I was. I missed my small town. My piano teacher (a German Jew who’d fled Hitler) reminded me how much I loved the mountains and explained that soon I would be happy to be there.
Most of all, I missed my boyfriend. At 14 I wasn’t allowed to date and I don’t think Rex was either, but we HAD held hands (I never told my mom). In 9th grade there were two dances and Rex and I had already agreed we’d go together. I saw a whole future of football games and dances with him.
In my anonymous bedroom in a new city I didn’t even like, I cried and thought of Rex whenever the clock radio on the shelf of the headboard of my twin bed played:
Listening to it now, it was totally non-applicable to my situation. ❤
And, through 9th grade in Colorado Springs, I went to all the dances with my brother.