...and if you do, they may give you a ticket.
Since our anniversary this past April, my thoughts have often turned to our first home together. It was a pretty terrible little town. It was rundown and lacked everything. It was forty miles from the nearest medical help, and the big annual community event was a rattlesnake roundup. It's been the butt of so many of our jokes and I-can-beat-that stories over the years, that we thought it might be fun to go back and look around.
Why would we move there if it was that bad? Carey landed a good job there just a couple of months before we got married. The first time he took me over to look at the housing possibilities, I came home absolutely dejected. It was truly abysmal. The one possibility that I remember most vividly was an apartment above a restaurant. I'm being kind to call it a restaurant. The apartment was filled with the smells and sounds coming up from downstairs (and probably the vermin too). I considered postponing the wedding if not calling it off altogether. :)
We started out living in a kitchenette in a tourist court...the type of place you see in movies from the 1940s. We were there a few weeks when we heard about a small house for rent. We rented the house and stayed in it for about six months, when the house across the street from it, which was nicer, came up for rent. Let me tell you it was not fun moving just across the street...you end up carrying a box at a time from door to door. Thankfully we were newlyweds and hadn't acquired a lot of possessions.
We stayed in the second house which we were very happy with for only about six months, because the day after I gave birth to our first child we were told Carey was being transferred. So we moved again, about three hours away, to a town that I had always thought was very picturesque, and I was in heaven. I didn't have much time to settle in, because seven months later we were transferred back to the very same awful little town we started in.
At least this time we had made some friends there, and I immediately started calling them to ask if they knew of any houses for rent. One sweet friend called me back a day or so later about midday with news that a young electrician in town had been killed on the job that morning, and the house he and his wife rented was clean and decent and I should call the landlords immediately. And I did. I have never felt like such a vulture in my life, but that's how real estate worked there...the early bird got the worm.
We were approved by the landlords, but of course they couldn't give the poor young widow the bum's rush. She naturally needed time to decide what to do and where to go and pack and move. So while we had that house in our sights, we had to rent another really awful place for a few months until it was empty.
Now if you were counting, that was four houses that we lived in. Today we drove around the town. It's a little bigger, a few more businesses, but still terribly run down. One thing we noticed was that there were way more trees than there used to be. It used to be pretty desert like. The trees really threw off my sense of direction. And being that there was no home delivery of mail when we lived there, and basically no need to memorize your address, not to mention that we were in each house for such a short time, we couldn't definitively remember any of the streets that we lived on. Oddly I clearly remember that our post office box was number 555. I think because it always sounded vaguely fictitious to me, being that on American television all phone numbers start with 555.
Anyway, we never found even one of the houses we used to live in. They probably have all fallen down by now...seriously! As we were getting bored with the search, and about to head back out of town, we turned a corner and within a block there was a police cruiser with lights flashing behind us. We were going 27 miles per hour in a 20 mile per hour school zone. I'm not even sure it was possible for us to have gone from a dead stop to 27 miles per hour in the after-school traffic. And the blinking school zone sign was still in front of us, meaning we weren't even IN the school zone yet unless there was another one behind us. Who knows? Carey just wanted to get out of there. He wouldn't even circle around the block to let me take photos of any school zone signage or get a better idea of what we did or didn't do, so we could decide whether to pay the fine or fight the ticket.
Anyway, sometimes you look back on things and let sentiment color it in shades of rose. Yeah. We never have, and today assures that we never will. Back in the 70's we couldn't get out of there soon enough, and today we DIDN'T get out of there soon enough! :)