For me, home has always been a moving target. Maybe that’s due to so much moving in my younger days.
I was born in Tacoma, Washington. But that was only because the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. By all rights, I should have been born in central Kentucky where both of my parents grew up, and expected to live forever. But, because of World War II, my father, and later my mother, found themselves at McCord Field in northwestern Washington.
I appeared as the war ended, and left Washington at 6 weeks old. My father bought a 1936 Buick and shipped what little furniture they had to his father’s farm in central Kentucky. My father, mother, older brother and I then headed home in the Buick. Of course, we didn’t take a direct route, we came by way of Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
We only stayed in central Kentucky for about a year until my parents could buy a weekly newspaper in Calhoun, Kentucky, just south of Owensboro. But, trying to restart an almost defunct newspaper in a very small town made for rough life. After three years, my parents moved to Frankfort for two years, and then we moved back to Calhoun. That brought stability to me as I went through all 12 years of school in that same place.
After high school though, I was off to Lexington for college, back to Calhoun, to Owensboro briefly, and back to Calhoun, off to Louisville for graduate school, then to Hopkinsville for two years and finally to Metropolis.
The plan was we would stay in Metropolis for about five years and then move on to someplace with more growth and more jobs. But we have stayed here for 49 years. Now, we are preparing to move back to Owensboro.
There are several reasons for a move, and several reasons why Owensboro is an attractive place to go. With the possibility of future health problems, we need to be in a one-level home. There is no way to get into our present house without going up or down stairs and no feasible way to build a ramp in the front or back.
So, we have purchased a condo with everything we need on one level. We will not have to worry about outside maintenance, mowing the grass, shoveling snow and things like that. Basically, everything we may need is within a mile of our new home. That includes, a hospital, all kinds of doctors’ offices, grocery stores, hardware stores and plenty of restaurants.
While not one of my five brothers will be within 600 miles of us, Carolyn has one brother and one sister in Owensboro and another brother only an hour away.
There are certainly problems with moving after spending 49 years in the same house — especially when one of us is a packrat. Here, we have a full basement, with lots of storage opportunities, and I have taken advantage of that. So, we are trying to cull out lots of items that we don’t really need, and have no place to put, in a condo.
I started two years ago by gathering up the 2,000 to 3,000 family pictures we had acquired over the years. I chose 1,428 to have scanned and put on the Cloud. Many others I threw away or mailed to my brothers. Since doing that, I have also found another 300 or 400 to either mail to them or put on the Cloud. Now my brothers and friends can, at their leisure, connect to the site and see pictures of our family from over the last 100 years.
Certainly, Metropolis has been home to us, and for our son Chris, as he spent his first 12 years of school here. The community will also be remembered by us as the place where our younger son, David, made friends with all the neighbors before he was killed in an automobile accident
at age 6.
Metropolis is a great place for kids to learn about life as they roam the neighborhoods and meet people who will, for the most part, help to watch out for their safety. The many parks in town and the swimming pool have been real advantages for our youngest citizens. One thing missing here for many years is a movie theater.
The last 15 years in Metropolis have not been as great for adults, especially college-trained young people seeking good jobs. We have all watched so many of them have to leave this area to find the type of jobs for which they were trained. That has been a big problem for nearly every small community in the United States.
Did I mention I was a packrat? I think I did, but not as much of one as my father was. So, some of the boxes I am sorting through are ones he left when he died. They are filled with letters and notes my mother and dad saved, letters they wrote to each other while they were living apart during the first part of the war, and many newspaper clippings.
I recently found ration books and weekend military passes from the early 1940s. My mom and dad also saved programs from their high school and college graduations and almost everything else that was important to them in those days. Now, much of it is being thrown away.
Gone from the driveway is my little, red Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, which was certainly fun while it lasted, but not something that was still needed. Sold also were antique tables, chairs and other items we longer need.
Each load we take to the condo brings up the question of how much more can we get into this smaller space.
All this sorting and culling is necessary as we move to the next stage of our lives.