Next month, it will have been nine years since we moved to this house, a small place in University City, Missouri. August 2003: how different our lives were back then. Callie was still working full time as a librarian for a small business college in North County; I was doing temp work in an office space deep within Maryland Heights, taking paralegal classes at Meramec, and trying to figure out where I’d work. It was just Callie, three cats and me.
Callie and I had just concluded a period of time living in Seattle. We’d been there for almost four years, but it never quite felt like home. Plus the economy was awful at the time, and we knew we were going to have kids soon. It made sense to relocate to a smaller and less expensive area. I just didn’t think it would be St. Louis. Yet there we were, driving our two cars halfway across the country that May.
So much has happened in this house. I remember the first day we moved in; we’d been living in a furnished apartment in Villages of Wyncrest, a huge apartment complex near I-170, and hadn’t seen most of our belongings since we changed time zones. At the end of the year, Callie and I examining the pregnancy test, trying to figure out if we saw one line or two. Coming home to the news that I’d been accepted to law school. Bringing our daughter home from the hospital, the across-the-street neighbors cheering. (We’d gotten off on the wrong foot with them, but they’ve proved to be nice and genuine neighbors.) Fifteen months later, bringing her to the hospital to meet her little sister. Rearranging our small house to accommodate two new residents, but still managing to preserve a craft room for Callie and a basement man-cave for me. Walking to synagogue every Saturday for the first two or three years when we thought orthodox Judaism was the path for us. That horrible summer of 2008, when I spent 14 hours a day studying for the bar exam in my basement and at the Wash U library. Making up games with my two daughters in the backyard. Endless mowing and yardwork. Endless late-night drives down Hanley Road after concerts. Endless trips up and down Delmar for Vintage Vinyl, The Pageant, Blueberry Hill.
So much has happened here. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was a kid, and the most time I’ve spent anywhere in my adult life since 1992-1996, when Linda and I shared an apartment in West Chelsea (which I should’ve bought when I had the chance – coulda flipped it for a nice profit).
This is our last night in this house. Early tomorrow morning, we are moving. Not far, mind you – just 20 minutes or so southwest into St. Louis County. We have numerous good reasons for doing this, chief among them a less expensive mortgage, access to a good public school system, and the chance to actually save some money for once. But leaving the neighborhood where we’ve spent almost a decade is not easy. Especially because I cannot STAND moving, and don’t wish to do it again.
This is my limited time to be wistful. Tomorrow morning, the work starts up again.