Saturday, April 11, 2009

Guess What We're Doing for Easter?

No, not this Easter. The Easter I'm talking about was one forty-some years ago.

When Roy and I got married, we were living in the city (approximately 65,000 in population) in Illinois where I grew up. I had quit school to get a full-time job to support us while he finished school. (Because I had landed a good paying job there, he transferred from the school we had both been attending when we met to one in my hometown.) He had one year of college previous to our meeting, but had been on a traveling hiatus for a year, and then changed his major when we got married, so ended up having four years to go after we married. We lived fifty-five miles from where he had lived since age twelve, out in the country, where his parents had a home on thirty acres of what was once farmland. (Part of the acreage was still farmed by a neighbor.)

For a wedding present, his parents gave us the 14' x 16' tar-paper, one-room shack they lived in while building their house several years before. Roy really disliked (okay, hated) living in town so each weekend (without fail) we loaded some groceries and our female cocker spaniel dog, Gus, into our Volkswagen Beetle and headed for our cabin in the woods on Roy's folks' property. We did this for a year.

The next time Easter rolled around, sometime in the week preceding Easter Weekend, Roy said to me, "Guess what we're doing this weekend?" I replied that I assumed we'd be going to the cabin, as usual.

"Yup," he said, "but this time we're not coming back Sunday night.”

Wha . . . ? Huh? But . . . but . . . but. He said he couldn't tolerate living in town any longer. We had not very nice (loud, lots of liquor involved) neighbors on the one side with only their driveway dividing our properties. He was used to living where you couldn't even see a neighbor, let alone be privy to their every conversation. At the time, it took us each a half hour to drive across town to school and work each day and Roy reasoned that by moving to the cabin, we'd have only about an hour's drive to my work and a little more to his school in the morning and, of course, the same back home each night.

Moving Day / Easter 1966

So on Easter Weekend, we moved. To the one-room cabin with bunk beds, a two-burner hot plate, a small refrigerator, and no running water. We did have electricity via a line strung through the woods from his parents' house. And a biffy in the woods behind the cabin.

Home Sweet (?) Home

We continued to drive the fifty-five miles each way for the next three years with me working, Roy going to school full-time (when we could afford it) and working a part-time job. As we drove we talked a lot and made plans for our future. We read to each other. I did a lot of knitting. He studied while I drove. I made all my own clothes then and even used the time to cut out patterns well-pinned to the fabric. Sure, we ended up driving through some dicey weather in the winter but only got stuck in town one night. We stayed at my folks' so that was no real problem.

When Roy finally graduated, he got a teaching job in a small town near the cabin and I was offered part-time work by his dad, a CPA, who worked out of his home and had recently lost his long-time secretary. It wasn't work I enjoyed a lot (numbers instantly get cranky whenever I'm in the near vicinity), but my job was on the same piece of property where we lived, it was only part time, and I could spend a portion of the day at home working on the additions we were (constantly) building onto the cabin, being with our by-then-started livestock acquisitions, working in my garden, etc., etc.

I don't think either of us ever considered our one hour commute morning and night, five days a week, a hardship. It enabled us to establish our first home "in the country," and since then, except for one brief stint renting in town before purchasing this current property here in the north woods, we've always lived out in the country or woods.

This month marks our thirteenth year on this piece of land and this fall it will be our thirty-sixth year in northeastern Minnesota. Little did I know that move on Easter Weekend so many years ago would be the first on our journey that led us here, but despite the fact that I was a "city girl" and had never lived outside of a residential area, I've never regretted that unexpected or unanticipated question by my husband, "Guess what we're doing this weekend?"


Rhonda Jean said...

Happy anniversary of your move. It sounds like quite a place.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Rhonda Jean! Thanks for stopping by my blog and your nice comment.

Claire said...

You are one patient woman. I can't imagine my reaction if Pierre announced we were moving this weekend!!! Obviously, it's worked out great for you!

Mama Pea said...

Claire - Well, I was much younger, inexperienced and . . . I don't want to say 'stupid' . . . maybe just more 'ready for anything' at that time! There have been times when it hasn't been what I would call easy, but I still want to be where I am.

RuthieJ said...

What an interesting story. Thanks for sharing it with us and I'm glad things turned out so well for you and your family. (I could never go back to living in town either)

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - I feel those of us who want to do so are so fortunate to be able to live 'out in the sticks' where we can enjoy Nature and the peacefulness. I, for one, wouldn't trade it for any other place.

MaineCelt said...

Some people, this time of year, celebrate resurrection. You and I, on the other hand, celebrate renovation! Thanks for the romp down memory lane. It's a good reminder, in the midst of drywall dust and woodchips, that it's all worth it.

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - Ah, but m'dear, renovation, in a sense, CAN BE resurrection!