Don’t move.

I had a job interview early in the summer, during which I was asked why I stayed in a media backwater like Fort Wayne so long. I have two answers to this question, one long and one short. I decided to offer the short:

“Because I hate moving.”

I don’t know how it weighed in the decision — I didn’t get the job, but neither did anyone else, I’m told — but it felt far truer than the long version. I’m by no means a pack rat; the throwing-out part of moving feels very good. But you can’t throw out everything, and the older I get, the more I have to keep.

For instance: I found a cache of letters Saturday morning, mildewy and dusty, but irreplaceable, letters from friends to addresses I haven’t occupied since 1977. There was an apology letter from an old boyfriend, dead more than 25 years. There were old copies of my college newspaper, including the last one of the year, with the staff photo that took up half the page. (It features airbrushing that looked as though it was applied with a fire hose; if some stringer or other hanger-on tried to sneak into the staff picture, they were outta there.) There was a puzzling business card — I couldn’t place the name — and then I remembered the nice-but-no-chemistry accountant who took me out on two movie dates once upon a time long, long ago. We saw “Agnes of God” and ate dinner at Casa D’Angelo. I looked at the card again; his office was, I realize, about three blocks from my new house in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Small world. I wonder if he’s still there.

I threw out some of it, kept most. Some things you just can’t leave behind. So we tote one more box. So it goes.

Now I have to get back to it, and a thousand other things. To keep you occupied:

A fine obit of Marjorie Williams, whose column I discovered just before she went on extended medical leave. A great loss, a great person.

G. Beato on our jes’ folks inaugural.

Ashley Morris slaps his HBO bitch up, over “The Wire,” of course. I’ve been meaning to plug Ash’s blog for a while; thanks for reminding me.

Back to the mangle for me.

Posted at 9:15 am in Uncategorized |

10 responses to “Don’t move.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 17, 2005 at 10:46 am

    I’ve got some now-ancient typed notes from Madam Telling Tales – usually wherein she is answering back whatever I said in response to whatever she wrote about in her column that week – complete with emendations (which I took to be a print-journalist thing), and a few humorous post cards – and I shall certainly never part with them.

    That’s one thing that electronic forums & communucation really loses; makes it seem flatter and colder.

    three cheers for emendations!

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  2. Dave Reilly said on January 17, 2005 at 11:57 am


    I warned you about reading anything you come across while moving. Dump it all into plastic bins, seal it up, and some day after you’ve been living in your new home for a few years, open one up and sort. Trying to edit your past in the midst of moving leads to very bad decisions, not to mention ennui, regret, morbid dwelling on could’ve and should’ve beens, and almost irresistable urges to look up old flames.

    Don’t treat moving like you’re abandoning ship in a storm.

    Treat it as an opportunity to buy new shelves at the new house.

    As if I’ve taken my own advice.

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  3. KCK said on January 17, 2005 at 11:59 am

    I am a packrat (it’s genetic I think) and have far too much stuff. I have way overstayed in places under the “hate to move” clause.

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  4. humble reader said on January 17, 2005 at 3:41 pm

    You wait, Miss Nance…

    You’re still in your forties and waffling. Once you hit fifty, you’ll shed with gusto.

    The good news is you’re moving to the right place. Detroit/Ann Arbor has lots of consignment shops. I made a couple thousand at Treasure Mart (down the street from Zingermans). People buy anything–old yearbooks, record albums, unwanted Xmas gifts, 70s pottery.

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  5. alex said on January 17, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    And tacky light fixtures and ugly draperies, too, humble reader!

    In gutting the interior of my new home, I was tossing shit ruthlessly until a friend with an antique booth stopped in for a visit. “Wait,” she said, as I was hoisting a singularly hideous wall sconce into a dumpster. It had two titty-like globes being groped by steel ivy leaves, and a white finish with painted-on distress marks. “That thing would fetch about a hundred and twenty bucks at my place and it would be gone in a day. Guaranteed.”

    I was also quite amazed at her appraisal of the draperies, some of which I’d already pressed into service as drop cloths. Despite the fact they’d look more at home in a kid’s clubhouse than on my windows, they were lined and very well made. And could pay for all my interior painting work if I didn’t clean up any more messes with them, she told me.

    The journey down Memory Lane is a big distraction on either end, Nance. In the interest of expedience, I chucked all my old photos, letters and journals into boxes, which are now rupturing and spilling into the family room. Trying to find a place for it all means having to look at it all which means shit don’t get done. What’s really scary are all the biz cards and names and phone numbers that don’t jog the memory in the slightest. There’s those that come from the semi-annual wallet cleaning. And then there’s those from the nightstand. Eeeew.

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  6. jcburns said on January 17, 2005 at 9:51 pm

    Lessee, that old Post photo featured Bob Katz, a Sports Illustrated writer with a white-guy afro…a tiny part of my face…the slapped-in face of Mark Brunswick…

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  7. AC said on January 17, 2005 at 11:58 pm

    Hate to ignite the nn.c political wars, but… Nancy, how can you take seriously the rants of someone who says we are in Iraq because Bush wanted to help his petro buddies? If Ashley is joking, then someone should tell him that one is so over. And if he’s serious, well isn’t he just a little behind the times? I mean, hasn’t he heard about the vast neocon conspiracy? We are in Iraq to ignite a democratic revolution in the Middle East.

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  8. alex said on January 18, 2005 at 10:41 am

    Really, AC? Then why aren’t we in Saudi Arabia igniting democracy there? You think that Bush’s plutocrat Saudi buddies wouldn’t be toppled if there were such a thing as elections?

    You’ll have to pardon some of us for not buying it. Frankly, I’m skeptical about the oil industry conspiracy theories of the left. But this president has cajoled the rabble into supporting this war with all kinds of patent lies, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’s up to. Personal vanity, maybe? The patrician son continuing his father’s legacy? Beats the hell outta me. But it sure isn’t about democracy or human rights or supplying water or any of the other feelgood crap being used to justify our military presence there.

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  9. 4dbirds said on January 18, 2005 at 12:56 pm

    Ya, what Alex said! Have you served AC? If not, why not? This old liberal (if 50 is old) spent 20 years in the US Army protecting democracy because I felt so strongly about this country. I’m not sure what he’s doing but doubt it is democracy that Bush is chasing in Iraq.

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  10. MichaelG said on January 18, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    Sell all your old junk to Lileks. He’ll buy anything.

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