Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Remember When: Big Move

I was born in a tiny town in Kansas and grew up in a somewhat larger town about 80 miles away. My sister moved to Denver with her husband in about 1962 or 1963 and that was the only time I had been out of my home state; as far as I know.

After my grandfather died my grandmother decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona to be near one of my uncles.

In 1967 Mom decided we should join them. We loaded up everything we could in a Hertz trailer which mom pulled all the way to Arizona behind our car. A larger tiger cat, a small dog and a very reluctant teenager in tow. This photo was taken at the hotel we stopped at in New Mexico. Mom decided to give the cat a part of one of her Valium because he wouldn't settle down in the hotel room. All night long we could hear the cat get up and fall down and the dog sit by the bathroom door whining because he was worried about his animal buddy.

We'd never travelled much, only to my sisters in Denver and my grandparents or aunt and uncle near Dodge City, Kansas. I don't think I'd ever stayed in a hotel so that experience was exciting to me.

However, at thirteen years old moving to another place was not on my agenda. I'll never forget when we arrived in Phoenix and I saw the palm trees and a bank in Tempe that looked like a giant turtle. Exotic for sure. But not enough for leaving my friends and school behind. We arrived in town on Easter Day.

I spent a lot of time hating where we lived and wanting to be back with my friends in Kansas. Things didn't go so well with mom as jobs weren't as plentiful as she hoped.
At one point we lived at this hotel, the Stagecoach Inn, on Van Buren Street.
Mom was the manager so we lived in that building right in front. Those windows were the lobby and our apartment was behind that with a door that opened from our living room to the lobby. There were two swimming pools and kitchenettes in the back where many families in transit lived.
That was a pretty exciting time. I think I lived in the pools.

The Stagecoach Inn is long gone but it has a place in my memory.

Did your family ever make  major move? Were you happy or sad about the change.


  1. My dad was a pastor and we moved twice in my memory - - - that means I remember living in three different places.

    We made the first move just before I started Kindergarten. I don't remember that move being very traumatic - - - I mean, I was able to start school while all the kids were "new" so I didn't stick out.

    The next move was from that northwoods town to this town where I now live (though I was gone from here for 38 years before I finally was able to move back.) That time I was just about to begin 6th grade. At first my sister and I did NOT WANT to move, nor did we want to be here once we were.

    However - - - we stayed here long enough to graduate from High School and it became "home." I'm THRILLED to be back here making it home again now.

    Good post - - - great question!

    1. Interesting that you returned after 38 years. I know I couldn't go back to Kansas now but I hope to never leave Ariziona.

  2. I love this story--particularly about the cat and the dog! Your mom was a strong, brave woman!! We moved from Middletown, Ohio to Kansas City, Missouri when I was six with our cat Twinkle, howling all the way. I had a white rabbit fur muff that I loved and that I always slept with and I left it behind in a motel. We didn't discover it until the next night--my mom was so afraid I was going to throw a fit, but I guess i was ready to give up the muff-I just shrugged my shoulders and that was that.

  3. We never moved, though I always wanted to because our neighborhood had very few kids my age. I feel sorry for your mom -- it's tough to take on the responsibilities of being a parent and having your kids less than happy in the new location. It's the reason why, when my kids were in their early teens and I wanted to move, we stayed put.

    1. It's a tough time. I did eventually adjust and now I love the desert but I often regret some of the mid-town activities and school stuff my friends "back home" were involved in.


Please leave a comment so I know you were here. Comments are like Internet hugs.