I broke down tonight. The overwhelming wave of sadness hit me as I was sitting on the couch in my bedroom and going through my travel suitcase. I needed it to pack things that would be going with me from Montgomery to my home in Los Angeles for the holidays.
My big, green suitcase was laying open on my bed. It had lots of things in it that would be moving with me to my next adventure (nope, it’s not announced yet). Tonight I began packing up Montgomery.
The big, green suitcase was one that my siblings and I commandeered from our mom when we started going to summer camp. It was her “nice” one, and each summer whichever one of us wound up getting to take it to camp with us was the lucky one (Mom eventually bought new luggage with her initials sewn into it…the sneaky devil). In a move of true siblinghood, I brought the big, green bag with me when I moved out.
That big, green suitcase was the only thing that helped move me from Los Angeles to Potsdam three years ago. You’ve all heard the story a thousand times, but I like telling it so here it is for the thousand-and-first time: my family could not afford to send my parents to help me move into my college apartment, and so I had to go alone. Because I went alone, I could only take with me what I could carry. I had $1,000 to my name, two carry-ons, a pillow, many layers of clothes (which made for more room in the suitcase!), and the big, green duffel bag.
My two carry-ons were a matching Betty Boop set that I bought on my brother’s army base in El Paso, Texas. I was able to check one of the carry-ons at my gate. Somehow along the way, by the time all my worldly possessions and I got to Syracuse, New York, one of the wheels broke off of that Betty Boop luggage bag.
So here I am, three years later, in Montgomery, Alabama, and I’m sitting on the couch in my bedroom staring at the Betty Boop luggage bag that I bought in Texas with a broken wheel from when I moved to Potsdam. My mom’s prized big, green luggage bag is on my bed and is already close to full with all the useless clothes that I swore I’d go through before I moved across the country again. My Betty Boop luggage bag had been used as storage and I needed to empty it out so I can start packing what will go with me to Los Angeles when I visit my parents for the holidays.
And what do I find? Receipts. Zillions of them. They’re all Potsdam receipts.
What else do I find? Plane ticket stubs. The stubs that flew me from Los Angeles to Potsdam for the last time, one year ago, when I had a one-day turn around to start my move from Potsdam to Montgomery.
I lost it.
On the ticket stub, printed as plain as could be, was the last night I spent in Potsdam before I began the drive to Montgomery.
I do not regret my choice to move to Montgomery. In fact, I’d say it was one of the best decisions of my life. It was time to leave Potsdam when I did. And it is now time for me to leave Montgomery.
In one year, wherever I may be, I know I will not handle seeing the stubs from my departure from Montgomery any better than I handled the Potsdam stubs tonight.
my first bedroom in Potsdam, New York, located at 110 Main Street
It’s three in the morning. I need to get the big, green duffle bag off my bed so I can get to sleep. I have more packing to do tomorrow.