By the time I was 12 years old, I had lived in four states. The first two moves I do not really remember that much because I was too young. The final move was to a new town 1,500 miles away and I was in middle school, so I do remember it pretty clearly. I can recall a farewell party from my Girl Scout troop where everyone signed a white tshirt for me as a keepsake. I remember saying goodbye to my best friend who lived across the street from me. She walked me home and we hugged and cried in the driveway, but then I wanted to walk her home, where we hugged again, but then she wanted to make sure I got home…we ended up saying goodbye about 40 times. One funny memory from that last move was that my family was upgraded to first class, but they only had three available seats for the four of us. My mom volunteered to sit by herself, while my sister, my father and me enjoyed the luxury of mini travel pillows and ice cream sundaes. At one point my dad gave me some snacks to sneak back to my mom and I found her crying. Naively, I thought she was upset about having to sit by herself (only later did I realize she was mourning the loss of her old life). Strangely, I do not remember being overly upset, I think mostly because my parents explained the move to my sister and me as an exciting, big adventure…brand new house, great bedrooms, new friends, etc. Overall, I have a lot of memories of that move, down to what the moving truck looked like (I remember being so in awe of the fact that they fit all our boxes and furniture AND our minivan inside the truck!)
I actually do have one vivid memory of the previous move. We were moving from Colorado to Texas and I was only about 7 or 8 years old. All I remember is sitting on the front steps of the house with one of the movers. My mom had made sandwiches for all the workers from the moving company and I sat outside eating mine with him. His name was Lucky and while I do not recall what we talked about, I remember him being really, really nice and very encouraging about starting over in a new state. He must have made a lasting impression on me because from that point forward, I named every pet and animal I saw after him…there have been Lucky bunnies, Lucky birds, Lucky hamsters, Lucky goldfish, etc.
I think moving several times and experiencing different states had a big influence on my childhood. I don’t know if I would consider myself “lucky” to have moved around the country, but I do think it makes me more empathetic to my students who are new to our school.