October moves

Friday, October 9, 2009

My wife and I -- and our sons when they lived at home -- have moved more times than we like to count. But some of the moves we've made hold great memories.

October historically has been moving month for the Sullivans. In October 1997 we moved into the house we currently occupy.

A dozen years in the same house is the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my entire life. Our house fits us like an old pair of shoes. The house was built in the 1950s. It creaks and groans now and then, but it appears to have been built to last.

Like us. We hope we're built to last too. If everything works out, we and our house will remain together as long as we can.

One memory of our move into this house was rekindled recently when part of West End Boulevard was repaved. That street figured prominently in our move.

Moving from a downtown apartment into a tree-filled subdivision while the leaves are at their brilliant autumn peak can be an enjoyable experience, even if you're doing most of the moving yourself. We were in no rush to leave the apartment, and the house needed a good deal of interior fix-up work. So we felt we could move at our leisure, a room at a time.

Borrowing a fair-sized van made the move easier, and because we had so much stuff stored up two long flights of stairs, we decided to invest in some extra muscle. My wife was, at the time, in charge of a mentoring program that helped young men and women find -- and keep -- jobs. She suggested that a couple of brothers from Sikeston would like to earn some extra cash and would be dependable workers.

The Stucker brothers were a bit mystified at first with my moving scheme. This involved filling boxes with the contents of a particular shelf or drawer and marking the boxes for the recipient shelf or drawer in the house. This limited what went into each box, but it made unloading a snap. They soon caught on.

We would fill as many boxes as would fit into the van and then all pile in the cab and head for the house. Because of major street repairs at the time, we could not take the most direct route. Our detour included a stretch of West End Boulevard.

At one place in the street some previous utility work had required cutting a trench across the street. Whoever filled in the trench left a ridge of asphalt across the road -- like a mini-speed bump. Every time we drove the loaded van over the bump, everything in back shook and rattled.

I don't know how many trips we made back and forth, but it was a lot. Every time we approached the bump on West End, the Stucker brothers would shout, "Watch the bump!" Shake. Rattle.

After the move, we discovered that West End was a street we would use often. Every time we hit the bump, I would think of the Stuckers and what fine workers they were and how happy they had been to help out.

My wife and I affectionately called the ripple in the pavement "the Stucker bump."

Now the Stucker bump is gone. The pavement is eerily smooth where there ought to be a little jolt -- a reminder of how quickly 12 years go by and how having good help makes a move go smoothly.

Since the street was repaved, my wife and I have made a point of mentioning, as we glide on new asphalt, that we "sure miss the Stucker bump."

The good news: We're not moving. Not this October.

jsullivan@semissourian.com<I>

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