“New Everything”

I lived in the Cape house on the left from 1950 until 1955 when we moved into the large ivy covered house on the right. While I don’t remember moving into the Cape, I vividly remember the relocation when I was nearly eight. By then I had established ties with all the neighborhood kids, the neighbors, the shortcuts and my school. But my mother was expecting  her fourth child and the house had only two bedrooms and a somewhat converted attic. When the neighbor’s aunt died leaving him the large house, my parents bought it from him.

Everything was new and very disorienting. My new school rarely gained new pupils, since most families had been in the area for a long time. In fact, many of my new classmates were the younger siblings of students already well known to the teachers. It was the middle of March when I joined the second grade class of Miss Horton, and I didn’t fit into the well established pecking order of the girls.

The new house was enormous, mostly unfurnished, and very isolated on two acres. I didn’t know any neighbors nor was I familiar with the geography. Meanwhile my mother gave birth to my little sister on April 5, just two weeks after the move. As an adult I can see how difficult that was for her. As a child I just experienced intense loneliness.

Sometimes moves can go smoothly for kids. This one was a severe jolt to my understanding of the world. I had to start from scratch in a way to get to know the other kids, the school and the neighborhood. The transition was challenging to say the least. Looking back I have deep compassion for the child I was. Fortunately I lived in that house, finding my own way with friends, schools and place, until I left for college.

34 thoughts on ““New Everything”

  1. A very “moving” post, Elizabeth (sorry about that, but as you probably know, I can seldom resist the opportunity to make a bad pun). Seriously, though, thanks for a very interesting “Looking back.”

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  2. Do you ever feel that it is a blessing to be able to live long enough to look back on situations and have more compassion for yourself and others? It seems there is so much that can only be taken into account after time and experience can show the way.

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  3. I was/am a forces child/military brat so have moved more times than I care to remember. There was good and bad about each of the moves……arriving and trying to fit into a school with an accent very very different to the locals being one of the bad

    My paternal genealogical line were Palatines – moving to England Ireland and ‘the New World’ in the early 1700s. Do you remember if that area was settled by people from Germany?

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    1. More of them moved a little to the south into Pennsylvania and New Jersey I believe. There is a very active research group about the Palatines, though they don’t connect with my family origins.

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  4. We moved twice before I was eight, then not again until I was fifteen. I had nothing to do with the process, as I was farmed out to my grandmother during it. The last time when I was fifteen, I was considered old enough to help, but I was also reluctant to move sixteen miles outside of London. So I helped, but with what my Mum called ‘a bad heart’. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. We moved a few times as a kid and every time I would get SO excited before we left for the new town, new home and new life I would lead. Then so often I would be disappointed after for many of the same reasons you talked about and I would want to move back to where we were before and would agitate for it heavily. Luckily for me the last move we made as a family was followed in 2 years by moving back to the place we’d lived for the longest time. That was quite a relief.

    That habit followed me in to my 30’s. When we moved to the yurt, as much as I loved it there, I still wanted to move back to that childhood town. It wasn’t until I returned there for a visit when I was nearly forty that I realized: that town no longer exists as it once was. The place I wanted to go now exists only in my memories.

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    1. I feel the same way about Oregon. I grew up in a working class Portland, no fancy anything. Not only no pretensions but actually an inferiority complex regarding Seattle! I don’t like what has happened to it.

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      1. Yes – it’s exactly the same sort of thing for me. Where I grew up is looking much more like “cottage country” for metro-NYC than the rural place I grew up.

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  6. We moved far too often for my father’s work (every two years) & being the new kid all the time really took its toll on me as a child & teen. But it built resilience which has served me well in my adult life 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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  7. I moved schools 14 times over my life, Elizabeth, and lived in 21 different houses. Some of those schools and houses were in different towns and cities. I can understand exactly what you are saying with regards to starting over in a new school, especially after the school year had started.

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  8. You were lucky to have moved only once in school life. I had lived in 12 houses and studied in eight schools. Since we always moved mid-term, i spent first year catching up with the difference in studies in different schools, the second year preparing myself for the next move. Since people hardly ever write back, I became unsure of myself and felt unworthy of being loved. I am still somewhat the same.

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