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Moving brings unexpected discoveries

When I announced that my husband and I were moving home, hearth and an aging Cavalier King Charles spaniel across the state in the middle of a pandemic, some unexpected things happened.

First, we discovered that it’s not just us — a lot of folks are relocating. In the past week I’ve had contact with people I’d not heard from in a while saying, “You’re moving? We are too.”

My favorite remark, “We just did it — ride the wave.” That, by the way, is good advice no matter what is going on in your life.

Our destination Realtor suggested that one reason people are relocating right now is because households self-quarantined in the early spring and got better acquainted with the home they were living in and decided they wanted a different one.

Many of the folks who reached out to us were simply re-examining self and situation — all of the people we are saying goodbye to had suggestions that would make “the ride” easier. We are appreciative of every idea and particularly thankful to people who reminded us to keep our wardrobe of face coverings at the ready and gave us some new handmade options.

And — this is the part of this column that contains the “unexpected” — I did not expect that taking a hard look at all the material possessions we had accumulated and making decisions about what to take and what not to take would be so relatively easy. I did not anticipate how much pleasure it would give me to “gift” things to others. Our children were delighted to receive colorful patio furniture and even rented a truck to retrieve all of it. In that case, it was sort of like redirecting your books to the library — you can always visit them there.

We gifted our chubby yard frog to dear friends who have a beauteous garden. He is reportedly quite happy. We were able to redirect toys that grandchildren had outgrown and our entire guest room bed and bedding to several young families with interest and need.

It was unexpected when our dog sitter and long-time friend offered to move with us, saying ”Lucy,” the aforementioned spaniel, was the best dog she had ever cared for — or maybe it was “one of the best dogs.” She is very diplomatic.

I did not expect so many friends and acquaintances to offer written acknowledgment and specific comment about how their lives had been impacted by something I had said in a column or offered in an educational presentation. I was amazed that people recalled projects I had worked on while at Oregon State University and reminded me that I had a penchant for naming them in an interesting way. “Don’t Let Rabies Get Your Goat” was mentioned by several colleagues. And there was the often-offered seminar on aging memory, “What If You Don’t Remember What You Forgot?”

I was touched by how many people said that Howard (aforementioned husband) and I had made a difference in our community. And to that we both say thank you. Onward.

Sharon Johnson is an associate professor emeritus, Oregon State University. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.