40 years. Really?

One finds the story in the Fourth Book of the Torah and in the Book of Numbers in The Bible: Jews following Moses, wandering in the desert, searching for the Promised Land for 40 years. That’s a long time. Our family’s life in Chapel Hill hardly can be compared to their harsh experience. We have been so very happy in this our home for 40 years. Hard to believe that it’s been that long.

We arrived in Chapel Hill on January 4, 1977, in two cars loaded with our three daughters. aged 11, 9 and 7,  our cat Rosabella and assorted stuff that we hoped would get us through the coming days before the movers would arrive with our furniture. We drove straight to University Mall where I found a pay phone (remember those?) so I could phone our Realtor, Sue Gould, to announce our arrival and arrange for her to unlock our new house and let us in.

While I was inside the mall making that call, the flurries started, just a few flakes at first, then a steady, honest-to-goodness snowfall. Our daughters were ecstatic. Born and raised in South Florida, they had never seen the white stuff. Betsy, raised in Maine, certainly had, and she wasn’t glad to see it again. Neither was I, a Baltimorean by birth.

The girls set right to work. They crafted a two-foot high snow person at the end of our gravel driveway that they packed so firmly it lasted for weeks, long after warming temperatures had cleared the roads and melted everything else. Inside we tried to sleep on hardwood floors in borrowed sleeping bags — very hard on the hips — while waiting the arrival of the overdue moving truck. Our meals were picnics on the floor, on a blanket spread under a chandelier hanging over a space where a table eventually would go.

One creates lots of memories in the course of four decades of living in the same home: joyful mealtimes, sicknesses, international travel, job changes, church changes, graduations, engagements, marriages, our children achieving wondrous things, becoming adults, moving out, grandchildren, retirement, aging in place.

Grateful for every one of these 40 years. Very glad to be in this place.

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