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Katherine Baker's Autobiography (submitted 5/8/06)
"Moving Day" by Kitty Baker
I called in a used furniture dealer and packed my bags on a cold December day. The house was empty except for its happy memories. Moving the monster out of the attic was a challenge. What could I do with the monster, a friend of my five-year-old granddaughter, Jessica? When she stayed overnight, the monster came down out of the attic to put a loving hand on her knee. I promised Jessica, "I will put the monster in a really big box and take him with me to my new home."
The first half of my life ended that sad day. I didn't know it would be the beginning of a new kind of life. It was the day I drove away from the old house where my four children had played under a silver beech tree. The house had emptied of grown children, and Hooly, our Australian sheep dog. I had grown tired of cutting grass, shoveling snow, and coping with old leaking pipes. I sold that home to a woman who admired its stained glass windows and stone fireplace.
I dusted off the hobby hourse that had galloped my toddlers and grandchildren to adventures in make-believe places. Lionel trains, cobwebbed with memories of Christmas's past, went into a box to an orphanage. My wedding gown, in blue tissue paper, was better preserved than my marriage.
I walked through empty rooms where children's voices no longer echoed and the kitchen door no longer banged with the call, "Mom, I'm home." I walked out to look at the names carved in the silver beech tree. The next day it belonged to someone else.
I put the box with the monster in my Ford and drove to a new life.