Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Week 40 of 2012 - Leaving Michigan headed for Phoenix

This is my second draft of leaving home. While writing the first draft, I realized that my true leaving home occurred later than I first thought.  My first leaving home was as a 16 year old and I spoke of it in a previous blog. I have had several opportunities to leave home and today I will talk about the second one. My second leaving home was a leap of faith much like the first leaving was but I think I was more frightened.  It was when I took my job with Storage Technology in Phoenix.  From the time we decided that the position in Phoenix was the right move for our family a whirl wind of events occurred.  First we had to tell our parents about the decision we had made.  My parents were a bit apprehensive but supportive.  I would be their first daughter to move away and I was not just moving a state or two away.  I was moving across the country and a three hour airplane ride away.   At that time, I did not know anyone who had done such a thing.   Gary’s parents were not very happy with me.  They thought this whole this was a stupid plan and I should just grow up.  They thought that I should find a job in Michigan and that Gary should not be encouraging me.  They felt that he should not leave his job and that he should just force the issue with me.  They gave Gary a raise and said, “Tell Jan to go home and take care of her babies and stop all this nonsense.”  She can come and work at the restaurant like the rest of the Tietz’s.   I became the enemy who was taking their son away from them and the family business.  The more they tried to exert their control over us, the more Gary and I fought it.  

Christmas 1981 - our last Christmas in Michigan
 We began to tell our friends and before we knew it, a “going away bash “ was planned with all our friends. The party was at Mike and Laurie Dodge’s on Ginger Drive.  It was a close knit group of friends and I was sad to leave them but excited for my new adventure.  Most could not believe I was actually going and truthfully I do not think that any of them thought it was a permanent move. That night Gary got into the whiskey down stairs with the guys, He never drank whiskey and in 45 minutes he was drunk.  The kind of drunk that you do not remember what you even did.  I realized on the drive home that he was much more nervous about our decision than I had thought.  As he threw up in the side yard, I went into the house to get the baby sitter and took her home.  She was surprised that we came home after only being gone an hour or so…and so was I!  She noticed Gary in the side yard as we backed out of the drive, “Is he alright?” she asked.  “Yes”  I told her, “ he had too much to drink! He’ll be passed out when I get home and won’t remember it in the morning” So much for “my going away” party. 

We put the house on the market with the hope that it would sell in a hurry so Gary and the kids could join me sooner rather than later.   I was concerned about Gary being left behind and the influence that his parents might have on our decision. The real estate market was less than stellar and interest rates were high so the house did not sell quickly as we had hoped.  I saw an attorney and gave Gary power of attorney for me so if it sold after I left, I would not need to come home to sign papers. I bought my one way plane ticket to Phoenix set to fly out there the 28th of January.   I started to pack up my things.  I went through my clothes and took things that I knew I would use in Phoenix.  I had to buy some suits for work.  I donated clothes that I no longer needed knowing that I would not be back home to help Gary pack our house up.

I did my best to explain to my children what was happening.  I told them that their mother would be starting a job in a town that was far away.  I told them that for now you will stay with your Dad and your Grandparents until we could sell the house or when Shawn get out of school for the summer, which ever came first.  After that, we will be together again.  They seemed to understand but I could not be sure.  It was a lot to take in for an 8 year old and a 4 year old. I explained it over and over again that it was temporary…Mommy is not leaving you.  Mommy is going ahead of you to start a job and get a place for us to live and soon you will come to live where Mommy is.  But to a small child, when Mommy gets on an airplane without you, she’s leaving you.

January 28th came and I got on my plane bound for Phoenix. The tears flowed freely as I sat on the plane realizing that I did not know when I would see my kids or my husband again.  I was scared, sad, excited, thrilled and full of heighten anticipation of what this new adventure would bring. I would not allow myself to think that it could go wrong!  It was going to work out and I was certain of it!  It was my first plane ride and I was all alone.  I would be met at the airport by my new boss.  He had made temporary living arrangement for me with the mother-in-law of one of his employees.  I would rent a room from her and an extra car for a few weeks until I had time to make arrangement for myself.

My new roommate, Jan Synder
 I would room with another Jan, her name was Jan Snyder. This is a story for another time.  I started work on the following Monday reporting promptly at 8 AM to the office on Bethany Home Road and the I-17 frontage road.

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