The Move

Published on 16 May 2023 at 19:52

I have very vague and random memories of when we moved from Arizona to Ohio. I remember being told we were moving to be near family. I found this confusing because at the time my entire family basically lived in Arizona. My grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncles, cousins, granny goose….everyone I knew and loved. What I did not understand as a child is we were moving to be by Daddy’s (Lee) family. Reflecting now as an adult, I also believe we moved so that he would have total control. No more grandma and grandpa to the rescue.

I will say that Daddy made it sound like this great adventure. And in some ways it really was! I remember squishing into what felt like a too small vehicle for four kids and two adults to fit in. If memory serves me I believe my brother traveled mainly on the floor of the car and us girls in the back. I cannot remember if we stayed in any hotels or just the car. I mainly just remember two stops along the way and our arrival.


We stopped in New Mexico to see Carl’s Bad Caverns. I remember how fascinating I found the stalagmites and stalactites and that it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I recall stepping on a bee at some point and it hurting. And  I remember watching all those bats fly out of the cave! It felt magical and gave me hope that this new life I was headed to would be full of just as many magical moments.

The other stop was at I think an aunt of Daddy’s. I really cannot remember. I just remember I thought she was really nice and had a very nice home. I remember she had this huge stuffed animal snake that I played with and somewhere there is a photo of me with it. It’s strange how memory fails you and that only certain memories are clear while others are hazy.


I do remember arriving in Ohio. It was full of trees and green (and humidity) with rolling hills. The house we moved into was not as impressive. We moved into a house that belonged to someone in Daddy’s family in a small town called Claysville. The house had a living room, small kitchen, one bathroom and only two bedrooms. We used blankets as beds for what seemed like forever. We took turns sleeping on a mattress that was on the floor. We also had a kerosene heater (which smelled awful) to heat this old tiny home in the harsh Ohio winter. 


I remember meeting my new grandma and grandpa and two aunts. Grandpa Hardy seemed nice but the other three looked down at us as if we were stray dogs. I recall the ugly looks they gave Mommy and couldn’t understand why they didn’t seem to like us very much. I’m still to this day not sure if they ever really liked us or what was going through their heads. I just knew I missed my real family and Arizona. 

When I started school at New Concord Elementary the kids thought I talked funny and asked if I was from another country. I remember finding it odd that all the kids looked like me (a.k.a. white). I was used to going to school with a variety of different students and many who spoke Spanish. Now I was in this small town surrounded by kids who thought I was different. It made me feel like an outsider. I eventually adjusted and to this day sound like an “Ohioan” and I do claim it as my home state as it is where I spent the majority of my life growing up.


I also remember during our initial adjustment to life in Ohio we had our first experience with lice. Yes…yuck! My Mommy did not know what the little bugs in our hair were so she took one in a jar to the health department. That is how we learned about lice. And we had it several times while living in that house. We kept getting it from the neighbor kids we had become friends with. I remember Mommy spending hours treating our hair and getting all the eggs out. All of us girls had long hair too. I am not sure how she had the patience for this.


Life was different in Ohio and the biggest difference was that life was tough. There was more yelling and throwing of things. More anger, more hunger, and being cold a lot. The hopes of this big happy new family was quickly shattered. In this house is also where Mommy got pregnant with her fifth child (Daddy’s first with Mommy). One of my new aunts was so cruel and hateful towards my Mommy and one time almost pushed her down the stairs and grandma Hardy’s house. I just couldn’t understand why we were in such a sad and lonely place.


It was also during this time I remember taking a three day trip on a Greyhound bus with Mommy and my three siblings back to Arizona. I can remember the creepy people on the bus who watched us. I also remember the horrid smell of the tiny bathroom! We stayed with grandma and grandpa and I was so happy again. I thought we were going to start over. I thought we were going to stay in Arizona with our family. My new sister was born and everything for a moment felt peaceful and perfect. Soon after however, we returned to our tiny home in Ohio and back to Daddy.

This photo was taken at the person's house we stayed at.

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a year ago

I think her name was Aunt Juanita in Oklahoma.