The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Goodbye Hello

In a great green room there was a telephone…

Goodbye, room.

It’s a good thing that teenagers are mostly obnoxious because putting up with obnoxious stuff day after day lessens the grief and pain when they move out.

It’s a good thing Kansas flung 100 degree + weather at us this week…and that packing up the dregs takes soo much time ane energy and attention.  At the moment, anyway, I’m glad the moving out weekend has arrived and we can be done with all the work of the past few months and on to the work of moving and settling into Portland, Oregon.

Goodbye drippy hot days.

We once moved into a house in Grand Forks, ND in January, harsh winter, and had to have the doors open all day as the movers hauled furniture and boxes from the truck into the house.  Soon ice might as well have been hanging from the lamps, even though we had the heater running full blast.

This weekend, the team moving boxes out of our house had both doors open in Kansas July, and the heat steamed up mirrors and my glasses, even though we had the air conditioning on.

Goodbye boxes.







I hope I won’t hate myself when I open you–and say, “Why did I drag that along from my old life?”

Moving is a time to remember who you are and what you’ve left behind and what is important to hoist on your shoulders to the new life.

Goodbye Farmer’s Market and gardens that I immersed myself in while I was writing the Lanie books.  Part of any published book becomes the past, for me.  Part of it carries right along.  A book is always new to the person picking it up for the first time and reading it.

Goodbye neighbors and community here.

Everyone who was part of the moving was prompt and efficient and friendly and, well, nice.  These pods were dropped into our driveway, loaded with our things, picked up again, and put onto a truck.  Smooth as butter.

Goodbye town life.  I haven’t lived in a big city (okay, I know some people think of Portland as a small city, but they haven’t lived in Grand Forks) since I was in my twenties.

As we packed, we stumbled onto pieces of ourselves we’d left behind.   We deliberately lost this pacifier, once upon a time, because the little girl who loved it so fiercely and determinedly that she named it Mine was not about to give it up.  Ever.

At seventeen, I deliberately left Ethiopia a year earlier than I had to because I was ready to have new adventures and learn how to become an American.  Once here I lived in Monmouth, Chicago, and Carbondale (Illinois), Trinidad (Colorado), Grand Forks (North Dakota), Hesston and Lawrence (Kansas).  I didn’t want to try to talk about Ethiopia where people didn’t understand or care.  It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I realized one always pays a price for chopping off bits of one’s past.

Like the 6000 saplings that were woven into this piece that graces a corner of the KU campus–The Bedazzler–I’ve tried, for years, to weave Ethiopia back into my life.

I’m still trying to explore everything it gave me.

Trying to give back.

Trying to think well about what kept me strong at all the turning points and what I might be able to share with kids in Ethiopia and the U.S. that will keep them strong in the turning points of their lives…

…which leads, of course, to books and stories.

Goodbye nobody.

I’m glad for all the people and ideas and dreams and hard work that will follow me right down the path.

6 thoughts on “Goodbye Hello”

  1. Jane, I love this line; it’s so true, and so eloquently stated here: “Moving is a time to remember who you are and what you’ve left behind and what is important to hoist on your shoulders to the new life.” So poignant. 🙂

  2. Jane, Maa salaama, safe travels to you and Leonard. Thank you for the lovely meditation on good byes and keeping a coherent life amid the hither and yon. We still haven’t gotten Rosalyn back to the state in which she was born, so perhaps this means we’ll see you one year not too distant.
    With love,

  3. Jane, Thanks for drawing my attention to these moving posts on moving. So many thoughts. First, I am in the process of purging at thirty years of accumulation in my home and office. No I am not moving. I am just tired of holding on to everything and carrying it forward. I was afraid that if I didn’t hold on to it, I would forget. Guess what happened? I let go and I literally ran into people I hadn’t seen in years. Ahh, perfect.

    It’s so fitting that you are returning to your beginnings in Oregon. I just made my annual pilgrimage to my soul’s home: I wonder if I will ever return there.

    I love you, Jane. I am so glad to be a part of your tribe.

    • I’m glad to be on this letting-go journey with several of my tribe right now…and glad that other people, too, are asking the scary question, “If I let go of things and stop carrying them forward, will I forget?” I did see, going through a flood, how many memories are rooted in places and in stuff. But we do clog up our lives, don’t we? The house here is small and the purging (and questions) will continue…I wish I had a wise village elder to visit and give me some advice!


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