When I was 19 I packed my little orange Toyota Tercel with everything I owned at the time, and headed for the east coast.
Leaving the small town behind in search of a life of adventure by the sea. Never looked back.
And that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve made decisions and I’ve never looked back.
I didn’t know what lay ahead and I admit, I was a little scared.
It was the first time I had been on my own- away from family and friends.
The summer before I graduated high school, I had met an interesting lady working in a t-shirt shop while on vacation with my family. She gave me her name and number and said she would rent a room to me in her home, if I ever decided I wanted to move there. I was just crazy enough to do it, and I did.
It was the end of the following summer. I had $500.00 in my pocket, and no job when I moved in with almost total strangers. But I was close to the beach, and that is where I longed to be.
She lived in a big grey house right next to the Pocomoke River, along with several dogs, cats, and even a pet chicken. The chicken’s name was Chicka Chicka Choo Choo, which she called Choo Choo for short. It was a beautiful home. I rented a bedroom, and had full run of the rest of the house.
She was a sweet lady with one daughter, and a husband that spent the weekdays several hours away working to keep them in that house. He would come home on the weekends. They were nice people, and very good to me.
She used to take me around with her on the back roads of the eastern shore. I never knew where we might end up. We had wonderful adventures she and I.
We would visit thrift stores, antique shops, and little towns all up and down the shore between Virginia and Maryland. Often we would look inside of old abandoned houses, or homes that were for sale. It was with her that I discovered the house of my dreams, which I would visit again later in life, and contemplate buying.
I’ve always looked back at those times with her with a great fondness.
Then there was her crazy sister. She was like a bag lady that lived out of her car. Bleach blonde hair, fake eyebrows, and bright red lipstick. She drove around in an enormous brown car with garbage bags full of stuff. She took a lot of pills and when she spoke her voice was slurred. I liked her despite the fact that she stole some of my clothes, and ran up the bill of my private phone to hundreds of dollars.
It would turn into a part of my life that I would like to forget. I met a boy and thought I was in love. We ended up moving in together after a few months. My friends by the river told me it was a mistake. Of course I did not listen, and they were right. I didn’t see them very much after that.
The last time I saw the crazy sister she was pulling into the parking lot of my apartment complex, as I packed up my car yet again. This time I was secretly moving out while the boyfriend was at work 30 minutes away. She pulled up next to me and rolled down the window, and mumbled something about how I was doing the right thing, and good luck.
The boyfriend had become very controlling and abusive. There are many details about the relationship that I do not care to remember. I had made up my mind to leave, and knew he would try to stop me. I worked out the details of finding a place to go and planned everything with the help of a dear friend, who probably saved my life. That day when he left for work, I knew I was moving out. I never saw him again, thankfully.
I heard that the husband of the lady I had rented from died, after I moved to a neighboring town. It made me very sad. He was such a nice man. I never saw her again, but I have always regretted the way I left things. I wish I could tell her how much those times we spent together meant to me. I would tell her how much she helped me by giving me a place to live with her family, and making a start on my own. Although there was a dark period in that chapter of my life, she was a very lovely and wonderful part of it.
NOTE:I was able to locate the daughter of the lady I rented from on Facebook, and we are facebook friends. However, I have never had any contact with her mom.