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Li'l Ol' Moi - Page 5
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First Move

The time came when Dad was to be transferred to Arizona, and his family would need to go along. This despite wartime restrictions on travel. Elinor doesn't quite remember it the way I do, but my impression of the logistics of the move were that Mom and Dad would drive "Our Car" and Hale, now 18 or so, would take Danny, while Elinor would come along later with Grandma and Grandpa. (Dad would also come back later and pick up his government truck.) Me? I think I got shuttled between the two cars as the trip proceeded. Here again my recollections are necessarily fragmented...

I believe I started out with Mom and Dad in their car. First image � town lights through rain-streaked car windows in the evening. A town called Franklin. If that's Franklin, NC, then it was only about 50 miles from home. It must have been, because the Franklins in both Tennessee and Georgia (near Nashville and Atlanta respectively), while more or less in the right direction, are I think off the route we'd have taken. And I suspect that after the first few miles I wasn't paying enough attention to remember any place names.

Next significant event � waking up at a hotel to bustling consternation all around me, as we learned that Danny's engine had caught fire in the garage. Never did understand that � I was just old and smart enough to wonder how could a metal car motor catch fire!?! Nevertheless, we didn't get back to travelling for some time after that, though it seems to me it was a matter of hours, not a day, or days.

Riding with Hale, in Danny, sitting in his lap, pretending to drive. That was fun! Again, another time with Hale, I guess I'd been naughty, or gotten fussy or something, and he was annoyed with me. I asked him, "Aren't I your palsy-walsy any more?" I know, I know; from this perspective that's a bit too cute and barfy. But it meant enough to me then to stay with me all these years.

We stopped at one of those roadside novelty shops somewhere, and they had a monkey in a cage. Despite warnings, I got too close to it and it suddenly reached out and tried to grab my glasses. Problem was, I hadn't yet started to wear glasses. Its sharp fingernails scratched the temple right next to my right eye; it got infected and didn't heal for quite a while. Lesson: pay attention to warnings about potentially dangerous animals.

Road mirages. What a fascinating discovery! There they'd be, water clearly pooled and shimmering on the road ahead, but disappearing to wisps and then nothing as we arrived where they'd been. Endlessly interesting phenomenon to a child � and I'm still delighted with them, even though I know now how they're made. One of the disappointments in my life is that I've never seen a sky mirage...that I know of.

Driving along mountainside roadways, cliffs on both sides � but the ones on one side definitely going the wrong direction. (I still haven't learned to find fear exciting.) We pass the Salt River Canyon in New Mexico � that was exciting. Why, I don't remember � I don't have a visual image of it any more, and I haven't seen it again since we moved away from Arizona a couple of years later � but it may have seemed spectacular to me then. I do associate those two elements � the cliffs and the canyon � that could be why I remember the name (well, that, and the fact that I wondered why it wasn't more white, like salt), though why the negative association with the one and the positive with other I can't say, now.

End of the journey � we cross a cattle guard and drive up to the end of a row of small, squarish houses, each surrounded by square, flat lawns. Each house is on stilts at least a foot or two high. On the left as we pass along the driveway is a long building that I have to assume now was a garage. After a bit of a conference among adults outside, we return back down to the first house. The front door is on the far side (though there's a rear door off the kitchen in back, toward the driveway), and when we go to look in, there's a huge pile of furniture and boxes and things inside the otherwise bare interior. My mental image stops there � I have to assume we went elsewhere temporarily, until the furniture could be arranged and the boxes sorted out and all, but I have no memory of that.

Bio Page 2

Chapter 1 All About Li'l Ol' Me
Chapter 2 Wandering Roots
Chapter 3 Early Memories
Chapter 4 Family
Chapter 6 In Arizona
Chapter 7 Deep In the Heart of Texas
Chapter 8 Postwar Years
Chapter 9 Grade School Daze
Chapter 10 Under Construction

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