I meant to tell you the rest of what happened during the move, but time got away, or at least it proceeded at its usual pace while I dallied. Here’s the gist:

I got back out to Chicago, leaving my pregnant wife behind, only to have her call me the next morning at work and tell me that her car had been stolen from our driveway. And, of course, I, retaining a bit of that free-spirited devil-may-care attitude, hadn’t gotten any theft insurance on it. The police came and took our information, but didn’t look for it, because what are they going to do, comb the streets for a Honda CR-V? They did find another stolen car across the street from us, in a condemned house where a few squatters were living, the same house in front of which another car had been found not long before. But that was certainly a coincidence.

A few weeks later, settled into our new apartment, we received a police report of the incident along with a photo of our beloved car, stripped bare, upside down, in a forest in Pennsylvania. We had to pay to have it removed.

We had to rent a car to complete our original plan, of driving across to Chicago with our most precious things. We stopped at Penn State along the way, the first time since 1999 or so. The place was rather different, as expected. The HUB was looking good, and on the lawn a band was playing to a large crowd as rain threatened. We wandered over to Atherton Hall, where the bad things (hallways) had been left intact and the good things (TV lounges) removed to make for more claustrophobic quarters, at least at first glance. We wandered down College Ave. and took shelter from a downpour in a clothing store, where we bought our baby a shirt. In City Lights record store I saw the owner Ken Kubala, looking much pudgier, who certainly wouldn’t remember me after our brief acquaintance a decade ago. The rest of the downtown was rather different, more national chains, fewer bagel places, no Daily Grind, though my old Uni-Mart was still there. The apartment on Nittany Ave. was charming as ever; not much had changed there. We had dinner at the Corner Room.

All in all it was good to visit. Going back to a place like that is a good barometer on the progress of your life. If you’re displeased with your life, returning to the place that held all the promise of the future will leave a bad taste in your mouth. If you’re happy with how things turned out, you’ll be thankful for the opportunities and enjoy seeing the new crowds experiencing their own first taste of freedom. 

Being back here gave us another kind of freedom, a strange interlude between the past and future, between a past that was once our future (Providence) and a future that we had thought was past (Chicago). We happy to turn away from the old life in Rhode Island, a life of enjoyment and promise only partially fulfilled, a slate we were happy to wipe clean with a return to the Midwest.

It’s been over a month, and we like it here. We got new furniture. Mike and Cynthi sold us an old car for a song. Andy and Laura cameout from D.C., and Cindy and Sergio came down from Madison, and had a great time together while showing off all our new servingware. (Yes!) (Speaking of which, Good luck in Italy, Cindy and Sergio! Update your blog often, and I promise to read it!) It’s a comfortable place, a place where I can sit on the back porch and write in my blog (though this is the first time I’ve done that) as my wife attends her knitting class.

It will be a good place to have a baby, once we have the baby room set up, maybe paint the walls, get a crib, changing table, some other furniture. Of course I’ll be looking back at these days as B.B., before baby, I’m sure, having trouble remembering what life was like before we had a baby, when we could sleep, go out, do what we wanted, without this infernal bundle of joy weighing us down, right, knowing parents?

By the way, we’re having a girl. Should be an adventure.