Each new week seems to bring with it more and more life-changing events. Last Friday, Miss Veeka had her last day of kindergarten so there were lots of festivities with her little classmates, who are shown here along with Veeka’s teacher, Miss Rosa (wearing white) who this summer will become Mrs. Bush, I think, as she is getting married quite soon. Anyway, it was lovely to attend the ceremonies with all the kids singing their little songs. As I had decided to hold Veeka back a year, this was a repeat year in kindergarten for her and, I believe, it was a good decision to delay her entry into first year. It’s even become fashionable holding one’s child back. They’re calling it “redshirting” these days.
However, her last days in kindergarten were bittersweet, as she found herself unexpectedly having to bid farewell to her little chums in more ways than one. BECAUSE her mommy got a job and we are moving to Tennessee. How did this happen? Well, when the journalism professor at Union University, a 4,400-student institution in Jackson, Tenn. (60 miles east of Memphis) turned in his resignation, it was too late for the school to siphon off a professor from another college in that everyone had already signed their 2012-2013 contracts by then. UU, as it’s called by some, also was thinking of getting someone who had spent major time in the field as opposed to life as an academic, so my name popped up, among others. I was called in early May, so I did one interview with the department head, a second with several professors and a third with one of the deans. By May 15, I knew I was the top candidate and by May 18, I knew I’d be flying in for an interview.
I arrived Sunday, June 3, spent the next day seeing what the local real estate was like plus visiting one of the schools and just getting the lay of the land. Spent the 5th on campus all day talking with many, many people. Mercifully, the weather was not too hot, as I was in nylons and a suit! Everyone was super friendly, we all liked each other and so I flew back early Wednesday morning the 6th. I got the job offer that afternoon, accepted it that night and signed the contract two days later. On Thursday the 7th, met with a realtor and signed all the necessary documents and had only one day (Friday) to completely clean and stage the house. Why the rush? Well, most homes for sale have been listed for some time now, so mine was late on the market. Also, I had planned my one vacation of the summer for the week of June 9; there were hotel reservations pending and so I really had to leave that Saturday morning. Turns out I didn’t leave til almost noon, as I had to pack for 2 people, finish staging the house, pay a contractor who’s been working on my home for the past 2 weeks, then climb into my car. The first stop was in Philly for a few hours to see an Icelandic scholar and his wife, both of whom I’ve been wanting to meet for some time. We spent Saturday night at a friend’s place in New Jersey and I arrived there too exhausted to even think.
As I write this, we are on our second night in York Harbor, Maine, and it has been very pleasant albeit a lot colder than points south. It’s funny how, at some point when you’re driving north, you notice how the light has changed. Beyond a certain latitude, I always noticed (as I did last summer when driving to Canada), that the sky has a different cast to it and the angle of the sun is different when you’re 500 or so miles to the north. In these latitudes I don’t need sunglasses like I do further south because the slant of the sunlight is not so intense. Although there is a stunning amount of things to do and think about for the next two months, I am trying to rest for a few days and not think of much. “Rest,” however, is a relative term when you have a 7-year-old talking at you non-stop. I am still getting used to the idea that I am finally leaving the Washington area after 16 1/2 years there. I have no family anywhere near Tennessee so that will be a huge adjustment, as we’ll be leaving my brother Rob, his wife, Jan, and Veeka’s godparents behind in Maryland.