We each took turns sitting on the floorboard of the u-haul truck. There weren’t enough seats for all of us to fit. Two on the seat with Mommy and Daddy and two on the floorboard on pillows.
Daddy had come home. He left when I was in the first grade and had been gone for three years. Memories of him leaving and coming home have faded. All I knew was that I was told this man who was in our home was Daddy.
We’d been happy at Clark homes. After he left we moved from our big white house to these little apartments. Mom took good care of us there and we had good friends. She didn't drive, so we walked everywhere, no matter what the weather was like (even in the snow). When we went to the grocery store we brought along our wagon to carry the groceries home in.
My sisters, Joan, Marie and I played happily together while James, who was just a baby, stayed home with Mom. One of my fondest memories from Clark Homes was the day we celebrated my birthday. We had a little party. Not at my house, but with some of the neighborhood kids. Joan had the idea to make hats for my party out of newspaper. It's such a great memory. Kids didn't have birthday parties in those days ... at least not that we knew of.
During these years Mom babysat and ironed for people. She was a strong woman and worked hard to make money for our little family. I suppose we were poor, although we didn't know it. I didn't know it.
In the days to follow his homecoming, my siblings and I would find out that our life was changing drastically. Flagstaff and Clark Homes would no longer be our home.
The u-haul truck was filled with everything from our home. We all climbed in and found our spots. We stopped for Thanksgiving dinner but the restaurant was out of all the good pies, so we carried our mincemeat pies out in little cardboard boxes. I don't think any of us kids were going to eat them. We arranged ourselves once again some on the seat and some on the floorboard and continued on.
The drive was long. We traded spots many times over the next several hours. When it was my turn on the floorboard I would watch the shadows the truck made on the side of the road through the little window at the bottom of the door. I can still picture them, moving up and down with the changes in the landscape that lined the highway. They seemed to be following us all the way on that drive to our new home in California.
We were all together again. One happy family.
This was somewhere around 1966.