I sank even deeper from frantically boxing up books I wanted to keep and carrying the heavy boxes into the spare room, lining them along the wall. I could not possibly take 500+ books with me. I bagged up most of them to donate to the Shepard’s Inn and Goodwill. Each day I was soaked with perspiration and exhaustion. I couldn’t accept the help offered because I had to choose which books to keep.
I woke at midnight with pounding heart palpitations. Message: no more carrying super heavy boxes of books. I adjusted my routine and carried piles of books into the room, over and over again, then boxed them.
The following midnight my guide came to me with a message. ‘Stay calm. This move is meant to be. All will be well.’
For 2 years I looked in the South Hill area for an apartment to rent. The only one I found had 40 other applicants waiting in line ahead of me. House maintenance dragged me deeper and deeper. I just couldn’t keep up with taking care of all the little things than need attention. I loved my home but could not manage the work involved to upkeep it any more. The City even sent a notice to me-cut your grass or we will cut it for you. Not beneficial to me, I knew. Thankfully, I found someone to take care of cutting the grass regularly. That was one less job to drain my energy. That brought me super high again.
The buyers came with the inspector. I liked them immediately! This house needs young people to fill it, but more than that, a joyful energy came in the door with them. I couldn’t have chosen a better fit for the house if I had hand-picked them. As we chatted a little bit, I was even more impressed and pleased. I liked meeting who was moving in to take over the house. The house is more than sticks and stone, it deserves good people. Another high.
The Captain and I returned to our normal routine but it took him nearly a week to trust me again. Then his desire to be stroked and petted overcame him and he leapt up onto my lap nuzzling me with his face. He even climbs around my neck and rests on my shoulder.
When I came out from my bedroom early this morning, it hit me! My walls are naked of my cherished paintings and hangings. My several bookcases are empty of the books I hauled around for the last 20 years, some even longer. It must be true! I am moving away! For the last couple of weeks my life has been a Coney Island Roller Coaster-the biggest one from the good ole days.
I’ve gone from super high when my house sold for more than the asking price to the deepest pits when I learned that the senior apartment a found had overnight changed from one that fit my budget to one that didn’t. I love the area of Farmville, Virginia. Now, oh, my! Was I going to be homeless because, according to statistics, I have a low income? Near panic set in! I knew I could bunk with one of my friends, but why chance losing a friendship? It would only be a band-aid answer to an open wound situation anyway.
To make matters better, I found the perfect home for the Captain with a friend who would bond with him and I was sure, vice-verse. Then I tried putting him in the cat carrier after my friend Charlene talked to him, explaining about my move and being unable to take him with me. He understood and noticed the changes in the house i.e. boxes beginning to pile up. That made matters worse. He fought me, paws swinging out, yowling at me. He got away and ran away only to return at suppertime. He only came to the bowl when I was out of reach. I waited a few days, this time I closed the sun room door and scooped him up in a beach towel. Since he wouldn’t fit in the carrier I slipped him into a box on the front seat of the car. Got his food bowl and popped the trunk to put it in, and the Captain popped out! And ran away. Whew! I gave up. Put this business on the back burner and returned to packing up my books.
More to come. . . .or as long as my sanity holds out!
Mrs. Rosalind Gertner (Lakewood New Jersey High School Social Studies Department Chairperson, white and Jewish) wrote this in my 1967 yearbook:
“A young woman with your brains and of your race has a very hard line to walk between two worlds. I’ve seldom met anyone with your ability to do it successfully – My best wishes go with you – affectionately, Roz Gertner.”
Thank God for allowing me to grow and flourish among so many wise and wonderful people. At first I thought Mrs. Gertner was ignoring the recent mid-sixties Civil Rights victories. She, like my father, Deacon William Butler, knew that those laws were only tiny baby steps toward a better direction.
My father once said, “Laws don’t change people’s hearts.”
Because of my father, Mrs. Gertner and others, I have survived and thrived on that very hard line Mrs. Gertner described in 1967.
I am ready to begin conversations with red, yellow, black and white about how we humans can start taking steps to be who God wants us to be – you know, loving, kind and considerate to each other.
To my friends and family, we all are part of God’s family, so let us start helping others to be part of that family and to take bigger steps toward the healing needed in the United States and the world; and let’s let God’s love shine through each of us to each other.