Unlike when we were leaving New York, I'll be writing this multipart moving post all post-move. The couple of weeks leading up to our multistate move were among the most stress-filled and physically and emotionally draining of my life, so I had no time or energy to write on my blog.
I went through bags and bags of papers—old newspaper clippings about me from when I was a child or teenager, usually involving some academic achievement, and also many written by me as a reporter; all of the materials from the graduate programs in ecology I applied for back in the late '90s; report cards; test scores; magazine and newspaper articles I thought I’d be eager to reread some day but never really gave any thought to until this month; rubber-banded greeting cards separated by special occasion—and memorabilia1, including mix tapes friends made for me, back when people made mix tapes, and the only first-place-in-age-group medal I ever won in a 5K race I ran in. I discarded 95+ percent of it all. And that felt like a big achievement. I took photos of some of the stuff I thought I might want to remember, so I’ll probably be cursing myself at some point for all of the storage space all those pix are taking up. 😆
I'll share a handful of those photos here on the blog, some now and some in later parts of this post. For instance, here's that medal:
It's now in a landfill, and I'm perfectly OK with that. The important thing is that I remember I once earned it. And here are the race results showing Bill Hawley, 29, of Trenton as the first-place male aged 25 to 29:
If you click on the photo to enlarge it and check out the other categories, you can see that all of the men in the next two older age brackets beat my time. But that made the victory even sweeter: It was a bit of good fortune to be in my group, with a bunch of relative slowpokes. 😉
I came across a bunch of materials from Equality Begins at Home, a nationwide push for advancement in equal rights for LGBT people in March 1999 that I became involved with thanks to the Trenton Gay and Lesbian Civic Association. Along with three fellow members of TGLCA, I was on the 19-member steering committee for EBAH-NJ, whose main legislative objective was a domestic partnership law. The bill we hoped to advance was heterosexual inclusive and not strictly based on romantic relationships, so, for example, if the mother of a man whose wife had passed away moved in with her son to help him raise her grandchildren, the mother and son could declare themselves domestic partners and so gain some of the financial benefits of marriage. EBAH-NJ also sought to raise awareness of the harassment sexual-minority students (and students perceived as being a sexual minority) faced in school and of LGBT-specific health issues. Here's a page from the EBAH program listing the committee members and explaining the issues:
I don't recall for sure but I strongly suspect I wasn't involved in writing the program, because I want to edit the shit out of that page. 😀
Here's the cover of the program:
And here's the opening spread, with a proclamation from then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman *yawn* and a page about the origins of EBAH as a nationwide campaign:
You'll no doubt have to click on the photo to make the words big enough to read.
On Jan. 12, 2004, then-Governor (and then-closeted) Jim McGreevey signed into law New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act. The heterosexual inclusiveness we'd pushed for five years earlier was retained in a provision establishing that opposite-sex couples could become domestic partners if they were 62 or older—a move clearly aimed at enabling widows and widowers to retain benefits from their deceased spouse while gaining some of the benefits of a new not-quite-marriage.
I gave away all of the Martha Stewart Living magazines I’d been holding on to all these years; the earliest one was December 2000. I left them out at the top of our driveway, opposite our garage, and a nice woman picked them up to share with her older relatives. I later found another box of MSLs, plus some Sweet Paul and Uppercase mags, and the woman came and got those too.
I remain a big fan of MSL, but I couldn't justify paying someone to haul those magazines 1,200 miles. I scanned through some of the back issues and checked out all of the covers, almost all of which were very impressive. I'd love to know the back story behind this one, which I don't think would pass muster for a Hershey's Syrup print ad:
I sold or gave away many big pieces of furniture, household appliances, and tools, including the snow blower that Tony bought last year and that we used only once. A sweet woman from Long Branch who is planning to start a foster family rented a U-Haul cargo van to take away our used-less-than-half-a-dozen-times twin beds. That was on Thursday, the day before Tony flew down to Fort Lauderdale and Missy and Brad took a car service down to our almost entirely empty house in the evening, after Brad got home from work. M&B drove me and the dogs the whole way to Fort Lauderdale, where they checked into their hotel for a much-deserved rest a little after 1:30 on Easter Sunday morning. I'll write more about the road trip in later parts of the post.
I sold my chest freezer, a medium-sized freezerless refrigerator (both of which I'd used for my frozen dessert business), and one of our well-past-their-prime wooden lounge chairs we had on Jane Street that I didn’t think anyone would possibly be interested in. A couple at our yard sale, on April 8, asked if the chairs and the matching little wooden table were for sale. I pointed out that one of the chairs had a crack in it, so they rejected that chair. But they paid good money for the other two pieces!
The biggest relief was when shipping-company movers liberated my hardening cabinet from the basement. I could write an entire post about that motherfucking thing and all of the hardships it caused me, but I’ll tell the tale in a footnote below2. I had joked with Missy and Brad in an email last week that I'd start telling them the saga of the hardening cabinet during the 10th hour of the drive. "And I'll still be talking about it in hour 11! 😜"
I'd hoped to get together in the city with Missy and my copy-editing friends from the magazine sometime earlier this month. But I wrote them an email saying there was no way it was going to happen, that I was running out of time to get everything done at the house that I needed to get done. That email started a chain of emails among us all, including one in which I made a confession: "I fully accepted on Monday that I’m a bit of a hoarder. I always denied it when Tony would suggest I was because I don’t hoard stuff that’s clearly garbage. But I’m inclined to keep anything that makes me feel connected emotionally to someone." And I noted the aforementioned mix tapes and greeting cards. After one of my friends wrote about having to sort through the stuff her mother had accumulated—including Playbills from every play she saw—after her mother's death, I replied: "My father went through the experience of having to sort through all of his mother’s collected stuff when she went into the nursing home a couple of years ago, and it’s been on my mind that I don’t want to hang on to stuff that will be a problem for someone else, either Tony or the 'phews. So this whole experience has me thinking of the mortality of my Dad, my Granny, me, and Tony. Woot! Good times!"
And now to wrap up Part I, here are photos of the now-recycled program for the hilarious production of When Pigs Fly that my ex Steve (whom I met thanks to our mutual involvement in the TGLCA) and I caught in Key West during a trip to South Florida, including a stop in Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors, in March 1999, right after the main EBAH-NJ events:
1Christine Ebersole's amazing performance of that brilliant song moves me at least to the verge of tears—and sometimes past that point—every time I listen to it. Every. Time.
2A hardening cabinet, aka blast chiller, is basically a super-cold freezer. It’s one of the two machines (the other one being a batch freezer) that frozen dessert makers are supposed/expected to have. So I bought one. I got a large one, though not the largest one possible, because there was very little price difference between the large one and a countertop-size one that wouldn’t have held much at all. It took many weeks longer than I would have thought reasonable for my HC to be delivered. By that time, I’d started making my frozen desserts at the gun club, and I knew the textures of my dairy and vegan products were quite pleasing using only a conventional freezer. I was curious to learn how much the hardening cabinet would improve them. I never found out. I had planned to have the HC delivered to the gun club, but I realized that since I didn’t have a key to the place, I’d have to rely on somebody—Sheila, Jack, Kurt, or someone they designated—to help me retrieve my products from the HC, possibly on weekend mornings. I decided I’d have it delivered to our home instead. I could start freezing my products in the freezer at the club and, when I was done for the day, bring them the very short distance home to finish freezing in the HC. Not an ideal situation, but I thought it was the best solution at the time. I failed to take into account the heights of the HC and our basement ceiling. The HC fit down there but not with enough room to allow for adequate air circulation above the compressor, which is at the very top of the unit. So I never turned it on. *sigh* There’s more to this story. Much much more. I will continue the story—and probably, but not definitely, complete it—in a footnote in Part II of this post.