Westward Ho: Bus saga part II

We sold the house in Virginia.  We were headed west. Sea, my husband, had worked for the Navy Department since he graduated from college. Now he had an opportunity to join a boat company in Washington. He was ready for the move. He had visited Bellingham many times to consult with Uniflite. Meanwhile, I was home with the kids… now in grades 5,3,2 and K. At last the tribe were in school. I took sewing classes. I was FREE in the morning (unless, of course, someone got sick)

I asked my hubby what Bellingham was like. I had traveled mainly in the New England area and he tried to think of some place that was similar. He really couldn’t. Every town on the east coast is connected to a major city: Boston, Hartford, NY etc. Bellingham was unique. You could live there and never see a big city, yet it had mountains, lakes and oceans. I was ready.  Our house was sold and all its contents  were on route west.

We put the old VW bus on a train headed west and we drove the newer bus to Mass. to visit my sister and parents for Christmas.  My sister was living in a house my parents bought because it had a small connected part for them, and a major house for my sister and her three kids. Her husband had died of diabetes when her kids were 5, 3, and 3 months. With my dad nearby for the boys and my mom for her comfort, things were going well for her.

We arrived  with our four kids in tow. Where we would fit in this house was not our decision but we did know for certain that if all 7 kids were together no one would get any sleep! Bill, age 8, was assigned to the floor in my mothers room. When he woke up in the morning, he asked where the train was…. Well, my mother just laughed and said it was her…snoring!

Christmas was a wild event with Mary’s kids and mine so close in age. We had seen each other often as we would visit the Cape together. Her two boys were about Bill’s age and her daughter close in age to one of mine.

It was both a sad day and a happy one when we got on the plane for the west. We would not be having summers on the Cape. It would be too far to travel. Yet we were headed to a new life, new house, new friends,and new schools. My mother’s last comment was, “We are only a plane ride away” and indeed they did visit us and we did traveled east a few times over the years.

Finally we were in Bellingham. We had the top floor of a local hotel, and meals downstairs to enjoy ’til the movers arrived with our stuff. One member of the tribe was not so happy with meals out as her repertoire consisted of peanut butter and jelly, but she managed. I thought it was great not to have to cook, and clean up, and grocery shop, etc.  for six. Well, it wore thin after a week. I was happy when we moved into our rented house.

The kids all entered school and enjoyed being “the new kid” for a while. Meanwhile I was at home organizing our “stuff” and waiting for the view of the mountains I had been promised.

The rain finally cleared by mid February and I saw them. I called Sea at work and said, “I can see them.”
“Where are you?” he asked.
“At home”

He gave me instructions about where to drive to really see THE MOUNTAINS…. meaning Mt Baker.

I had only been looking at the Canadian Cascades and they were far away. When I saw THE MOUNTAIN I was amazed. I could see why there was no comparison to what I knew in the east. It wasn’t the lack of a major city. It was the huge white lump of snow called Mt. Baker, and the smaller lump called Shuksan. I never stop marveling when “the mountains are out”.
(Oh, did you know it rains a lot here?)

Just for fun: photo of kids at Baker in spring of 1967

and another photo taken by my youngest daughter of her big sister on a hike there in July 2009

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4 Responses to Westward Ho: Bus saga part II

  1. Tam says:

    What a legacy your children have with all your posts! Such loving memories. I love the quote “the mountains are out.”

  2. elsie says:

    What adventures your life has held! That is a spectacular view.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I do enjoy your stories, especially the adventures of travel with four young children. It seems you loved your new place, especially when ‘the mountains were out’. I liked the separation of the kids at night, too. You’re right, no one would have slept if they’d been all together. And Tam is correct, to write these down for your family is wonderful, and you remember so many small things, like the question “where is the train”. Those are the family treasures!

  4. Wonderful pictures! I can just picture you and your sister and all the kids having a big time. I’m with Linda. Your words and stories are a wonderful gift. 🙂

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