Don Fried — Playwright & Author

I’m still a Movin’ Man

Posted on: January 2, 2009

moving-manI’ve spent the last two weeks in Austin, Texas, helping Rhonda move apartments.   We’re not unfamiliar with the drill, having moved 12 times in the first 5 years after we were married.  At this point, after 37 years of marriage, our move count is somewhere in the upper 20s.   As you can imagine, with all that experience, we got pretty good at it.  After some of those moves, we had every box unpacked and every picture hung on the wall the same afternoon.  And one time we actually had a party in our apartment the evening of the move!

Rhonda has always been incredibly organized, but I developed a lot of my skill working for North American Van Lines out of Wilmington, Delaware for a year while I was in graduate school at the University of Delaware in 1972-73.    Try carrying furniture and boxes up and down stairs for 40 – 80 hours a week while you’re going to school.  That’ll cripple you or get you into fantastic shape.

Many nights during that summer, I would get home from a move after 11 pm and get to bed after midnight.  Then I’d have to be up before dawn the next morning to make it to the depot by 6 a.m.  so we could drive somewhere, load a house all day, drive somewhere else, and unload the house all in the same day.  One week we loaded, unloaded, or drove for 72 hours straight.

So it’s not surprising I ended up a little schizoid.  The few hours of sleep I did manage to get at home were filled with nightmares.  A truck would drive by outside our window, and I’d slide off the bed and try to pull the mattress off the box spring, with Rhonda screaming and beating me over the head with a pillow.

In those days Rhonda was a very light sleeper.  Our clock radio had electron tubes, and Rhonda would always wake up to the click of the clock, before the unit had warmed up and the music started.  She’d turn the clock off, and lean over and kiss me on the cheek to awaken me.  And I’d crawl out of bed and get ready for work.

One night, I was awakened by a slap across the face instead of a kiss.  “OK, ” I thought, “she’s in a bad mood today.”  So I got up, got dressed, and ate breakfast — all in the dark as I did in order not to awaken her again — got in the car and headed off to Wilmington.  About 45 minutes later I arrived at the depot and found it closed.  It was only then that I looked at my watch.  It was 2:15 a.m.  Rhonda hadn’t awakened to the click of the clock radio.  She was rolling over in her sleep and slugged me.  And I was so exhausted and programmed to work around the clock that I had gotten up and gone to work.

All those memories came back to me this past week.  Although we were hiring someone to carry the heavy pieces of furniture, we were doing everything else ourselves.  For 4 days, Rhonda packed boxes and I carried them and small pieces of furniture down the stairs and loaded them into our van.  Then we drove to the new apartment, and I carried them back up the stairs at the other end.

The first day or two were really rough.  You see what happens?  You’re minding your own business and suddenly, 35 years later, you’re not in the kind of shape that you were when you were 21.

But then, miraculously, it started to come back.  I made literally hundreds of trips up and down those stairs, and by the end I was able to do it all day long, carrying two boxes at a time ON MY BACK.

I briefly considered going out and trying to find work with a moving company.  But then I realized that with my plans to become a professional boxer, my moving career will have to wait.

1 Response to "I’m still a Movin’ Man"

Gee…. schizoid huh at the age of what?? I thought that goes away at some point Don??? What happened?????

And as for the career as a professional boxer, you have too much of a pretty boy face. You wouldn’t want to mark that up would you?

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