The Three-Week Move to North Carolina

April 9, 2009 at 11:47 am | Posted in Our Love Story | Leave a comment
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Writer’s never write their stories in order. I’ve told this story three times in the last several days to friends, so it seems relevant that I go ahead & post it. We have several new projects on the horizon, and we’re a bit excited, a bit nervous. How will it end? As they say, it’s a mystery!

For over seven years, I organized trade shows for a manufacturing company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I remember the day- Wednesday, August 17, 2005. I picked up the phone at work. Barton was breathless- we’re moving. Okay, I said on the phone. It was true that we were planning to move in October.

Barton whispers- September 1st. The apartment complex called. There’s an ADA apartment opening on September 1st. I couldn’t say no. I nodded, okay- wait, September 1st. I remember hanging up the phone and trying to wrap my head around what Barton just told me. We’re moving- in two weeks- to North Carolina.


After six months of living in Tuscaloosa, it was clear that the town was not accessible friendly. Barton couldn’t even get on the bus much less walk down the sidewalk-less street. He was also having difficulty breaking through the old Southern stereotypes of people with disabilities as he searched for sustainable work. While I was at full-time job, Barton was researching different options that would be better for us. When I spoke of moving to my family, they were greatly concerned- where would we go, what about health insurance, did we have enough money, what about work? How would we manage? Yet, I knew I had to trust Barton- as much as we loved our friends, Tuscaloosa just wasn’t working.Because the lines crossed between neighborhood and work (Tuscaloosa is a small town), we realized how quickly word could spread between friends who were associated with those at work. Since Barton and I relied on my company’s health insurance plan, we had to be careful that the timing was just right. I went to great lengths to avoid the rumblings about our move.

As Katrina roared across Tuscaloosa in the middle of the night on my birthday, I huddled with Barton- we slept with our clothes and boots on, just in case we needed to be on the move. I remember thinking- just don’t let a tree fall on our house so we can still sell it. We were lucky in that our neighborhood sustained minimal wind damage.

I went to my manager’s office three days later on September 1- I remember my hands shaking as they held the folder with resignation letters. Was I actually doing this? I had been working there for seven years. Yes, I was.
Barton left for North Carolina that Friday, and since we were selling my mother’s house, I stayed behind to go through another round of packing and house repairs for preparation to put it on the market.After three weeks of minimal sleep working on the to-do list that literally wrapped around the page, I joined Barton in our new apartment in Raleigh. It was done & I could rest now. As stressful as the move was, it was the best decision that we could have made for our family.

In the first six-months of living in Raleigh, Barton had clocked over 1,000 miles on his wheelchair (compared to the 50 in Tuscaloosa). And while each day brings new opportunities and new challenges, we have many more options that make life- a mystery!

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