Moving On

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Some people have extravagant backgrounds. Moving across states, even countries for others. It makes them seem almost exotic or special—they have that air of foreign awesomeness. But not me. I’m just a simple guy from the middle of freaking Iowa, where the most known fact is that it grows corn. Oo, exciting. But it’s okay. I’ve long come to terms with the fact that whenever I tell someone that I’m from Iowa that they automatically assume I grew up on a farm. In fact, it makes me laugh, because I’m as far opposite from a country boy as an Iowan can be. Born and raised in the good old capital Des Moines, Iowa. And it’s not as innocent as everyone in the world thinks. But we’ll get to that later. For now we’ll start at house numero uno, on the north side.

My first official house (given that for the first two years of my life, my mother and I lived in a couple different duplexes) was in a suburb of Des Moines known as Beaverdale. In my mind it was a pretty decent neighborhood. I actually really loved that house. Not only did I have my bedroom with my own TV (granted it was like a ten-inch screen), but I also got the entire third floor as my “play area”. Toys galore. Add to that the immense backyard which included a sweet swing set that I got for one of my birthdays, my house was set for childhood entertainment. And if I ever got bored with my property, all I had to do was hop the fence to my next-door neighbor’s house and chill with my neighborhood best friend. The entire neighborhood was like that. Close-knit neighbors who knew everyone by name. Tight. All the kids played with each other. An idyllic community of acquaintances. Unfortunately, I discovered soon that my perfect little world wasn’t so perfect.

When I was nine years old, while I was at my dad’s house for the weekend, I received a call from my mom informing me that someone had broken into our house and robbed us big time. Shocked as I was, I couldn’t quite grasp the magnitude of what had occurred. That changed once I got home that Sunday afternoon. And “broken in” was definitely fitting. They had busted down our side door, clean off the hinges. From our living room, they had gotten our TV, and the entire stereo system. From my mom’s room, they grabbed her jewelry box, along with some cash sitting on her dresser. And from my room, every single cent that I had been saving up for well-over a year (easily over a hundred dollars) was gone. I was crushed. How could someone do that to us? Did we do something wrong? I was so confused. It was then that I became aware of how bad my neighborhood truly was. My mom told me about how one day, on her way home from work, she drove by a police shoot-out, merely blocks away from our house. This was the catalyst for a change of location. That fall, on October 15, 2001, I said a tearful goodbye to Holly Avenue, and reluctantly moved into Lee Avenue. The other side of town.

My new house was definitely different from my old one. Boy was it different. New layout, new yard, new neighbors, new kids, new EVERYTHING! I’ll admit it was a bit overwhelming for little Chris. Luckily my transition was made simpler by my new next-door neighbor friends, Napoleon and Jake. Over that year and following summer, we had enough shenanigans to help me forget my old adventures in Beaverdale. This was my new hood. Windsor Heights, town of the old people? Oh well, I lived on the younger side of Windsor Heights, so the smell of denture cream wasn’t too bad. And the nice thing about my new home was that it had all the same elements as my previous, but now my mom didn’t have to worry about some stray bullet killing me. A nice change, if I do say so myself. Sunny days were spent playing football in another neighbor’s yard, king of the hill on again another neighbor’s yard, climbing trees in our backyards, rollerblading around the area, and dueling with random branches we found along our travels. Fun times. By the end of my first year in Windsor Heights, I had come to accept it as my new home.

Now after eight years in Windsor Heights, my house has lost its claim over the majority of my life. Through all of my experiences in both my homes, I have grown to become the man I am today, and I’m grateful for that. While I still give my mom grief for our move, but on the inside I’m happy we did. I am a proud resident of the town of old people, in the land of corn.





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