Thirty-twoWindemere Road, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, 07043. It was the yellow house withred shutters at the end of the cul-de-sac. There was a giant oak tree on one sideof the walkway and a small dogwood surrounded by blue vinca on the other. In thespring, there were more than 50 daffodils blooming around the dogwood to let usknow winter was officially over. My mom always said that daffodils were thetrumpeters of spring.
We moved when I was eleven. I had just finishedfifth grade with the best friends I thought I would ever find. Since I couldn'thelp too much with the packing, I just watched as my childhood was stuffed intohuge brown boxes. I cried a lot during the two weeks it took for us to move. Anew house meant losing everything that made us the Bakums. Where would we storethe holiday decorations if they weren't in their designated basement closet?Where were we going to hang the bulletin boards of photographs if they didn't fitin the new kitchen? How could I run, unharmed by witches at the bottom of thestairs, to my parents' room at night if their room was farther away? Movingseemed impossible to me. We fit so perfectly into this house; there was no way wecould live comfortably if we weren't living in 32 Windemere Road.
Since wemoved to Connecticut, I have lived in three houses. My dad's new job turned outto be a disappointment ending in unemployment. As a result, we had to move out ofour first house and into two rentals, while Dad went back to work in New York. Wehaven't lived together as a family in seven years. Since our belongings have beenin storage for the past three years, I haven't seen many of my things for a longtime. On the surface, it seemed that everything I thought had made my life happy- the house, the decorations, the material possessions - weregone.
Sometimes at night, I close my eyes and picture myself in my oldroom with my old furniture, living my old life. I miss that time when my familydidn't worry where we were going to live or how we were going to eat. I miss mydad coming home at night. I miss playing with my sister in our own yard under theoak tree. I miss the blooming daffodils in April. Sometimes I feel sad when Ithink of that time in my life, and other times I feel grateful that I have thosememories.
Thirty-two Windemere Road will always represent the peacefullife I know my family will find again someday. In the meantime, though, I havelearned to find happiness in other places. I cherish every Friday night when mydad comes home from the city and every moment I spend with him, because they areso few. I cherish my parents, who love each other and who love me. Mostimportant, I cherish my mom's amazing ability to make every house feel like theone in Montclair. I open my eyes and see that while I have left my"Montclair life" behind, what really made my life wonderful have simplymoved to a new location.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.