A whole lot of somebodies once said, “You only get one chance at life.”
Big Jim and I thought that was totally unreasonable and decided that the Good Lord meant us to have all the chances we could handle. So after Big Jim worked his butt off informing folks of what was going on for 33 years as a radio news guy and I worked almost as hard raising kids, teaching other people’s kids, and trying to make a contribution to various communities as a volunteer, we decided one day that our first life had almost run it’s course.
After the astonishingly non-catastrophic morning upon which Big Jim was downsized, we realized that we were pregnant with our Second Life! Since there were two of us making the transition, the pregnancy lasted just about 18 months.
Our Second Life began as a dream way back in 1978 when we saw a brand new Winnebago pull in next to the Circus Tent (See previous blog about the Circus Tent). The plan was that someday, after we got rich, we’d be able to take off in a motor home and just see this beautiful country of ours before it was completely paved over. On that October day in 2002, we knew it was time to stop dreaming and start getting ready to go. Obviously, after 33 years, radio wasn’t going to make us rich (wish we’d figured that out in 1978!), we’d wasted an awful lot of time.
So we cobbled together several part time jobs -five at one time for a little while- in order to better prepare for an eclectic future. We worked in tourism, Jim at a museum and me at a cave. At the same time we read everything we could find about RVs, life on the road as fulltimers, and the kinds of jobs available. Big Jim had begun telling stories to both kids and adults as a sideline and I’d even lent my lesser talents and untrained voice to the effort. It was fun. We thought we could manage to make a go of it by gathering families Under the Story Tree. (check that part of our lives out at http://www.underthestorytree.com/ )
We shopped for the first home we would ever own; one on wheels. Unlike the majority of full time RVers, there was no house to sell to finance the Second Life. We checked out scores of motor homes, made up a shopping list and sent it out to our sons around the country. Everyone began looking for Mom and Dad’s escape wagon!
In January 2004 we picked a day when our first life would be finished - June 14th, - we told everyone we would be quitting our jobs that day. We did not have a motor home yet.
On June 14th we quit our jobs, going away parties in both places insured lots of leftover cake to see us on our way.
On June 15th, Big Jim flew to Omaha where #3 son, Sage Words and #1 Daughter-in-law (DIL), Sparkles had found us a pre -loved Winnebago complete with every single thing on the shopping list right down to the blue fabric!
On June 17th, Big Jim and Sage Words each took a deep breath, climbed into the RV and turned it West toward California, learning how to drive a motor home as they enjoyed some long wished for father /son bonding time. What went on along the way, the mishaps, embarrassing mistakes, first time black water dumping experience has remained private; memories too sacred to share with anyone else even-oe especially me
On the morning of June 21st, the three of us said goodbye to sons #1 ,Lone Duck and #2,Jugglesorcerer, boarded the enormous vehicle (that I never expected to be able to fill) and took off into the great - traffic mess that was the Sacramento International Airport to allow
#3, with only a few last minute sage words, to fly home.
On the afternoon of June 21st, 2004 having left the confusion of Sacramento behind, Big Jim and I turned to each other, let out enormous sighs and simply grinned. We had been Reincarnated and our Second Life began.
See Ya down the road