Whoa. Here’s some advice. Do not EVER move.

Just kidding! What I really mean is: Do not ever move unless you have as your moving crew Dennis, Tensie, Donald and Alan.

I am safely in my new place in Tucson, as of a week ago today, and I am still reeling from the way that things fell into place.

That was in giant large part due to the aforementioned friends who VOLUNTEERED to help. One couple drove down to LA from Santa Maria, CA, which is in itself often a 3 1/2 to 4-hour drive, not to mention the 8-9 hour drive in a truck from LA to Tucson.

Last Monday, Dennis and Tensie met me at the UHaul place and they drove the truck to my apartment. Donald and Alan arrived soon after, Jose and Antonio showed up at 1 as arranged, to do the heavy lifting, and we had a 15-foot truck neatly and tightly packed, including plants, garden pots, in 2 1/2 hours.

I mean seriously, you have never seen such a crackerjack crew: cheerful, insanely hard-working, and crazy competent. My property manager had expressed doubt that a 15-foot truck could be maneuvered into the admittedly narrowish spot at the foot of my stairs but Tensie hopped out, expertly directed, and Dennis slipped that cumbersome vehicle into place with no more trouble than as if it were a bicycle.

Donald and Dennis are both expert packers–again, wondrous to behold how they managed to fit everything safely together for maximum conservation of space. We ate together that night at Donald and Alan’s. Tensie had brought me an air mattress for the last night in my apartment as the bed was gone. I set the alarm for 5:30, scrambled to cram my Fiat full of the last bits and bobs, food from the freezer, etc, and took off at 6:45. The other two couples caravaned, spelling each other at the wheel, stopping together for gas.

We all made it by Tuesday afternoon. They stayed in two airbnbs and I spent my first night at my new home! The next day they drove the truck over, the two guys I’d hired to do the heavy lifting on the Tucson end showed up–late, but still–and before I knew it, everything was in, my bed and desk were set up, someone was breaking down boxes for recycling, the truck was returned and people were saying, “What should we do for lunch?”

The whole time there was not a word of impatience, frustration, or complaint. Not one person remarked, “My God, do you have to bring quite so many plants?” (Or books, or boxes of kitchen stuff, or tcotchkes).

We hung out for a couple of days, eating, telling stories. The photo above is of our first lunch, which took place in this cool little covered enclosed area adjacent to the dining room. The whole place is surrounded by a WALL, providing a level of privacy and quiet which after my last enforced semi-communal living situation is akin to dying and going to heaven. The wall isn’t super high and the front part is made of ocotillo branches so you can see through, which I also like. People get up early and walk early so it’s nice to get a sense of the neighborhood waking to first light. God knows as the sun comes up I am already up swilling coffee and regarding my front garden.


i read not long ago that the average person has something like 60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are the same thoughts as the day before and the day before that. So it’s terribly exciting for new notions to be passing through my fevered brain, such as “I wonder how I can wrap the trunk of that agave with string lights without being skewered by the adjacent cacti” and “Crap, where is the nearest ’emissions station’ so I can register my car?” and “Where do people buy cherries in Tucson?” and “If I set out at 6:30 on foot, can I make it to the 7 am at Sts. Peter and Paul on N Campbell?”

It turns out I can.

I will be reeling for many weeks with the physical, psychic, emotional and spiritual effects of my move. But for now, I am here. I can’t thank you all enough for the prayers, good wishes, reflections, questions, jokes–for accompanying me on the journey. A few of you made generous donations, which was also incredibly thoughtful and helpful.

I have not had one spare minute to post but I was very much aware, the whole time, of the Eucharistic it-takes-a-village dimension of what from the outside is a mere physical move.

I’ll still be settling in for a few weeks I’m sure, but I can at least now see the day when things return to “normal.”

More on Tucson later. But for now, I can sincerely say I am loving it.


16 Replies to “HOMEGIRL”

  1. Diana Wagman says: Reply

    Welcome to your new home!! I love Tucson. Hope you do too. (Great kitchen)

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, dear Diana, and for your steady generosity and welcome over the years! Yes, it’s by far the nicest kitchen I’ve ever had. I even lined some of the drawers with shelf paper or some form of it this morning–congrats on the newest addition to your family or soon-to-be, as Ellen mentioned, and Julia said she saw you recently, too–Small world, big hearts.

  2. Oh, wow, Heather. Your kitchen is gorgeous. I love the ceiling, too! I am terrifically happy for you, even if I can’t come over for tea as often. The yard is beautiful, too. Hugs

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      You will just have to hop in the car with Robyn and Kai and make a little road trip, Miss Karin! Together in spirit, always…I can’t wait to read the next chapter of your memoir xxx

  3. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” A close second has to be helping a friend move from LA to Tucson. Congratulations on your move and on having such good friends.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      John, thank you and you are so right: helping a friend make a 500-mile move is absolutely a form of laying down one’s life. I can’t believe how lucky I am either…all the best to you and your flock,, and happy writing!

  4. Judy Horton says: Reply

    Oh Heather! So happy for you! I too love living in complete walled in privacy but with see through areas. I found out yesterday that one of the Amazon delivery guys who always parks across my driveway (the nerve!) while delivering on my block is friends with my dog Gussie. I interrupted their chat when I took out the garbage.

    Heavy gloves for working around and with cactus.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha that is great, Judy, that Gussie has a whole relationship with the Amazon guy to which you were not privy! I can just picture your gate, Gussie’s little head…your garden of course. I have ordered my blue watering can and will report back–much love and many thanks–

  5. I am contemplating a move up to Washington state from my little condo in Fountain Hills. I hate moving, but I love my sons who live and work in Seattle.

    I know that area of Tucson well. I also know the parish of St. Peter & Paul. You’ve landed in a great place! Great Mexican food nearby. Not to mention your proximity to the U of A. Downtown Tucson has wonderful cultural events.

    This will be my last move. There is a finality to this and has not escaped me. I just turned 65, having lost my mother (92) to COVID 11 days before my birthday.

    What I know is that my grown sons want me near to them. They WANT me. What a great feeling that is.

    I also know that God will give me all I need to deal with the drama and chaos that is always involved in a move. If He can move mountains, he can surely move my tired self to get this done.

    My faith is deep and true. I have ongoing conversations of gratitude with Him. Every day IS a blessing.

    Blessing to you as your new home settles in around you.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Fantastic that your grown sons want you near them–yes! I can hardly imagine a better feeling than that…You know the area well! I haven’t explored the food yet as it has taken me all this time just to settle in and keep up with my work…but I am loving the whole feel of the place and the house itself is a real sanctuary…”This will be my last move”…yes. Something very deep about moving in our late 60s or even after…would I have the stamina, or the desire, again?…Well, you never know. Whatever the case, moving brings up all kinds of memories of past moves, former chapters of life, the whole patchwork narrative, people I’ve loved and lost sight of…et cetera. So it’s a deep, deep time, and my sense is that I haven’t begun to plumb it…All the very best wishes on your own move. As you say, we are given the strength we need, day by day…and then one morning we wake up in our new bed and say: I am here!!

  6. Lawrence McDonald says: Reply

    I’m just glad you have a nice new home. You managed to write about a generally awful experience which has the feel of a travel
    memoir. Proof that the move was a good one,

    Lawrence M

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha, yes moving is kind of awful, as in awe-worthy, as in after it’s over, you literally cannot believe that you had the stamina or whatever it is that gets us through…it was a gigantic push and I really do feel that I should lie down for about a two-week nap. But all is well! I’m deeply grateful and will post more about my new abode soon–your support means a lot, Lawrence. Thank you.

  7. Kathy Enright says: Reply

    Hi Heather, Welcome to Tucson! Love your text and your photos. We will miss your precious spirit in these parts but, thanks to Judy, I was alerted to your move and I know where to find you. I am so sad that Covid hit just when I was emerging from twenty years of full time work and was looking forward to a jaunt to Pasadena so we could have a real catch up. Thank you for your articles in the Angelus, they have kept me feeling close to you and your journey, even when we never managed lunch. God bless and keep you in your new environs. I look forward to reading more, Kathy

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Bless you, Kathy, I know, COVID sort of ripped through and cut a big swath through social life along with a bunch of other things…Judy reported that the two of you had recently enjoyed lunch…I’m so glad. Hope you and your family are well and enjoying the Southern Cal spring–you know where to find me! And it lifts my heart to hear that you have enjoyed my Angelus articles…thanks for that as well.

  8. TOM DUFFY says: Reply

    Michael and I are so glad you’re home safely. We are lifting our coffee mugs in the direction of Tucson.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      I am tipping mine back, Tom Duffy! You guys have to come visit. I have tons of room to eat. xxx Hope you’re well!! Wasn’t that nice we had that last visit….

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