A Scandalous Story of Love: The Move


We spoke with a realtor in the Raleigh area. We scoured Apartment Finder magazines. We spotted an ad in the Boston Globe advertising leases on Honda Civics for a reasonable monthly payment. This is how the world worked back in 1995 before the internet had gone viral.

The only thing we didn’t have lined up yet…were jobs.

We made arrangements to take our parents out to dinner at Bugaboo Creek while they were both in town for graduation…although I’m sure they treated.

Dad, Mom, Myself, and Duff

Russ, Duff's Mom, Duff, Denise, Colleen

That’s when we’d share that we planned to move to Raleigh, North Carolina, the week following graduation.

Duff would explain his intentions to ‘make it real’ once we were settled and he had a job.

I thought this would help smooth the whole ‘living together’ part over a bit.

I really wasn’t sure how my parents would respond.

Graduation= Duff and Kel-Kel

At the time, from my perspective…

I thought it went over relatively well.

I don’t remember their reaction exactly…but I believe they asked a few questions and were perhaps a little surprised by our agenda.

Overall they didn’t seem too shocked though.

Of course unloading this kind of stuff in a public setting, with another whole family in the mix, is always a good idea. ;)

My dad apparently walked away from the evening a bit concerned.

I learned this later, after he had time to process…

“I guess the worst that can happen is you call us in a month, to come pick you up, because you’ve run out of money.”

My Side of the Family
The lease for the Honda fell through because we had no verifiable income. The dealership thought co-signing for the loan would be sufficient, but once my parents agreed to help us out with that, they decided even then, we were too high risk.

Ultimately my mom and dad took out the loan for us and we made monthly payments to them over a two-year period. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

We vowed if we couldn’t find our dream jobs in North Carolina, we’d settle for anything, working at McDonalds if that’s what needed to happen.

We booked the apartment, sold Duff’s large futon, and gathered all the rest of our belongings from inside of Grammy’s house.

The new cherry-red Honda sat in her driveway surrounded by piles of boxes, crates, and suitcases.

We looked at the car, then back again at our stuff, realizing there was absolutely no way it would all fit.

I mean just Bubba alone (the giant black gorilla I received as a b-day gift from my roomies) would occupy most of a passenger seat.

We reasoned that if we emptied everything out of the receptacles, then we might just accomplish our goal.

And so it began… the dumping and the stuffing.

We filled the entire backseat from floor to ceiling with all of our clothing. So much so, that boxers, socks, sweatshirts, and bras were plastered against the rear windows causing me to blush at passersby.

But we did manage to fit everything that really mattered…even Bubba, who would become our couch for the next six months.
I was very much delighted to be running off with the love of my life to a new place. Our place.

A place where we could just be together, on our own, figuring out and exploring things for ourselves.

But…we were also taking those first tentative baby steps of being on our own, and they can be a wee bit scary.

We’d be awfully far away from family and friends…

We’d have responsibilties that we hadn’t fully realized before.
The biggest reservation I had about moving away was walking out of my 90 year old grandmother’s life.

Unlike the rest of my family, she couldn’t just hop on a plane and fly down for a visit.

I had grown so close to her over the last few years during my time spent at Boston College.

She lived right down the street.

She was just the loveliest, spunkiest, little old lady you ever did meet.  Boy could she tell a story!  I always marveled at that.

She sometimes picked up my dirty clothes and dropped them back off fully laundered.

She let me spend the night when I needed a break from college life.

We’d order Chinese food or hot pepperoni pizza.  We’d run and pick it up in her pale green Buick that had mysteriously lost the passenger-side mirror.

She’d study me and share how much she liked my hair in the stlye I had chosen to wear it in that day.

She always wanted to hear about the latest scoop and asked for my friends by name.

She whole heartedly approved of my taste in men when I introduced her to Duff.  I sometimes wondered if she wasn’t more smitten with him than me.

She’d wake me up on a Sunday morning to tell me she was running out to church and never panicked that I didn’t want to join her.

She wisely told me, “Kelly, There will come a time in your life when you will need God.”

I didn’t know how many years my grandmother had left or if she would ever make Raleigh.

We buckled ourselves into the maxed out car after saying our goodbyes.

My mom and Grammy now stood on the front porch of 57 Aldie Street waving us down the road until we were out of sight.  Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I found it hard to breathe.

We made the 12 hour drive South along I-95 and it felt surreal.  What exactly would our future hold in this new place?

We stopped at a Wendy’s predawn to rest our eyes and grab some coffee.

We completed the remainder of the drive, arriving at the apartment manager’s office early morning.

We were given the key to our new place and excitedly ran up to the second story where we opened the lock.

It was huge!  (by our standards)

It had all new carpeting!

It had a screened porch, a kitchen with washer/dryer hook-ups, one bedroom, and a bath.

Parking was free and the complex’s pool was just down the wooded trail behind us.

Rent was only $500 per month.

It was our new little paradise.

We moved in our few belongings and settled right in.
I often recall this time in our lives with great fondness, because we had so little, and yet I can’t remember ever being happier.

We had no couch.

We had no bed.

We had no television.

We had no kitchen table or chairs.

We had no washer or dryer.

Yet we were completely content having nothing apart from each other…and Bubba.

Okay…blehkkk!  I’ll turn off the mushy corn. ;)
Despite us doing things out of His order and despite our unbelief, God still chose to bless us at this point in our lives.

Duff landed his ideal job less than three miles from our new apartment.  The company was full of young people our age, who we immediately enjoyed hanging out with and getting to know.

I began taking a class to earn certification as a Nursing Assistant so I could begin working at Raleigh Community Hospital gaining hands-on patient care experience on a medical-surgical floor.

We were so happy in this new life of ours.
I came to find out later that my grammy had invented a tale of monumental proportions so she didn’t have to share that Duff and I were living together.  I was supposedly staying with a distant relation in the Greensboro area.

Oh how I hate that I ever put her and my parents in that position, not to mention me not trusting in God’s way.

I just didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time.  It all seemed so right. I wasn’t a Christian.

And how would we ever afford two separate rents anyway? I had rationalized.
Duff had promised marriage was in our future.

But as my mom had so delicately put it…

“Why would he want to buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?”

Was she right?! Is that what it really came down to?

The romantic in me hurt.

I grilled him.

He reassured me that was not the case.

I essentially said…

“Prove it!”

And then I waited.

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