Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

11. Between the fourth and fifth grades my family moved from Kentucky to Indiana. We had bought a house but it needed so much painting done (maybe there were other issues, but this is what I remember) that we couldn't move in. Meanwhile, the school year was starting and our parents wanted to get my sister and me into school at the beginning of the year. There were no residential hotels in Evansville at the time and it was impractical to rent an apartment for a month, so we moved into the Holiday Inn the night before school started.

We had adjoining rooms at the end of the hallway on the second floor. Our parents' room was outfitted with a small refrigerator and a microwave, but other than that these were two small, typical hotel rooms. Our mom would drive us to the bus stop every day and pick us up again after school. On Fridays we would drive straight from the bus stop to our old house in Kentucky and spend the weekend there. We would exchange dirty clothes for clean ones, eat dinner at Grandma's, and see soon-to-be old friends before heading back to Indiana on Sunday night.

There are lots of inconveniences about traveling and staying in hotels that are small and almost fun novelties until you experience them every day for a month. We ate out every night - fun at first but not so exciting when you end up at a stinky Bob Evans because you've eaten everywhere else in town. Sure, you can eat cereal every day for breakfast but what happens when you want a frozen waffle and don't have a toaster? Soggy, lukewarm waffles is what happens.

For an eleven year old trying to make friends in a new school, living in a hotel does have its perks. "Come over and swim!" It sounds glamorous and exciting to a fifth-grader: room service! never having to make the bed! leaving towels on the floor! People, this was a Holiday Inn near the middle of town, not a penthouse suite. No one was ever impressed by the frequent fire alarms or trucks rumbling down the nearby expressway.

We eventually moved in to our new house and started eating dinner at the kitchen table rather than in a booth somewhere. The trips home slowed and we settled into our new neighborhood. Looking back, that month seems impossibly long, like we lived in transition for much longer than four weeks.

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