In the late summer of 1997, change was becoming a permanent part of our lives, the newest member of our family. My thirty-year public-school teaching career had ended; Joyce’s mother, who had suffered profoundly from Alzheimer’s and had been living in a care facility nearby, had died on February 5, 1995, and Joyce was now moving through her life without parents—wonderful parents who had supported her in every way. I grieved for her, but I could not really understand: Both my parents were still alive. But I would learn ...
And in the late summer and early fall of 1997 we were preparing to move from Aurora back to nearby Hudson, Ohio (exactly 8.3 miles, says Google Maps), where we’d lived from 1979–1990. Joyce had seen a house for sale in Hudson, a house she knew we’d love (and have indeed loved for twenty years), and our Aurora home was on the market.
Complicating things even more: Our son had graduated from college in 1994 and, after a year of having no full-time job, had returned from the Boston area (he’d gone to Tufts), had enrolled in the journalism school at nearby Kent State University (about a dozen miles away). For a while he’d lived with us again—an arrangement that proved, uh, more complex than any of us wanted to deal with, so we’d found him a place over in Kent, where he was enjoying his studies; not long after, he would get a full-time gig as a reporter at the Akron Beacon-Journal (as I noted above).
And there was more. In that summer of 1997 the vast Dyer family (my dad was one of eleven siblings) were going to gather out in his home state of Oregon for a reunion, and I knew it would probably be the last time that so many of us were together. My dad had turned 84, was not doing well, but he really wanted to get out there. And I wanted to see again my dear aunts and uncles—and all their offspring.
I look in my journal for August 1–4 (when I was in Oregon), and all I see is this: SEE HANDWRITTEN JOURNAL ENTRIES. Fine … but where are they? I’ve just spent about a half-hour fruitlessly checking every Reasonable Place. So … the notes are either in an Unreasonable Place, or I’ve overlooked them in the Reasonable Place. I guess I’ll find them later and revise this portion as needed.
I do see—in my typed pages, which resumed after my return from Oregon—that I was still reading Mary’s Rambles, and I typed my final notes on the book on August 12. I see, too, that I was preparing to teach a beginning writing course at Hiram College in the fall (their Weekend College program) and that son Steve was publishing pieces regularly in the Beacon and that I was about to begin William Godwin’s novel Caleb Williams and that …
… I had begun training to climb Oregon’s Mt. Hood.