First posted September 22, 2011; revised June 6, 2012.
Months have gone by since we found and bought a townhouse in Maplewood MN. After batting around the idea of downsizing and moving, we began the search in earnest. I, as is my style, developed a long list of criteria. We did consider Northfield because we are often involved in St. Olaf events. However, one motivation took over: moving closer to our children – Katharine and Kristofer, who have lived in the Twin Cities for twenty-plus years – and our grandchildren who then ranged from the twins at 5 years to Benjamin at 17 and a half. An energetic real estate agent proved of great help, and she was not satisfied until we had seen 14 places. However, we kept coming back to the one we chose, a detached townhouse in a six-member association.
Moving, always a chore, became complicated mostly because the townhouse family room would become my library and by estimate would hold about 6,000 volumes of the approximate 12,000 I still held in Red Wing. I discarded some and gave away a few thousand to Better World Books, public libraries, grandchildren, and other charities. Further, I am still at it, having at the end to move about 100 boxes of approximately 3,000 surplus books plus other files when we had to empty our house for sale. It remains for sale as of this writing.
This transition has been difficult for me because of the losses of beloved books and foregoing 36 years of relationships in Red Wing – half my life. We still have our ties to Red Wing because of our friends, our need to maintain the house and landscape until it sells, and participation in the Red Wing Area Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). However, we have worked to fit into Maplewood as well. We started moving in at the townhouse as soon as we closed in December and soon had our beds here in order to stay overnight when the round of school and other grandchild events kept us in the evening.