Arts, Entertainment and Events, Commentary, Featured Sidebar, Oakridge/Westfir

Commentary: Reflections upon moving, Florida to Oakridge

Ben Olson column mugBy BEN OLSON/For The Herald —  I’ve moved perhaps 30 times in my life.

In my salad days, it was relatively easy. Throw my clothes, my guitar, my copy of the Whole Earth catalog, my golf clubs and my bong into the trunk of whatever old beater I was driving and head on down the road.

It probably wasn’t always as simple as I remember it, but there were times that it was as I described it. There were accumulated possessions to give away or to have more stable friends hold onto for a while. A lot of things went to the curb or St.Vincent’s (where much of it came from in the first place).

At some point, life got more complicated. It was harder to part with the treasures I had collected. Why get rid of all my stuff when I’m just going down to Florida to work for a few months and escape a brutal Wisconsin winter? I’ll be back in the spring.

When I built my first home there was no reason not to get some nice furniture, the books I always wanted and some proper tools. At that point I thought I would never move again.

Since then there’s been a wife, a family and six moves, although four of them were somewhat “local.” Perhaps had the moves not been to a new place on the other side of town, we would have had an auction, pared down our mountain of stuff, and just moved the things that were really important to us.

When my wife and I moved to Florida 10 years ago, it was just for the season, doing the snowbird thing, so we kept most of our stuff in our up-north house. That worked pretty well until we decided we really couldn’t afford two homes. We sold our Wisconsin house and put everything in storage until we came up with a plan.

In the meantime, we inherited my wife’s parents’ place in Michigan. They never got rid of anything throughout their lifetimes and we felt compelled to keep way too much of it. In hindsight, an auction would have been the way to go.

Four years ago, the last of our three children made the move to Eugene, so they were all 3,500 miles away from us. We decided to spend our summers out here, so we could spend a little time with them.  My wife found a cabin just out of Oakridge, and we bought it.

Enter COVID-19 in March 2020. We both agreed that waiting out a pandemic in our neighborhood in Florida would be unbearable or deadly. We closed up the house and drove the almost deserted roads across the country to our cabin.

Two weeks after we got here, we decided we didn’t want to live in Florida anymore. We hopped on a plane, flew back to Florida, sold the house and business the day after we got there, bought a big van, packed up what we wanted, gave the rest away, and, for the second time in a month, made our way back to Oakridge.

As I’m writing this now, I’m sitting in my almost empty forest cabin. We close on this in a couple of days and the new owners are going to have a lovely little place in the woods. We are in the process of buying a place with a little acreage just outside of town, but the sale of this place and the purchase of the new place didn’t dovetail quite as well as it could have. We’re moving into a temporary place in town for a couple of months, moving most of our stuff into a storage unit and the essentials into the temporary place, only to move it all again in October.

I shake my head when I see how much stuff made its way from Wisconsin to Florida to Oregon, but I can console myself that it only has to be moved one more time.

Oakridge musician Ben Olson, The Herald’s new entertainment editor and commentator, can be reached by email at [email protected]

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