Migratory Instinct












I have mentioned that I like to re-arrange the furniture.  It is one thing that keeps me sane.  But my problem is deeper than that.

–In the end, many TCKs develop a migratory instinct that controls their lives.  Along with their chronic rootlessness is a feeling of restlessness: “Here, where I am today, is temporary.  But as soon as I finish my schooling, get a job, or purchase a home.  I’ll settle down.”  Somehow the settling down never quite happens.  The present is never enough — something always seems lacking.  An unrealistic attachment to the past, or a persistent expectation that the next place will finally be home, can lead to this inner restlessness that keeps the TCK always moving.  — from Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken

I have finished school.  I have a job.  I purchased a home.  I have a child.  I am settled down.  I’m not going anywhere.

I re-arrange the furniture.  I plan long elaborate trips all over the world.  I pour over airline timetables.  I read travelogues.

I lived in Russia for many years with the landlady’s furniture or no furniture at all.  It drove me crazy.  I would complain to my husband – “When are we going to be able to buy some decent furniture that is comfortable and just be in one place for a while?”  I dreamed of living in a comfortable place that was my own where I could just RELAX.

I still think about it. It is always someplace cosy and small and it is raining outside.

Truth is, I hate the rain.  I find it confining.

And to be completely honest, there aren’t too many places I am longing for.  Travel today is difficult.  For some reason I am drawn to South America.  I want to stay on in my own hemisphere.  Or maybe New Zealand.  And I have never been to Egypt….

In times of conflict and confusion, I turn to Gertrude.  She clears it up for me.


I know of nothing more pleasing more soothing more beguiling than the slow hum of the mounting.  I had never even seen an airplane near before not near enough to know how one got in and there we were in.  That is one of the nice things about never going to the movies where there are so many surprises… Reading does not destroy surprise it is all a surprise that it happens as they say it will happen.  But about the airplane we had known nothing and it was an extraordinarily natural and pleasant thing much more simple and natural than anything even than walking, perhaps as natural as talking but certainly more natural than doing any other thing.  And so we liked it and whenever we could we did it. — Everybody’s Autobiography by Gertrude Stein


A sense of humor is key….

The Chair


My mother loves to talk about her flamboyant Aunt Lou who apparently was a real character and stood out in the small town they lived in in southern Iowa.  One of Aunt Lou’s chairs sits in my parents’ living room and will eventually sit in my living room if I can ever figure out how to get it here.  My mother says that when she got it it was painted black and was covered in red velvet.  My father spent hours getting the paint off and it has been re-covered several times over the years.  It is a handsome chair.  My brothers laugh at me because I like it.

Aunt Lou’s obit:

“Louise Campbell, daughter of James and Nancy Campbell, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio.  When a young girl she moved to Monmouth, Illinois, where she made her home.

She had three sisters and one brother, all of whom preceded her in death.  Her brother, J Milton Campbell, visited her here several times, and was known by many Mount Ayr people.  His son Boyd, Mrs Liggett’s nephew, was also known here.

In 1891 she was married to J Hall Liggett and came to Mount Ayr, Iowa, to assume the duties of mother to his three little girls.   These girls grew up under her care.  Mary, Mrs Wesley Peters, lives now in Denver, Colorado.  The other two, Josephine and Pearl, preceded her in death.  Her husband, Hall Liggett, died in 1926.

She is also survived by three nieces, Mrs Callie Underwood, of Peoria, Illinois, and Rose and Pearl Campbell, of Southern California.

Mrs Liggett was always of a happy disposition, being kind and thoughtful of others, and had many friends.  She was known to many as “Aunt Lou.”

She has always been a Christian, becoming a member of the Presbyterian charge early in life, and later transferring her membership to the United Presbyterian church.

She was 83 years of age.”

My great aunt Bert bought this chair in the 50’s.  After she died my aunt Jean had it in her house for many years.  Then she moved and nobody wanted the chair so I took it.  It is a Kroehler chair made in Chicago.  It is now considered “mid-century modern”.

As far as I’m concerned all my aunts had good taste in chairs.