When Mother and husband number three Tom decided to move to Indiana, they hired a moving van, at great expense, to cart all of their prized possessions (aka junk) to their new home. Mother had given permission to the wife of her second cousin (by marriage thrice removed or some crap like that) to purchase a home for them. Sight unseen.
So, off they went on a journey that, like so many of Mother’s adventures, was fraught with misfortune.
The morning that they embarked from California was also the morning of the infamous LA riots. Rodney King had been severely beaten, the LAPD officers involved in had been acquitted, and the cries for justice could be heard throughout the streets. The very streets Mother and Tom would travel on near the start of their way to their new home.
It was impossible to communicate with them as the use of cell phones had not become an everyday necessity. The phone at their home had been turned off, since they were leaving for what Mother was convinced would be greener pastures. Abby and I were concerned about their safety and certainly hoped to hear from them. Mother and Tom were not only unaware of what was happening, they simply did not care. We later imagined them driving through the black smoke and chaos.
As large swaths of the area near where they had lived were consumed by riots and outrage, Mother and Tom obliviously drove on…as usual, Mother was determined to get what she wanted with no regard or even awareness of other things around her. This behavior was, in normal times, curious. In this event, as the nation watched parts of Los Angeles burn, Mother’s behavior was downright shocking.
Be that as it may, after several days of a complete blackout of communication, Mother called to say they had arrived in Indiana and were waiting for the moving van. What seemed like a normal conversation quickly turned out to be far from normal. I mentioned the riots to her and she seemed surprised, as though this was the first she had heard of them. Then, in her next breath she asked to “borrow” a large sum of money from us since the moving cost was more than she had anticipated. Borrowing to Mother meant no paybacks.
As with so many other facets of her life, Mother considered every day a new day and every previous act a foreign concept. And thus began her “new life” as a Southern belle in Southern Indiana.