As much as I enjoyed working at Parker Medical Clinic, I was starting to not like living in Castle Rock so much. By the summer of 1987, I had been in Colorado almost three years. Maybe I was just getting homesick and wanted to be by my mommy to help raise Nicholas. But more likely, I was becoming disillusioned about my marriage. I had lived in Colorado, Dan’s home state, for three years and told him that it was his turn to live in my state for three years. I don’t know how I thought that would help our relationship, but I needed to move back to Wisconsin.
As luck would have it, my roommate from college was getting married in Wisconsin that July. I hadn’t been that close to her, but it gave me an excuse to go back to Tomahawk on vacation.
We sent Nick home with my parents in June when they came to visit and that sealed the deal that we had to head north that summer to get him. When we were home, Dan put his application for a meat cutter in at the local grocery stores and meat markets. I applied at the clinics and hospitals.
We had just gotten back to Colorado when a meat market in Merrill called Dan up. “How soon can you start?” was about the only thing the owner asked him.
The next month was a whirlwind. We put the house up for sale. Dan quit his job in Denver, packed up his car and drove to Tomahawk. Two weeks later, his parents and I packed up the rest of our house, rented a U-haul trailer, and headed home.
The fall before we had gotten a small black kitten from a cat rescue place in a seedy neighborhood in Denver. Keshia, in a cat carrier on the front seat of my Chevrolet Citation, cried the entire 1200 miles. Nick mostly rode with grandma and grandpa in the truck.
When I pulled into my parent’s driveway, I wanted to fall on the ground and kiss the gravel. 23 years later, I wonder what was wrong with me. Why did I ever want to come back to Tomahawk?