dear Quentin

Dear Quentin,

Happy August! I miss your songs and stories. Remember how we used to find luminous, common things on the playground at recess? I will always remember that. You are one of the best people I know at finding luminous, common things.

Quentin finds strange and wonderful things

I’m happy that you and your mom e-mailed me. You asked, “What are you going to do when you’re married?” Here is a long answer to your question, with plenty of pictures.

First, we sang and danced and played through our wedding day.

playing

singing

dancing

Lots of friends and family joined us, and we could feel the love of our friends and family who couldn’t be there, too.

Todd family

friends and fam

family!

friends

dancing

Mell family getting ready for a pic

dad and me

dancin

David and I had a week off between our wedding and our honeymoon. We said goodbye to our families as they left town. We played with Ally and Jack, our niece and nephew.

Ally & Jack

Ally & Jack 2

I started packing up my apartment. This would have been hard if I didn’t have helpers. Some of my helpers used to be my students when they were younger!

Kirsten helps

Catherine helps

Olivia helps

At the end of the week, we drove up to Maine for our honeymoon.

Maine!

I bought honey, and we watched the moon every night.

honeymoon honey

We relaxed in beautiful places like Acadia National Park.

David at Acadia

Hannah at Acadia

We sampled delicious food, like pizza from a bakery that lives in a barn.

pizza from Tinder Hearth

lobster!

blueberry jam and butter on fresh bread

We kayaked in the afternoons.

David kayaks

Hannah kayaks

We bought a beautiful pitcher so we could always say, “This is the pitcher we bought on our honeymoon.”

pitcher we bought on our honeymoon

We took our over-sized rubber ducky to see the sights. His name is Big Duck. I’ll write his story some other time.

Big Duck sees Acadia

Big Duck and David

all together now

After our honeymoon, we had only four days left in Beverly. Early each morning, I sat at the beach and felt grateful.

at the beach, feeling grateful

I had a lot more packing and cleaning to do. I had a lot more help.

Nora helps

Andrew helps

David helps

Juliette helps

Even our cat Gus offered what he could.

Gus helps

Everyone should ask for help when they pack. You cry less and laugh more.

Andrew & Heather help

Tracy & Juliette help

cry less, laugh more

On Monday, I did my final volunteer shift for Jeanne at Empower Yoga. I will miss my Empower family tremendously.

Jeanne and me

On Tuesday night before we left, I went to book club. My book club friends gave me a funny picture from my wedding. They even Photoshopped in Suzanne, who is teaching in Namibia this summer.

book club pic!

At book club, we laughed and cried and ate good food. I gave my friends things that I found while I was packing: things I didn’t need anymore. They took almost everything, except my two old candy canes. They told me I should just throw away old candy canes, but I held out hope.

candy canes

On Wednesday, some of our friends came by just to hug us and say farewell.

Greg stops by

hug with Greg

Jamie says farewell

David’s cousin Mychal took the candy canes! I felt triumphant. I don’t have a picture of him with the candy canes, but I thought you’d like to see the face of the man who saved the candy canes from a sad, sad fate.

Mychal

On Wednesday night, the night before we left, I went to dinner with a group of friends who used to be my students. I can hardly believe they’re adults now.

dinner

They each brought something to share.

Elizabeth's fruit tart

Brian & Ian

Stephanie brought a pie

Camilla

(Aaron didn’t bring food. He brought a CD of pictures he took at our wedding!)

Aaron!

Quentin, someday when you’re grown up, let’s have dinner together. We will laugh and tell stories about when we were younger. We will feel dizzy with gratitude.

dizzy w gratitude

dizzy with gratitude

After dinner, I was driving home later than I expected. A fox ran across the road in front of my car! A fox is an auspicious sign when you’re about to start a new life. I couldn’t take a picture of that fox, of course, but I took a picture of a fox statue just yesterday. It’s down the street from our new home. (That’s auspicious, too.)

fox

At home, several friends waited for me. They came to help me say goodbye to my apartment. We read poems by Rabindranath Tagore and John O’Donohue. All the lamps were packed away in the moving truck, so we turned on the light in the bathroom and David took a picture of us from there.

farewell to my apartment

On Thursday morning we said farewell to Diane and Brad, who rented me my apartment and lived upstairs from me. They’re sweet and generous, and they’ve always looked out for me.

Diane and Brad

We hooked up our little red car to a dolly attached to our moving truck.

ready to go

We began the four-day drive to our new life in Wichita, Kansas. Beverly to Wichita

First we drove to Havertown, Pennsylvania, which is where my parents live.

Beverly to Havertown

My family gathered for dinner. We love them so much that we stayed up far past Lydia’s bedtime.

Nate w Lydia

We left early Friday morning for our longest day of driving. We drove through New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, and most of Tennessee.

Havertown to Brownsville

Poor Gus did not like being in the truck on the first day. He meowed a lot and wouldn’t use his litter box or eat his food. We were so relieved on the second day when he started to relax. Soon he was a trucker cat. He sat on our laps while we drove or napped.

trucker cat!

nap time!

On that second day we saw amazing things, like two different dollar stores right next to each other!

two dollar stores!

I was nervous about driving the big truck at first, but after some practice I loved it. Eventually I learned to to sit up on two pillows so I could see more of the road.

trucker Hannah

That night, 3.1 miles from our motel, we got stuck in a traffic jam. We sat in a long, long line of cars for three vast hours. Sometimes this happens in life, Quentin. You can be so close to what you want but feel light years away.

so close and so far

If this happens to you someday, I hope the person you love most will be sitting next to you.

the person I love most

I hope you will have a cat sitting on your dashboard while traffic speeds by in the opposite direction.

cat on dashboard

Our motel room wasn’t the most breathtaking place, but it felt like a miracle when we got there. We’d been on the road for 18 hours! Saturday morning I did some yoga to stretch out my stiff body. Gus helped.

gus helps

That day we drove through Arkansas to Euless, Texas, where David’s parents Cheryl and Mark live. I’d never been there before.

with David's parents!

Euless is close to Dallas, which is a big, spread-out city.

Brownsville to Euless

Sunday was Cheryl’s birthday. In the morning I made her a birthday frittata. Frittata is one of my favorite words, and it tastes good, too. Cheryl felt happy to see Gus on her birthday. Gus felt happy, too.

Cheryl and Gus

We went shopping at Ikea for some things for our new apartment. My favorite is this aqua kitchen cart that holds my new china blue mixer. When you grow up, you might get excited about goofy stuff like this, too.

kitchen cart!

In the afternoon, we hopped into the truck for the last part of our trip. We drove straight up through Oklahoma into Kansas, where we live now.

Euless to Wichita

The highways in the Midwest look different than the highways in Massachusetts. There are fewer trees and more bales of hay.

bales of hay

There are plenty of cows. David and I both like to call out “Mooooooooooo!” when we see a cow. Sometimes I’ve even made a cow turn its head, but not from the car. Anyway, we did a lot of mooing on the way to Kansas.

cows for mooing

At the last gas stop, the wind blew mightily, and my hair flapped behind me like a flag, and the sky yawned before us. I could feel in my bones that we were almost home, even though I’d never been there before.

last gas stop

welcome to Kansas

We stayed in a hotel Sunday night because we couldn’t move in until Monday. To celebrate our arrival, we went to a drive-in restaurant and got a milkshake to share. I hadn’t had a milkshake in a long time, and it wasn’t as good as I remembered. Enjoy milkshakes while you’re young, Quentin.

milkshakes

On Monday morning, David went to a meeting for his new job. After his meeting, Gus and I were waiting outside our new apartment building in the truck.

Gus and I wait

Time to move in! We had help from a kind man named Gerald and his sons Tristan and Cody. We can’t imagine how difficult it would have been without them.

Tristan, Gerald & Cody

Our new apartment is on the tenth floor of a big apartment building right in the center of Wichita.

our new apartment building

Across from the elevator in our hallway, there’s a painting of bananas. This pleased me because people sometimes call me Hannah Banana.

bananas!

While we moved in, Gus the cat curled up next to the toilet and fell asleep. He must have been pretty worn out from the pressures of being a trucker cat.

worn out Gus

Finally all our boxes and furniture lay stacked up in our new home. We felt exhausted and excited and hungry and happy.

in our new home!

There’s a lot more I could tell you, Quentin, but this is already a very long blog. Not everyone moves to Kansas after they get married. We came here because there is a good job for David here. He’ll be teaching theatre to middle school students.

I’ll be doing a bunch of stuff here, too, though I’m only starting to figure out what that stuff will be. While I’m figuring it out, I’ve been setting up our apartment, finding cool statues in town, and doing plenty of cooking.

setting up the apartment

cool statues

I hope you’re having a fun summer. In Wichita, school will start this Wednesday. Isn’t that early? You have a few more weeks before you start first grade. You’ll go to the Hannah School. What an excellent name for a school! I know you’ll keep finding luminous, common things, and I hope you’ll share them with me from time to time.

Quentin shares

Another day, I’ll write about some of the luminous, common things we’re finding in Wichita. Your mom said Wichita is one of the most beautiful place names ever, and I agree.

fireworks outside our bedroom window

May there be peace before you, behind you, above you, below you, from your heart, to your lips, to everyone.

Your friend Hannah