The first year after we were married, Martha and I lived in Lansdowne, right outside Philadelphia, where we worked. The year was 1973. Martha was teaching preschool at Blankenburg Elementary and I was working at the AV department at Drexel University. The director’s name was Beatrice. Martha and I were happy and at the same time I was restless.
When B. decided to leave, I was offered her position. It was a dream job opportunity, but I was not happy with the salary offer. Drexel offered to pay me $10K, a 25% increase over my current salary. Because I knew B. was earning $17K for the same job that’s what I thought I should get. (Yes, at 23 I was a bit naive.)
I suggested an alternate plan for both Martha and me: tell Drexel to go to hell, quit our jobs, travel and explore the country. We had little money saved, about $2k; we were also in the middle of a recession and prospects of getting employment anywhere were uncertain at best. We were clueless.
Amazingly, Martha acquiesced, and then I vacillated for several weeks between the sensible choice and the stupid choice. Eventually of course, we made the stupid choice and embraced the dream: go west, discover for ourselves the Rocky Mountains. We quit our jobs, packed up our belongings. left a network of close friends from college like we would never again have, and drove off in our red Dodge Dart to look for America. Our lives were forever changed.
Nine months later we were settled in Cobleskill, NY, where Kathleen would eventually be born. I had a job doing similar work to what I had been doing at Drexel, but at a lower salary. Martha never again found a job like she had at Blankenburg.
We stayed in contact with friends from Philadelphia, but as years passed, drifted apart. For more than a year afterwards, I often regretted leaving Drexel, which built a brand new AV center, with many new toys and a budget to do many cool things. I was working at a much smaller school with less money and fewer toys. We never developed the network of friends in Cobleskill like we had in Philadelphia.
We were also living a dream shared by both of us – in the country, beautiful upstate New York, and we continued to dream of new adventures.