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Goodbye Altoona!

July 31, 2012 - Kristy MacKaben
It was the empty house that did it. We have been planning our move to Chicago since December. When the moving van pulled in front of our house last week, I couldn't help but feel relief and a little bit numb. We were leaving our home of almost seven years and in a way it just didn't feel real. We said our goodbyes (many) to all our Altoona friends and it was time to go, and I was (almost) OK with that. It wasn't until every box, piece of furniture and personal remnant had been removed that I started to feel a twinge of sadness. The butterfly wall stickers were gone from Julie's room and there weren't any blocks to trip over in Johnny's room. The last traces of purple marker had been removed from the carpet in Julie's room, and I couldn't help but feel a little sad that we didn't have proof of the time Julie colored her room (and herself) purple. The house was completely immaculate from the basement to the bedrooms, and even the sunporch, which was usually a mess with kid art projects. It was completely depressing. This is where we raised our kids. Julie was just four months old when we moved into our yellow house on the hill, and it's where she learned to do pretty much everything--from walking and talking to reading and writing, and most recently riding a two wheeler. Same goes for Johnny who was born in Altoona. I have vivid memories of long nights spent rocking and snuggling with newborn Johnny with the all the lights on. The second I turned off the lights, he threw a fit, but if the lights were on, he would slumber soundlessly. Standing in our barren house I flashbacked to the countless games of hide and seek, dancing to our Dora CD or Taylor Swift in the kitchen and the long winter days when we spread out newspapers on the kitchen floor to finger paint or mold animals from play-dough. The little hill in the backyard was perfect for gleefully rolling down in the summer or for toddler sled riding in the winter. That little hill was often the highlight of Julie's birthday parties. We lived three blocks from a great park, next door to the best neighbors you could ask for, and just up the street from our best friends. We lived in a town with the best frozen custard and close to two amusement parks, two amazing libraries and an incredible indoor play area for kids. Seven years ago we were strangers from a big city, but this little town welcomed us and made us feel at home. Thank you Altoona! We will miss you!


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