The Loss of a Bedroom

I have a memory that is holier than a block of Swiss cheese. For example, I can remember the name of only one elementary school teacher I had, although I have no clue if I could spell it properly (Ms. Buer, 3rd Grade). What makes this recollection even more interesting is that she is the teacher that I had when I first moved to the suburbs of Chicago. There is a snowball’s chance in hell that I could name any of my teachers from any time before that. Teachers after have an ethereal feel in my memory. Fleeting glimpses of what they look like and the feeling that I can remember their names if I tried really hard. However, recalling their name stays just out of reach as I write this.

What makes my memory of Ms. Buer (sp?) interesting is that she was the first teacher I had after living in 4 different cities before we settled in the little Chicago suburb called Glen Ellyn. At nearly 50 years old, I am finally grappling with the excavation of demons of my childhood. More to the point, I’m learning the trauma this pattern of moving every 1.5 to 2 years impacted on me. So, it isn’t lost on me that the one teacher I remember is the first teacher I had after relocating in the town I consider as the place I grew up. It didn’t hurt that I remember her as being one of the kindest human beings I have ever met.

I have a memory of leaving Huntington Beach, California. I was not aware of this fact at the time, but it would be the last significant move my family made. It was the move that pushed me towards Ms. Buer (sp?). I remember sitting in the back seat, I think it was a station wagon. Our house receded into the distance while tears ran down my face. Details of whether or not I was quietly crying, or sobbing out loud escapes my memorial grasp. Something tells me it was closer to an ugly cry, but it feels more dignified to remember it as something less dramatic. I couldn’t tell you if it was my mother or father who was driving.

What this memory symbolizes is loss. Loss of another bedroom. Loss of another group of friends. Loss of the belief that I am worthy of making and keeping friends. The latter resurfacing many times in my future behaviour. It materialized in the form of dropping friends for the most minuscule slight. It absolutely affected my relationships. Not only the relationships I’ve had with women, but it has affected my relationship with myself. 

I can tell you with some certainty that all those moves before I was nine would likely have been enough to write a blog post or three. Luckily for me, I think I have another book or two in me from what happened after sitting in Ms. Buer’s (sp?) classroom. It’s no secret. If you know me, I am sure you know where I’m going with this. But, I think I am going to save that for another day.

3 Comments

  1. Helen on December 28, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jon. It’s interesting how decisions we make as parents – decisions that absolutely seem like the right ones for our kids and family – can have such life-long effects on our children.

    • Jon Winebrenner on December 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm

      The part that I don’t get into in this post is that we’re also resilient. This is part of my story and part of who I am. By writing about it, I am working to be okay with it. My parents aren’t responsible for my trauma. They did nothing maliciously or with any bad intent. My trauma could just as easily been from something sinister.

      It just comes down to embracing my story.

  2. Big Boy Bed on January 6, 2021 at 4:53 am

    […] wrote about the loss of a bedroom in a previous post. The idea around what was lurking in the back of my head recently with respect […]

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