April 20-27: A Week in Hawaii
Return to the Index for 1985

January 18-20, 1985
Moving From Chicago to Dallas


This month is a watershed event for me. I will be making only the second move in my post-Army career. The first was my move to Chicago itself in 1971 to take the job with Continental Bank. I won't count the move, a year later, to a different "four plus one" apartment or the move a year after that into Eugenie Square, where I have been for the last twelve years or so. Those "in-town" exchanges of apartments are quite common in the city.


Preparing for Moving Day

When we got back to Chicago from our successful house-hunting trip to Dallas, we began the myriad preparations for a move in mid-January. I had just ordered some new furniture, and Grant helped me switch the delivery to Dallas and change the date to coincide with our arrival there. We planned to move down in mid-January; I had one class to do in the first full week of the year, but I blocked out the next two for the move. We found a moving company and got the packing and pickup scheduled. Grant sorely needed a new car, so we purchased a new one, a Pontiac Grand Am. (As it turned out, we would ride down to Dallas together in my car, and one of Grant's nephews would bring his car to Dallas a bit later on.)

If you've already been through 1984 in this album, you know that Grant and I looked through the new townhouse in November, and by mid-November had made an offer and had it accepted. In the weeks up through mid-December, while I was traveling, Grant was instrumental in getting the arrangements made for the move. He coordinated with the movers, picked up boxes and made lists of things we needed to do. I called Dallas and arranged for electric and phone service to be transferred, and dealt with George by mail to sign the purchase documents. I actually took title to the townhouse in mid-December, and George arranged to inspect the townhouse after the Hawkinses moved out, and then close it up until we arrived.

Grant and I were in North Carolina for Christmas, but when we returned we both started packing in earnest, as Grant had scheduled the movers to pick up our things the day before and the day of our departure.


Moving Day: The Trip to Dallas

The moving company picked up Grant's things on January 17th, and he stayed with his family that night. The movers came to pick up my things early on our departure date, January 18th.

When the movers arrived at my apartment, I had pretty much packed up everything small. They had those boxes to move, and of course they had the big items of furniture to take as well. There weren't that many of them, as I had sold a bunch of stuff that was going to be replaced by the new furniture that I had ordered, but which would now be delivered directly to Dallas.

I decided not to see the condo, but rather to keep it as an investment to be rented out. I had a friend, Robert Banker, who rented it for the first year I was gone, and then I was able to find a longer term renter who took it for a few years after that.

After the movers left, and the apartment was empty, I had that feeling of nostalgia that you can get when you leave behind a place that has meant so much to you, and where so much has happened. I had a bit of that feeling when I moved from Indianapolis to Chicago, but since I'd only lived in Indy for my last year in the Army, I hadn't gotten that attached to the apartment I'd rented. So this was the first time I had ever left a place where I'd spent more than a year, and it felt quite odd. I wouldn't want to be one of those families who have to move every four or five years because of work.

I took some pictures this last afternoon, but all of them, save the one that is on this year's Miscellaneous page, seem to be missing. If I find them, I will include them here later.

I drove out to Grant's family house to pick up him and the things he was bringing with him, and by three-thirty or four we were on our way to Dallas. We stayed overnight in St. Louis, and I took Grant into the office there to meet some of my co-workers.

We left St. Louis about noon, and continued south on Interstate 55, driving quite leisurely down through Memphis. We were actually trying to time our arrival with that of the moving vans, so that we would have some furniture to sleep on our first night in Dallas. That worked out- sort of.

In downtown Memphis, we picked up Interstate 40 west towards Little Rock, and we reached Little Rock around dinnertime. We decided to push on a bit further, and we stayed overnight in Texarkana; this would leave us an easy drive of about four hours to get into Dallas.

So, on the morning of January 20th, we left our motel and by late morning we were coming by downtown Dallas on the way to the condo. I had never driven from Little Rock to Dallas before; while I had done a class in Little Rock once upon a time, I simply flew in and out of that city. But the highway was well-marked, and we got into town with no problem.

I won't bother showing you our route into the city. At the time, it was all new to me, although by 2017 (as I write this) almost all the highways into and out of Dallas are very, very familiar to me.

Essentially, we came into town on Interstate 30, which in Dallas is known as the R. L. Thornton Freeway; it leads directly into downtown Dallas. (I might point out that Dallas and Fort Worth have an odd habit of naming their freeways for people; they rarely use the actual Interstate numbers. This makes it difficult for newbies to town to find their way around, as most maps show the Interstate numbers.)

On the east side of downtown, you get on Central Expressway heading north and then exit on Lemmon Avenue heading northwest. After three or four miles you come to the intersection with Inwood Road, and there you turn right and head north. Greenway Villas Townhomes is about a mile north of Lemmon on the west side of Inwood. It is a fifteen-townhome cluster right on Inwood, and the home we have bought is in the southwest corner of the small development. It is a quiet unit, as it is not right on Inwood, and since it is at the end of the six-home building, it also has windows on three sides.

The complex is located about a mile north of Love Field, about three miles from the center of town. Even though it is very close-in, the entire area is single-family homes and residential streets. Inwood is lined with lovely, large homes. Across Inwood from us is Greenway Park, one of the three separate towns known collectively as the Park Cities (Highland Park, University Park and Greenway Park). Highland Park is one of the wealthiest towns in the United States; the average home there costs $750,000. On my side of Inwood Road, the homes are much less expensive (and so the property taxes are much less). Except for our townhomes, all the homes on my side of Inwood are single-family. So it is a very nice area; it seems like a suburb but it is very close-in.


Our Arrival at the Dallas Townhouse

When we left Texarkana, we called the moving company and found that Mayflower had split our belongings across two trucks- something we had specifically requested them not to do. The first truck would not arrive until tomorrow with the second two days after that. We had to spend our first night with George Pelletier at his house.

The first truck did arrive the next day; it turned out to have my stuff on it; the second actually arrived the next day. Both shipments had some damage- some chair legs and a lamp or two. All the delay was inconvenient, and of course getting things fixed was a hassle, even though Mayflower eventually paid for the repairs. But, all in all, I would not use that company again for a move.

In the picture at left, one of the first I took here in Dallas, you can see that much of the load from the first truck is still in the garage; the big things were moved in by the movers but we have lots of accessories to move in ourselves. You will also note that their is snow on the ground. Both Grant and I were pretty amazed at this, since Dallas rarely gets any snow at all.

But in one of those oddities that crop up, the day we arrived in Dallas, January 20, Dallas set a record for low temperature. On the night of the 20th, the temperature reached 8 degrees- the lowest temperature in 50 years- and there was a couple of inches of snow. Grant and I wondered why we'd left Chicago, if this was the kind of weather we were going to encounter here. That's tongue-in-cheek, of course, since temperatures this low are very, very rare here. Actually, I might just mention here that today the temperature rose to 40, and when the second truck arrived tomorrow, it was above 50. That is what we were told about Dallas weather, and what we have come to understand first-hand: while Dallas may get cold, the cold never lasts long; while Dallas may get periods of rain, they rarely last more than a day or two. The one thing that Dallas does get, and that does last is the heat of the summer.

The movers left many of the small things in the garage because we couldn't decide exactly where to put them. Grant is very much the decorator. He doesn't like to place anything temporarily, and we also had some wallpapering and painting to do before everything could be moved in. In addition, the truck with most of Grant's things on it was still to arrive. It is very nice to have my own garage for a change, and not have to either park on the street or walk a long distance from a space in the garage in Chicago. You just go out the back door, hop in the car, and you are gone.

As I said, we are on the west end of our building, so the common driveway goes around the back and side of our townhouse. (Only residents drive back here, so if ten cars a day go past, that's a lot. Beyond the fence in the far background there is a small grocery store- Simon-David, an independent store as upscale as the area. It's not a huge supermarket, but they carry just about everything you might want and is certainly convenient.

Instead of the balcony I had in Chicago, here we have a 10x10 foot patio that is half-covered with a trellis. It is a nice outdoor space, with French doors out to it from the kitchen breakfast area. That's Carolina Jasmine along the fence.

We plan to buy a barbeque grill for the patio, as well as a set of patio furniture; we will probably be doing a lot of outside living in all but the heat of the summer.

To have snow on the ground for more than a few hours is very unusual in Dallas; this particular snowfall took two days to disappear completely.

Although we were met with bad weather (or at least cold weather) and had some difficulties with the moving company, our arrival in Dallas went smoothly. I stayed off the road for another week, and during that time we got quite a lot done.


An Update on the Dallas Townhouse

By mid-March, we had been in the townhouse for a couple of months, and quite a lot has gotten done. I had a chance to take a few pictures in the past week, and I want to include them on this page.

I took one room picture on a Friday night after I returned from a week in St. Louis; this is the family room over the garage. As you may know, the townhouse has two stairways, with the rear one just inside the door to the garage leading up to this room, which has a fireplace and its own bath. I think it was intended to be an "in-law's" apartment or perhaps a suite for a long-term guest, but it is one of the nicest rooms in the house.

After two months, not all the rooms are quite finished (curtains, wallpaper and paint and some other things still need to be completed), but we have at least tried to get everything put into the room where it will eventually go. We first used this room as our bedroom while we were getting the master bedroom ready, but we moved into it some time ago. But the guest room is not quite ready, and that's where my cannonball bed will eventually go.

So we have left the family room set up as a bedroom; we haven't done much with the curtains and walls, but I suspect that Grant has some plans for all of that. The desk that used to be in my entry hall in Chicago is by the window at the right, and the little sofa from my office/spare bedroom is right in front of the bed. The console television used to be in the corner of my Chicago living room.

Furnishing and outfitting a four-bedroom home is quite an undertaking. My previous efforts at decorating had consisted mainly of shoving furniture up against walls, putting lamps at the end of each sofa and by each chair, putting a TV at the end of the room and the stereo next to it, and so on. But then, I've never claimed to be a "decorator".

Here is a nice picture of our townhouse from the front. The snow from January is long gone, and the afternoon temperatures are already sometimes north of 70°. The complex was constructed only twenty months ago, and the landscaping is just now beginning to fill in. Most of it is groundcover, but there are some small bushes that were planted in early 1984; they didn't do much in their first year, but are beginning to fill in now.

Grant, has been busy getting the house in order; he has an eye for color, for arrangement and for accessories. I love that about him. He always knows just what will go where, and what will go with what. It seemed as if every day that I was home, which wasn't many days in the first part of this year, we had to go shopping for something or other. I told Grant to hold off on looking very hard for a job right away and help me get the house in order instead, since I was traveling so much. I think he was happy to hear that, as decorating and making a house a home is something he loves to do.

One fly in the ointment, though, is that Grant is the type of person who absolutely must have the best of everything, even if it means mortgaging oneself to the hilt, so we did have to have some discussions of just how much we were willing to spend and how classy we wanted to get. I knew that the room over the garage would eventually be a family room, with a place for people to congregate, but for the moment we made it a bedroom, putting my bedroom set in it. We actually used the master, but the other two bedrooms Grant wanted to get decorated before we put a lot of furniture in them. We couldn't get his big sectional in the family room, so that had to be sold (it wouldn't go up the stairs and it wasn't worth taking it in a window).

One area that I (we) had nothing for at all was the patio, so we went to Sears and bought a patio table and chairs and a barbecue grill. The closest Sears is at Valley View Mall about six miles north of here. We will have to move our bicycles into the garage before we can set up the patio furniture.

I suppose that is the only bad thing about where we are located here in Dallas; there are no large stores or shopping malls nearby. Of course, there is the grocery store just north of our complex, but the next closest shopping is either along Lemmon Avenue, a half mile south, or up at Lovers Lane, a half mile north. But there are no large stores- like a Best Buy, a Wal-Mart, a department store or a supermarket- on either of those streets. Most of the stores on Lovers Lane are boutiques or restaurants (although there is a McDonalds a ways down the street and a drug store); the stores on Lemmon seem to be mostly car dealers, restaurants and various other services. The nearest mall is Northpark, about four miles away; the nearest large supermarket is about two miles away; the nearest Target or Wal-Mart is six miles from here. So when we need something specific, and we want to go to a store with a large selection and reasonable prices, it is usually at least a four mile drive. But once we get the townhouse in order, we won't need to make so many trips.

The rest of the house started to come together gradually. Grant also worked on selecting paint and wallpaper for the various areas that we wanted to change, but Mrs. Hawkins had done a pretty good job in some of the rooms. By the middle of March, things were coming together nicely, at least until we could decide on what major things, if any, we wanted to do. One thing that needed doing was the conversion of the downstairs front bedroom into an office/study, a place for me to work. I had done the same thing with my second bedroom in Chicago, putting in bookshelves and a desk. Grant agreed that having a bookshelf wall with integral computer desk area would be a good idea, so we have begun to look for carpenters that can do a job of that size.

I've never lived in a place with an outside patio before, so I am unfamiliar with plants. This, I understand, is Carolina Jasmine that Mrs. Hawkins planted; it is climbing the back patio fence. This vine is lovely in the Spring, I am told, and already you can see some of the yellow flowers that it produces for about a month or two in March and April. The patio has some nice areas for flowers, but we have not done much with it yet.

The townhouse is quite the nicest place I have ever lived. Downstairs in front is the study/office with a full bath that is used as the powder room. Behind it is the dining area and the living room, behind them the kitchen, breakfast area and patio, and behind that the garage. Upstairs in front is the guest bedroom (the circular window in the front picture above is a window in its walk-in closet) with its bath, and behind it the master bedroom with its master bath. There is another stairway at the back of the house that leads to the room above the garage which is the family room. At the moment, my desk from Chicago is there, and I use that area to pay bills and keep records.

Already we are enjoying our bicycles as we ride them around the nice neighborhoods near the house. Behind us, about two streets or so, it is totally black, but the houses are all small brick cottage type houses, and most of them have been well-kept up. It is considered a good area to live in, whether you are minority or not. On the other side of Inwood, the houses are much larger than behind us. Simon-David is the only commercial building (and it doesn't look like your average supermarket) near us. The big area of shops and stores and restaurants is up on Lovers Lane about a half-mile up Inwood. There you can find almost anything (including our post office and bank), so it is very convenient.

Across Inwood is Greenway Park, which is nominally one of the "Park Cities" which are considered the best places in town to live. All the old money is there, although there are other areas North on Inwood that have bigger homes. Those more Northern areas are considered "nouveau riche." The Park Cities consist of Greenway Park, University Park (named for SMU) and Highland Park. The homes are large and the streets fun to ride bikes on.


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April 20-27: A Week in Hawaii
Return to the Index for 1985