Submitted by Devin Alston
It’s the summer in between my sophomore and junior year in high school, and I can remember looking down at a few boxes with my name, Devin Alston, written on them. We had packed just about everything and we were ready to go. My Mother sat in the front of a giant UHAUL truck, and had her GPS pulled up with the destination of Houston, Texas displayed on it. She had packed very lightly, donating a good chunk of her stuff or selling whatever was of some value. I had tried to bring every little object with me. I later would realize this was a huge mistake.
Before getting in the truck, I can remember crawling on my roof to look at my beautiful home of Las Vegas, Nevada one more time. I had lived here for 15 and a half years. We were moving to get a fresh start and potentially better financial stability. My heart was hurting at the thought of leaving all my friends. Most of them hadn’t even known I was changing schools, even more so changing states because I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them. Instead I said it was just a summer vacation. At the time I was attending the Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts High School in downtown Las Vegas. I was an art major there, which explains why most of my boxes were filled with paints, brushes, and pencils.
My mother made the call that it was all time to go. It was just me and my Mother, and we were planning to stay with my aunt who had been living in Houston for a few years now, just until we could get on our own feet. I thought about what it would be like, I was already used to not seeing my Dad often, for my Mother is a single Mother, but to imagine not even being on the same coast as him was an odd feeling.
The drive from southern Nevada to southeast Texas was not bad at all. My Mother had been making smaller moves back and forth with my aunt’s pickup truck. We sang songs, but still driving slow enough not to cause an avalanche of stuff in our UHAUL. We did not pack our scrapbooks and photo albums in boxes, but rather in a small suitcase up front so we could look at some of our greatest moments to pass the the time along during the drive. Looking at the old pictures with my mom became not only one of my favorite parts of moving, but one of my favorite memories. We were already close but sitting together in the UHAUL talking about our plans for the future with the new move bonded us like never before.
Often times when the conversation went dull, I would like out at the open road and try to calculate how many people were on the road with us, not just around us, but as a whole. How many people were moving? The science of long distance moving, the sound of human movement, it got me all very wrapped up. It is this moment I look back at when I think about where I want my direction in life to point to. I think of all the men and women it takes to keep lur country running. I would sit and ponder these thoughts for hours at a time and I would often drift off with these thoughts still racing in my mind.
We got to my aunts in the middle of the night, the official move in day was bright and early tomorrow morning. The next morning, I awoke to the sound of men in blue uniforms bringing objects into the house. All the boxes that had my name on them were laid out in the driveway. Most of which were crushed. The mover man said that there was so much stuff that it most likely just collapsed on itself. Something told me that after that moment it was time to declutter my possessions. My advice for anyone moving, especially teens like myself, would be to get rid of at least a quarter of your belongings, and whatever you do decide to keep, make sure you keep track of where everything is. My Mom made the mistake of leaving her pillows and bed set back in Nevada. Now that I had sorted things out and downsized, I got everything settled and set up in my room exactly how I wanted it. This, surely did not last for long. Our move to Houston had not been going smoothly, and my Mom had decided that it would be in our best interest to just move right back to Las Vegas. And so, we did. Same house, same school, same everything, as though the move never even happened — this time, with less stuff, but more memories.
Now I am 17, soon to be 18 this coming August. I am hoping to, once again move long distance to start my freshman year at the Louisiana State University if I receive enough funds to do so. There I plan to major in their famous Pre-Law Hybrid program with a focus on geography and coastal sciences with a minor in disaster management services. I had many family members devastated by Hurricane Harvey, including my aunt who I lived with shortly in Houston. With my degree in disaster management services. I hope to further advance the nations technologies on how we save people, as well as transport goods from one side of the country to the other in times of need. I think often to myself, perhaps, if we had a more efficient and quick method of action when crisis approaches, her home, along with many, could have been saved.
Both my aunt and my mother see my aspiration, and they are doing as much as they can to get me back to the south to pursue my career and my dreams at the university in Louisiana. The money is tight, but as any great support system would, they are praying, pushing, and helping me make my dreams come true.
Submitted by Devin Alston
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