Moving Day

Last week Gigs wrote a touching and heartfelt piece on being sacked andwhat that meant for him and his family. It was raw, brilliant, brave and open and generated a tremendous amount of support and commentary.

This Friday is moving day for me, and I can’t guarantee I won’t fall in a crumpled emotional heap.

When I lost/left my job in May last year, within a few months it was clear the payout and the job market meant that we couldn’t keep our wonderful family dream home. Whilst I never wanted to put so much store in walls and windows, it had become something fantastic, and leaving it, as well as the circumstances around leaving it, still pain daily.

Having sold, (eventually, and at a rotten price), with a 6 months setlement, there were times when moving seemed so long away, that you could forget it was coming.

Howver, the arrival of boxes and bubble wrap, as well as mail for the new owners, signaled the date was soon approaching.

I should point out, that we have moved often. My son will, in 3 short weeks, turn 12, and will do so in his 7th house. My 18 year beautiful marriage, and two years previous of abhorent living in sin (and in Geelong, so hard to say which was seen as worse by our families) have seen over 15 places, so we should be Ok with being transient.

However, this one hurts, the only one really that was taken from our hands, where we didn’t sell and move on our terms, and the only one that it causing tears.

It’s also the first one my actions have led to, negatively.

Last Friday, when junior footy training finished, my boy was in tears. Years ago, when he started Auskick, tears would indicate not getting a kick in the all-in-game that finishes those brilliant Saturday morning events. Later, tears would indicate a Hawks loss. Now, as he is on the verge of young manhood, and his football ability is at a very high level, tears are for more tangible and realistic things, like the loss of a house and what the place has meant to him.

He’s coped with three straight losses to the junior football season, after a flag last year in the lower division, and got through the Cats last quarter heroics (again) in Round 2 against his beloved Mayblooms.

But now, it is a sign of his maturity that the impending relocation has tangible impacts, like not being able to walk to and from school with his mates anymore.

Moving this time has meant far more culling than in past moves. The trip to the tip was cleansing and unemotional, the dispersal of goods to family and friends was easier than we thought and the Brotherhood donations made with limited anxiety and sense of loss.

We are downsizing, figuratively and emotionally, and anticipating a difficult few days.

I am in typical man-mode. Hauling boxes, clearing sheds, taping up boxes and whipping them into the car to transport. Tomorrow, Anzac Day will be spent clearing the attic and shed for numerous trips to the rented house, whilst Thursday is final boxing up and Friday the furniture van arrives. Last Saturday, I did about 10 car trips, riding the Dons upset whilst unpacking the boot, and Sunday was the same, only it was the short rise and not unexpected fall of the young Tigers that kept me company.

I am stoic and tough, as men my age seem to be, avoiding, like trips to get the prostate checked, any need to stop and really see what is happening and how it is impacting me. It is clear the impact it is having on others, but I lose myself in lists and tasks.

Our house was the home of the Sherrin family for over 30 years, and there are loads of stories and memories from their time here when old father Sherrin was the Pies pres, the Eddie of his day. His son, Syd, wrote a great book of his family history and their football dynasty, expecially the manufacturing of the central part of our great game, which included photos of our home, so the walls here weep with footy stories and of back room politics.

We leave behind my 98 year old neighbour, Bill, who still looks after himself and has only just had his car taken from him by his understandably concerned family. As well as leaving a note about bin night for the new owners, I will ask them to watch out for Bill. We, a little morbidly, would always ensure that his morning papers were collected each day, as a ‘sign of life’ and that his cat was not wailing in hunger. Bill will miss our cat, but at his age, I think has seen neighbours come and go.

Our forever family home, that my love and I envisaged staring at the ceiling in bed waiting for our teenage children to return home late at night to, or wondering how many cars could fit in the driveway when they got licences, or images of being an embarassing dad, telling stories of how they farted when younger when boyfriends or girlfriends came to pick up their dates, has not lasted until their teens.

Friday is moving day, and that night we shall sleep again in a new place. Actions out of my hands have created this move, and we again redirect mail and changes phone numbers.

As well as carrying boxes, I am carrying my loving family to a new location this week. I am hauling car loads of memories to be implanted on another set of rooms and asking my family to get used to new views from their bedroom windows and hoping the pets don’t get lost.

We are moving again. Bugger.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Sean. Change seems to have a relentless, even brutal, momentum of its own sometimes, carrying all before it without any respect for what we think we want or need – the certainty of comfortable stasis. The best thing you can do is just play what is immediately in front of you. Hopefully this latest change of direction will bring you new opportunities that you may not otherwise have encountered and put your present pain into some proper, sensible (if there is such a thing!), context when you reflect down the track. It sounds like you are taking something with you that is much more important and resilient than bricks and mortar.

  2. John Harms says

    To quote a football bard: like a cork in the ocean.

    Hope it is as good as it can be tomorrow, Sean.

  3. Lea (Dreaded Mother-In-Law) says

    Darling Sean,
    I have been deeply moved by this brilliant disclosure of your feelings. You are always so outwardly bright and infuriatingly optimistic. I see this piece as a cathartic statement of your current status, and, as such, very healing. You are going to the next bright chapter, to the excitement of renovating a super house, only a few blocks from your current home. We can all look at those who are suffering more, like our family friends who lost a daughter this week, a 20 year old who needed Beyond Blue, but chose to opt out of life instead.
    You will be fine, funny, fabulous again, and we will all be there to unpack (again) and paint walls (again) and dig gardens (again), because that is what life IS.
    Be ready to celebrate as we pop the corks (again)! Love Yoyo and Parto

  4. You only get to find your true self by being tested in the fire. I always loved the end of TS Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’. It took me and mine a lot of hard years and yards to realise the truth of it.

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Through the unknown, unremembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree
    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
    Between two waves of the sea.
    Quick now, here, now, always—
    A condition of complete simplicity
    (Costing not less than everything)
    And all shall be well and
    All manner of thing shall be well
    When the tongues of flame are in-folded
    Into the crowned knot of fire
    And the fire and the rose are one. “

  5. Big Toe

    That’s some mother in law you have there.

    Love your piece. It was filled with such warmth, I felt like I was reading it by an open fire place (and that was something, considering that I was in a damp cold office at the time!)
    Keep em coming

  6. John Harms says

    G’day Sean,

    Just a quick word of thanks. Your earlier piece was the catalyst for Tony Birch’s seminar last night, which I found very engaging and informative.

    All the best with the move. Hope to catch you at another Almanac function.

  7. Sean,

    to some property is just a dwelling and a financial development vehicle. To others it is so much more.

    In my garden, which is large, I have plants and trees that remind me of people, some who have died and some still living. I go to specif ic places and think of the person who grew the plant or the time that the children helped me put it in.

    As seasons change different things happen in that garden, colours, smells and sounds. I suppose there is little chance of me ever striking it lucky in the Tatts department, but if I did I would fix a few (lie, there are heaps) essential maintenance things but not move. I have no urge for the dream home because I already have it, a rustic old weather board cottage that in places is only held together by memories.

    I fully understand how people become attached to places. It is a very strong emotion.

  8. Sean – wonderful and touching piece. How does that saying go? – To leave is to die a little,

    I reckon moving house is one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever undertaken. Thankfully it has only happened 2 or 3 times. Good luck with it.

    Phantom – my garden is similar to yours (though its not large). Recently a good mate of mine died suddenly. A jacaranda tree, that he grew from a seed, is growing stronglyin our front yard. As I gaze at it I think of him.

  9. Hi Sean – my apologies, I have only just caught up with your wonderfully moving piece. By the time you read this, you probably will have made the move. I hope it all went without too much of a hitch. There will be hard days ahead, I’m sure. Since writing my piece, I’ve had the expected roller-coaster of emotions. Days fall of hope and optimism and nights of despair. I know that if I keep pushing through this, there will be new and wonderful experiences ahead for me. I’m sure it will be the same for you and your family.

    Thanks for your kind words about my piece and for sharing your story too.

    Good luck and just as they have been with me, the Almanac world is right behind you.

  10. Thanks to all for the kind wishes and support. What a great community. People who love footy and writing can’t be all bad, and your words that arrived regulalry during moving day itself made me smile often.

    What wonderful words about gardens Dips and Phanto created, evoking touching images of quiet reflection as both of you take time out, staring at what are so much more than leaves and branches to you both, really vivid.

    TBone, we had our last open fire on Anzac night, so your cosy image was again timely.

    Gigs, feel for you and wish you success and peace, and my offer to help, as the offers from all the Almanac community, is always there.

    Niall, kind thoughts and great support, and yes, you have to play what you get dealt, even if they are aces and 8s.

    PB, a beautiful poem, really appreciate you taking the time to share it. Yes, thsi tested us, and we appear reasonably unsinged, so far.

    John, great seminar and appreciate the words and support.

    Moving day was business mostly, logistics tend to trump emotions, but I will admit to losing it as I watched the boy leave to walk to school one last time. Something about the kids saying ‘bye house’ that did me in.

    It’s now a shell, just walls and windows, and I will make the trip over to bring in the rubbish bins tomorrow and make sure the new owners have a clean floor and empty mail box. Your memories travel with your furniture, and the family that exists around you.

    It was a great place though…


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