Mad fall

(My last fall post jumped from 27 years to 2006. Staying non-linear, this one falls back to the 20th century).

In October 1995, I got a new job. I had been working at a newspaper in Milwaukee since college, but after almost five years, I was still part-time. For the last 18 months, I was almost making full-time money with extra shifts, stringing and a temporary full-time assignment. But by 1995, I was still technically part-time with few benefits. I was tired of waiting for the promotion that wasn't coming (and became less imminently likely after the two papers in Milwaukee merged -- I was just happy to still be employed). I theoretically was going off my dad's health insurance at 25, and with Lori and I not quite ready to get married, I pushed ahead with a job search.

After a few interviews, I finally was hired in Madison. Lori and I were both so excited -- she loved her old college town, and I finally had taken the big step I had coveted since I graduated three years earlier. We drove out to Madison on one of my days off to find an apartment and for Lori to interview for a job (which she got). The day was cloudy, but we were pumped. I discovered a '70s station in Madison and listened to it while driving around the city while Lori was interviewing. We visited several apartment complexes, ate lunch at an Irish pub, and basked in the imminent move.

The rest of that October was crazy while we moved our lives to Madison. That Saturday night, after my dad and sister, who helped us with the move, had left to return to Chicago, I took the Celica (my grandmother's old car; they had just given it us that week) in search of Chinese takeout for our first meal in the new apartment. I asked at a gas station and found a good place somewhat nearby. But as I drove around that my new city that night, I felt as if I had finally arrived. Enormous confidence. The new adventure had begun.

That first month in Madison was cloudy. And it was frenetic. Lori was still working in Milwaukee for a few more weeks and commuting. I explored my new city after work (I was on extreme morning and was usually off by 1 p.m.). I took walks in the neighborhood behind our apartment complex, including down one wooded street without sidewalks (and I still remember the CD I was listening too -- a Sounds of the '70s compilation with "Hold the Line" by Toto on it; I was big on '70s music in the mid-1990s). We went to a couple Wisconsin football games. We tried new restaurants in our new west-side neighborhoods, including Griff's (a burger/custard joint, which I miss; just found out while searching for a link that it closed a couple years ago).

The novelty of our new town wore off a little as the fall ended. The '70s station changed formats after Thanksgiving. Lori started her new job in Madison.Winter arrived, and winter in Mad Town was no different than in Milwaukee (cold and snowy). We loved Madison, but it became less new, especially for me, as we settled into our lives there.We were engaged six months later, married in 1997. Though we flirted with the idea of settling down permanently in Madison, eventually, we left for Utah in the summer of 2000 and have been here since.

The grayness of fall, the falling temperatures and the early evenings can feel bleak, but it does sometimes remind me of the start of a big chapter in our lives. The clouds hovered over a new adventure in 1995, but the sun was shining behind them nonetheless.


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