29 April, 2016

Y is for York, Pennsylvania

After college, I floundered. I was living in the Chicago area, working at the same job I had during college – now full-time – which felt like a cop-out. My friends were moving away or settling into the suburbs, which I did not get. What’s the point of being a part of the big city community if you never go into the city?

I ventured into a grad school program, not into a field I was drawn to, but one that gained major points with my dad. Surprise! I never finished that program, but I did drift into a several-month-long depression.

I had been living with my parents for a couple months when an old college friend who had moved away called.

Friend: Hey! Hubs got a position in someplace called York, Pennsylvania, and we’re going to be in northern Indiana for the weekend to pack up all our storage stuff. We’re calling all of our friends who still live within a reasonable distance…Want to help?

Me: Well sure! I’d love a weekend away from the house!

I saw this as my way out of a dead-end life that was driving me insane. Not wanting to explain myself to anyone, I simply packed my backpack with enough for about a week, and headed out. My intention was to help them load up the rental truck, and when they hit the road, I’d hit the road, too, going wherever the road took me.

During a day-and-a-half of catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in about 3 years, somehow I ended up explaining my plan. She was mortified at the capriciousness of my decision, but soon realized she wasn’t talking me out of it.

Later that night she suggested that I follow them as far as York.

Friend: If you’re hitting the road anyway, why not come with us? We’d love to have help unpacking in York, and you can stay with us a week or so and see if you like it. If not, move on. If York suits you, we can help you get set up there, too! Neither of us know anyone there, so it’ll be nice to be able to support each other.

That actually sounded reasonable. It wasn’t like I was committing to anything. I agreed.

Within my “one week” in York, I found a full-time job in retail, and decided I might as well stick around a year and save up for the next leg of my life’s adventure.

I got stuck for three years.

All in all, York is not my favorite place on earth, but in those three years I made some solid friends I am still in contact with today, so it must have been alright!

Moral of the Story: You have the power to change your life!


  1. I like this story, Red. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I have made such capricious moves -- and then gotten stuck there. As for York, my old stamping grounds: I grew up in the Philadelphia western suburbs, so my father used to take us for Sunday drives out there; and then I had two college roommates from York. It's a beautiful area, I think. Interestingly, I'm doing an author presentation and book signing here May 22 with an author from here in Delaware who now lives in York.

    1. York, Lancaster, and Hershey were all a part of my time up there. You're right - very beautiful. I just somehow didn't "fit". Except with my theatre peeps. York Little Theatre had a wonderful, broad repertoire.

  2. Wow, that's an amazing story. I love the idea of just picking up like that, but I don't know that I'd ever actually do it. You are a brave, brave person.

    1. I don't know that I could now. But moving out from under someone else's roof? Pretty easy at the time.

  3. Wow! You are so brave! Not many people can randomly take off like you did :) Kudos to you :)


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