Yesterday was a sad, heavy-hearted day. Thoughts of Las Vegas and lives lost, the injured, and grieving loved-ones permeated my being, and today that feeling deepens. Relatives and friends have texted or called me saying how glad they were that Joan and I had moved away from Las Vegas. Although I love our new home in Idaho, Las Vegas will always hold memories, both good and not-so-good, and I do not regret moving there all those years ago. My only regret is more a realization that we now live in some scary times. Everywhere.
I moved to Las Vegas from Ohio almost twelve years ago, rolling into the city on September 22nd in 2005. I remember this because September 22nd is also my younger son’s birthday. I made the journey alone, with Joan planning to join me three months later. I took my time, enjoying the drive and the sights, and took three days to get there. It was a wonderful, incident-free road trip of which I will always cherish the many memories made.
When I arrived at Hoover Dam, which is about 45 minutes from Vegas, I pulled over and took a short video to commemorate the occasion. I have turned my computer and The Cloud inside-out and cannot find that video! This makes me sad because it was an important milestone and I meant to hold on to it. Oh well, things come and go, but if we’re lucky, we still hold those precious memories in our hearts.
So, I suppose you’ll have to take my word for it, but I was excited and giggly and downright giddy about arriving at my new home. I remember it was around 4:30 pm when I reached the outskirts of the city, and rush-hour was quite scary. I almost had an accident before I even reached my new apartment. Then, when I finally did arrive, there was no electricity. Since the temperature was almost 100 degrees, I was unhappy about having no air-conditioning. However, everything worked itself out and within a couple of days, I was fully comfortable in my new place.
Those memories of the early days in Vegas were lovely. I gambled and won a jackpot. I decorated. I shopped. I traveled to Boise to see my son and grandson. I (half-heartedly) searched for a job, which I found quite easily. Jobs were plentiful back then, but that changed with the onset of the recession in 2008.
Both my sons and my grandson spent that first Christmas with me, and Joan arrived the day after Christmas. She found a job quickly, as well, and we did very well for a few years, until she had her stroke. That seemed to be a turning point for us. I also lost my job that year and was unable to find suitable employment for quite a while. Joan’s recovery took a long time, and she has had some side-effects that have caused some permanent consequences. She was able to go on disability after a few years, but things were very hard up until then.
I was able to gain employment working from home as a customer service agent, which I hated more than I can say. Vegas life no longer held the allure for us that it had before. When my son and his wife offered to move us up to Idaho, we took a year to prepare and save, I retired, and we moved this past July, after eleven years and ten months in Las Vegas.
Do I miss Vegas? Tough question. I miss the early years we lived there, but with Joan’s disability and my mobility issues, life was very hard for us toward the end. Compounding the situation was a violent downstairs neighbor who (we are quite certain) beat his wife and threatened us with frequent loud rants and pounding on the walls, and we felt unsafe. We became depressed. It was time to leave Las Vegas.
Our move was smooth and fun. My son and his wife drove their truck with an attached trailer containing our stuff, and Joan and I rode in our car. We took two days to drive and very much enjoyed the sights and scenery on our way to Idaho. The rest of the summer has been spent happily settling into our new home.
I do miss the few friends I made in Las Vegas, but thanks to the magic of social media, we can stay in touch.
This post is to honor those victims, families, first-responders, and residents of Las Vegas. I am proud to hear of how Las Vegas has rallied around those who have lost and who are suffering. I lived there long enough to know of the resilience and compassion of Las Vegas natives, and never expected any less than the amazing response they have given during this saddest of times.