Wandering… an excerpt from Ch. 11 of NEVER SETTLED: a memoir of a boy on the road to manhood

It’s difficult to describe how our moving took us cross country many times, especially in the early days. When I say we lived in twenty places in Colorado, we didn’t always move from one place in Colorado to another. We often moved to Indiana, then Wisconsin, down to Kansas, up to Nebraska, over to Nevada, then back to a new place in Colorado. The best I can describe it is… we were wandering. The phrase, “Not all who wander are lost,” comes to mind. We just never settled down in one place. I don’t know that my dad had a heart for adventure as much as he left all of his problems behind every time, hoping to start anew and find a better life somewhere else. In all reality, he was lost. Very lost. 

Back in April 1975, when I was only 21 months old, Dad had started his good job at the steel mills in northern Indiana. The job was good and the living was good. My parents bought their first house in Hobart Township. This was near where they grew up. They had just three kids at this time. Terri, my older sister of six years and Jimmy, my older brother of four years.

When the steel mill laid my dad off one too many times, our real wandering began. Dad saw the dangers in his line of work and watched a man literally fall into a vat of hot molten steel and disintegrate before his very eyes. The work was treacherous and challenging, but the money was good, until it wasn’t. We lived there for two and a half years and then began wandering…

(later in the chapter)

I can only imagine how our school documents followed us or didn’t follow us during our school transitions. I wonder if my parents even told them where we were previously. I’m sure if they did, they only told them about the previous stop. They must have kept our important documents like birth certificates and shot records readily available since they needed to constantly keep enrolling us in a new school. If they didn’t have them, I’m sure it would have been a red flag for a school district to sick Children’s Services on us. Amazingly, we only ended up in a foster home the one time in Loogootee (other than Terri & Jimmy running away in high school and finishing their high school careers in foster homes).

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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