Au Revoir

I just recently moved to Madison, WI, but before I settle in too much, I’d like to say farewell to Libertyville.

The last year and a half of living in Libertyville was wonderful. Right after graduating from Kalamazoo, I moved into the good ol’ Ballard Bed & Breakfast (Mom’s house). I ran around the yard with my dogs, Molly and Rosie, slept up in a tree and ate like a king from the bounty of our garden, as my mother so affectionately says. Although my time at SB & SB’s B&B was short-lived, it will always feel like home (and of course, the fireplace – if I could choose a way to die, curl me up inside of that fireplace with a cup of coffee, pile some logs around me, and light a match – happy as a clam I’d be, minus the burning alive part).

When October 2013 rolled around, after much convincing, I moved into a way-too-nice-given-the-shenanigans-of-the-tenants house with long-time friend, Jon Goff, and new-time friend, Tommy Kenney. Some highlights of my time there include: fruit splattered walls, living room spikeball, frozen ham bowling, cookie punting, immitation crab sticks, Austrialian vagabonds, Netflix loading screens, erupting homebrews, ever-moving clown dolls, broken heating during the depth of the coldest winter I’ve ever faced, flooded street biking, flooded basement cleaning, and, of course, excessive amounts of Raffi. We had a good time. Even got to see a coyote try to steal our neighbor’s little rat dog (Truly terrifying to witness, and yet…). It was a beautiful home and a super fun place to end my first year out of college.

Bro Taco
Señor Leatherwood, Señor Goff y Señor Kenney

Well, as the truism goes, all good things must come to an end – we had milked eight months out of the house on Huntington. Tommy graduated from TIU and left Chicago for a little bike ride to San Diego, fundraising to fight human trafficking or whatever. I think Jon got married to someone named Marlin or Harley or something. Of course, I jest – They are both incredible people and I am so thankful to know them.

Following my departure from the bro-pad, I had the wonderful opportunity to move into the old School Street building and reconnect with my sweet, aging father. (Don’t be deceived by his age, he’s totally jacked – seriously, I look like a marshmallow compared to him. That being said, I can kick his ass. Okay, he mostly wins wrastlin’ matches, but that’s irrelevant.)

–Sidenote–

Dear *The Company that built the school building lofts*,

Are you dull or just exceptionally lazy? The wall in the top corner of one bedroom stops a foot from the ceiling, leaving a small opening to the kitchen. That, coupled with a father who wakes up at 4:00am every morning to make coffee, followed by a seven-year-old sister who wakes up and loudly recounts the previous night’s dreams in great detail, is a recipe for sleep deprivation. If you were trying to be edgy, you failed.

Sincerely, Justin

–End Sidenote–

No matter how much sleep I got, I loved jumping out of bed, grabbing a cup of my dad’s chest-hair-growing coffee and joining him and Kelsey for breakfast. We’d relish the few hours before the noisy neighbors below woke up. We’d listen to classical music, talk, read, flatulate. The usual. I’ve got seventeen years on Kelsey, but the age difference ain’t nothin’ but a thang. From June to January I was given an amazing gift on School Street. I’m not sure where life will take me going forward, but I likely won’t get to live with my (not-so-little) little sister again. It’s the small moments that I will take with me going forward. That little, early-morning, sleepy face running to give me a big hug. Crashing the Lego train behind the christmas tree. Razor scootering to get donuts.

If you have siblings, younger or older, good friends nearby or family on the other side of town, don’t ever take that for granted. Cherish the time you get to spend with them!

Libertyville, in all of its white, rich ridiculousness, is home for me. Being away from Nora for a year and a half was tough, but I’m so thankful for that time with family. All signals indicate that my family will slowly be uprooting in the next couple years and head in all different directions. I’m sad to leave the familiarity of my home and family, but excited for the unknown that’s on the way.

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