Mixed-Up Portland

March 2, 2009

I’m confused. Portland, my home, is the fifth most popular destination among people moving from state to state. But it’s also the unhappiest city in the country, according to a new study.

Something’s amiss. Either the movers haven’t heard how forlorn we Portland residents supposedly are or the findings are wrong.

This left me wondering why we move. My father’s work took me from New Hampshire to Florida. I was in the third grade. Another classmate that year, Jo-Ann, arrived from Baltimore when her father took a job at the same defense contractor where mine worked.

A half-century later, she hugged me — fiercely — as our forty-year high school reunion ended. At first I hadn’t recognized her. When she reminded me of our common migratory past, her embrace took on more meaning. Jo-Ann was holding on to more than me.