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I remember that wild and crazy day like it was yesterday.  May 6, 1994, and Mom’s kitchen clock screamed 10:30 — I was supposed to leave by 8 o’clock!   Lots of miles between me and my entire life in New York and my soon-to-be home and life in Phoenix, AZ.  A whole lot of miles, 2642, to be exact.  I had been dreaming about this move for years and I planned out every single detail over the last six months!  I was so ready to get started on this leg of my life’s journey – and already I was two hours slow out of the gate!

My Mom presented me with an enormous lunch bag filled with goodies for the road and, not to be outdone by Mom’s goody-bag, my brother, Bill, totally surprised me with a little going away gift.  As he hugged me and wished me all kinds of good luck, I opened his gift package and was totally thrilled with the strikingly beautiful blue coffee mug pictured above.  I loved it!  But what I really loved was his reason for choosing this particular mug with the majestic NY skyline, the lovely Statue of Liberty and the mighty Twin Towers standing tall under a star-filled night sky. He chose this mug, he said, “….so I would never forget where I came from”.  And then he said, “And if things don’t work out well in Arizona – you’ll know exactly where to get back to”.  Wow!  What could I say to that?  It was sage advice from my kid brother!

I didn’t know anyone in Arizona and didn’t have a job there yet, but I truly heard the coyotes calling my name every time I had to dig my way out of another major snowstorm. NY had fourteen big storms that past winter!  I actually donated my snow shovel to my neighbor on my way out! He was going to need it in a few months.  I was more than ready, willing and probably a little foolish to make this move on my own, but I would never have forgiven myself if I didn’t at least try and make it happen.  I dreamed of moving to AZ for such a long time, and at 48 years young – I was quite anxious to take it on!

Well, fast forward 24 years.  I’ve never once regretted the move or forgotten the thrill of seeing that large, colorful highway sign, “Welcome to Arizona”, as I steadily drove west into Flagstaff that sunny day in May, 1994!  I suppose I’ll always be a New Yorker in my heart, and my brother’s beautiful coffee mug will always remind me of that.  But that day, my new life in Arizona was just beginning!  I was beyond excited – I was chomping at the bit to get on with it!