That conversation started the ball rolling on where they should go and what they should try and do. At first, Cassie thought her husband had meant that they should go to another large city in another part of the country so she was surprised and nervous when John began talking about going to smaller locations in the South. Then, there was the whole idea of what to do – how to strike out. John was an attorney but had only worked in the family business and, although smart and ambitious, he didn’t have any developed skills. Cassie, for her part, had worked since college but in roles for non-profits that didn’t pay very much.
Then, there were the families. Cassie’s parents had been pleased when she had married well as they knew she would be taken care of. They expressed some initial concerns about the couple’s intentions but bought in without too much fuss, particularly her father who saw it as a manly idea.
John’s family was a completely different situation. Although John had several siblings, he was the oldest and his father and grandfather had already earmarked him to take things over. In addition, they loved Cassie and already had in their heads that she would dutifully produce beautiful children to maintain the Howard line. There were countless conversations, some heated, where his family tried to convince them that their place was here, in the city, where they would become leaders of the community. Only John’s grandmother on his father’s side proved to be an ally as she saw it as a romantic notion where the young couple could learn about life together.
When it was all said and done, the biggest issue that Cassie had was John’s choice of location. He had focused his attention on the South and after research and pondering had honed in on Mobile, Alabama as the place to go. Cassie would have greatly preferred Atlanta, Dallas, or even somewhere like Nashville but John was adamant about breaking out of their comfort zone. So, she fell in line as the supportive wife. The idea was to take just enough money to get started and then live off what they earned. It would be a far cry from their current life and Cassie knew that there would be no more designer clothes or fine dining for a while.
The couple made an exploratory visit to Mobile and found a small house to rent in an older but still quite nice neighborhood that had lovely, large oak trees. The best part of the house was an elevated wrap-around porch where they could sit and enjoy the evenings together.
Family and friends demanded a going away party where they were hounded by pleas that it wasn’t too late to reconsider. Cassie’s girlfriends spent all evening huddled around her with tears flowing as the drinks went down. John’s friends, while much more stoic, felt the Ryane as they realized they were losing their de facto leader.
After selling their imported cars and buying more “practical” replacements – a Tahoe for John and a Camry for Cassie, they loaded a U-Haul with just the things they felt essential for their planned reduced lifestyle. John pulled the trailer with the Tahoe while Cassie followed in the Camry as they headed south. Both felt nervousness as well as exhilaration as they contemplated the challenges and adventures that were ahead.
It took a week to get moved in and settled but finally it was finished and on a clear October evening, the couple sat together on their porch watching night come to the neighborhood.
“Now it’s time to find jobs.” John laughed.