The plane we took from LAX to Lubbock, Texas
June 19, 1974

As I stepped out of the airport I was hit by a blast of hot air. I did a quick 360 and immediately realized that things looked about the same at ground level as they had from the air. We had landed in Lubbock, Texas and although I hadn’t been sure what to expect as we left California, I had not envisioned miles of flat sandy terrain, dotted with oil wells. With a rock in my gut, I climbed into the back seat of the rental car and my family, consisting my parents, two brothers and me, began the 109 mile trip to our motel. As I looked out the car window my stomach sank as I viewed what would soon become our home. 

Outside of Denver City, Texas 

When our plane left LAX a few hours earlier, I knew my life was about to change dramatically, but at the time I really had no idea how different the climate and culture of West Texas was to my native California. I would soon learn they really had little in common.

Gone were lazy days at the beach, frequent visits to Disneyland and of course I would no longer see my large group of friends. Although I knew I would form new friendships and find new things to do, my life would be very different from the life I had known. 

I have reflected on that life-changing move many times over the years. The pull for my family was a great opportunity for my father to advance with the Shell Oil Company. As a 15-year-old teenager, I had begrudgingly accepted that fact, knowing it would severely cut into my fun. Little did I realize just how many life lessons I would learn in that little West Texas town or how much I would draw on those lessons throughout my life.

Many of my ancestors also made major moves during their lifetime. In some cases, I have been able to discover the “push” or “pull” that motivated them to move, but for others, those reasons are still to be discovered.

In November of 1886, John Monroe Ganus, his wife, Olivia (Rainwater) and their five sons, along with their spouses and grandchildren boarded a train and left their native state of Georgia and made the long 1,479 mile trip to Manassa, Colorado. John and Olivia were my second great grandparents and that move forever affected not only their lives but also the lives of all of the generations that followed, including mine. Unlike so many of the moves during that time, that move was not motivated by the quest for better land, for work or enticement by other family members. Please join me over the next little while as I focus on John Monroe Ganus, his life and the events that led up to this life-altering move.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2017, All rights reserved

Please follow and like us:

10 thoughts on “Leaving on a Jet Plane -Part 1 Becoming Acquainted with John Monroe Ganus

  1. I look forward to this series Michelle. And, guess who else, at age 15, left all her friends and the place she'd always known. Yup, me. I was born in Detroit, but left when I was 7. I spent the next 8 formative years in Pompano Beach, Florida. Forging lifelong friendships and looking forward to the following year when I entered high school. But, my Dad moved us to San Diego instead. I was devastated. The reasons for leaving are well understood by me and my brother, but it didn't make it any easier. I'm still in San Diego County all these decades later.

  2. Michelle, I love how you included your own experience and feelings about moving in your post. You are a great storyteller.

    My family and I also moved when I was a teenager. I was about 16 years old. We moved to a different city though, not to a different state like you did.

  3. Nope, didn't move, I lived in a Navy community, so I saw lots of friends leave and made friends with new kids moving in. I was glad not to have had to make those adjustments. I had a few ancestors who picked up everything and moved, but most stayed put.

  4. Well maybe it's in the blood. My ancestors moved like gypsies and they moved my dad every time they promoted him, so we moved quite a bit. I certainly would not have chosen it if I had had my way.

  5. Isn't it interesting how not only the decisions of our parents, but the decisions of our ancestors, continue to affect our lives? Great intro to John's story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top