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Bus ornament1
Author: C3PO. Every year since the 1990's Lisa and I have put this ornament our Christmas tree. It was a gift from Vygis, and like everything it tells a lot of stories. If you look carefully inside, you'll notice that the picture inside this photo frame ornament is not the usual picture of a person, but something red. Apparently, based on the date on this, 1996 was the year that I helped Vygis move his stuff into the Concord House apartment.


The story goes back quite a few years earlier to when I and John Seylar decided to buy an old school bus and renovate it into an RV. State law required us as private vehicle owners to paint it some other color than yellow so we devised a red and silver paint scheme for it. After John had enough fun painting over the yellow color with primer, tearing out the seats and putting some furniture in it, he gave the bus to me to finish off. Vygis was one of many people who hung out with me long hours while I put in a kitchen area, dining table, and bathroom, and gave the bus its final coat of red paint. My layout of the interior included beds and a couch that could be taken out to make a lot of open space so that the bus could be used as a moving van any time one of my friends needed help. As it turned out, this would end up being the primary purpose for which the bus would be used over the years, as rising gas prices ended up making cross country jaunts at the bus' low fuel efficiency quite prohibitive.


So when the crisis arose that his parents decided to sell the Highland house and move somewhere else, my services as a mover were automatically available to Vygis. He somehow talked his parents into letting him have a bunch of their old furniture, and his room at the house which was itself a museum of the room that he'd had at his childhood house in Allview had a bunch of furniture that had to be moved *very precisely* in a way that Vygis could trust noone else to help him with. On the agreed upon day, I showed up in Vygis' parents driveway with the bus, to his Dad's amazement. I think that Vygis reveled in the obnoxiousness of the rude red vehicle in his classy parents' driveway. Either Vygis or I took several pictures of the bus at his parents' house; I haven't been able to find them recently and I think it was Vygis who had taken them. Maybe Betsy has found the photos. Anyways, we filled the interior of the bus with chairs, sofas, beds and dressers from his parents' house.


One of Vygis' dressers had a carefully arranged pile of old batteries, cassette tapes, and various other toys and trash, all under an inch of dust. The batteries were every battery that he had used up in the Toshiba between a certain range of years. The batteries, the trash, and even the dust could not be disturbed; we had to move the dresser top as a unit without touching or spilling anything. Vygis referred to this as a "stasis field," I think that the theory was that this collection contained frozen time itself, as if it was one of the engines of his grand scheme to preserve the past until the moment that he would somehow be able to return. He had a few of these "stasis" objects to move, but this is the one that I remember the most clearly.


These days, I have no idea what it must have been like to have the limitless supply of strength that we had back then. Pulling the bus into the parking lot behind his apartment, we proceeded to move all that stuff in elevator loads five stories up to his new apartment. But when we brought the long yellow sofa in through the back doors of his apartment building we discovered that it didn't fit into the elevator! After some thinking and measuring by eye we realized that our only option was to bring the sofa up the stairwell on the side of the building. So we hauled that stupid thing up five stories! At one point we accidentally knocked a light fixture off the cinderblock walls as we were edging the couch through a turn-around, and it seemed like a bad sign on Vygis' first day in the building but nobody had seen us. The couch finally made it into Vygis' apartment, and it served for nearly a decade as his bed. All of Vygis' sacred items had been set up in the apartment's sole bedroom, all in the same exact orientation as in the Highland house which was itself all set up in the same exact orientation as they had been in when his bedroom had been in the Allview house. The dresser-top with the batteries was in that room too. Nobody was ever permitted in that room, and I think it became too much trouble for Vygis himself to go in there; whenever I visited the Concord House apartment, his pillows and alarm clock were usually set up next to the couch as if he had slept there the night before.


Bus ornament2
At Christmas time that year, Vygis showed up at my place in the Gilder-Murray house with this ornament and gave it to me. It seemed like a nice gesture, but then he encouraged me to look closer at the middle frame. It's a little more recognizable if you realize that Vygis put the picture in sideways, it's one of the photos of the red bus in his parents' driveway!






Another dozen years after that, by the time that Vygis' Mom had undertaken the task of finding Vygis his own place and convinced him to move out to the house in Hanover, I had gotten rid of the bus, no longer able to support the expense of storing it and the constant maintenance it required. Vygis' Mom was so glad to get Vygis out of the Concord House apartment though that she hired movers to ferry all his furniture over to the new place. Vygis didn't need the bus for his move, but he still tapped me to help him move his "stasis" objects. Using my pickup truck we moved his most sacred furniture that he hadn't let the movers touch, and we drove with that dresser-top on his lap in the passenger seat, avoiding all sharp turns and bumps, successfully moving it into his new house. The sacred bedroom furniture was installed into a corner of the attic in the new house, all in the exact same orientation as it was in the Concord House apartment, the Highland house bedroom, and the Allview house bedroom.

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