A Nittany Lion and an Iowan Hawkeye walk into a Job Interview…

“Nooooooooo!!!!” my son Solomon howled at me.

This was a month ago. I had just floated the idea that we might be moving. To Indiana. Or Iowa. Two of the finest states in the union that start with the letter “I.”

“You can’t move until I’m finished with college!” Solomon added. Then he started crying.

So I started crying too. Because I remember moving as a kid. After 4th grade. Leaving Horace Mann Elementary school behind. And all my friends. And our house on Mt. Curve Boulevard in Highland Park. And my childhood. Losing all of that was devastating to me. Back in 1988.

I didn’t want Solomon to have to go through something similar. And yet here we were. Here we are.

The next day I took Solomon for a walk. On a mountain. Because, for the moment, we live in Central Pennsylvania. We walked for a ways. And then I started talking with him about moving. I told him how hard it was for me as a kid. He cried. And I cried too. At the end of our walk he said this:

“Well, I guess I’m 25% excited about moving and 75% sad about it.”

That’s a start, I guess.


So this is my blog where I break some news. The Tanner family will, in fact, be moving to Iowa City next year. Which, if you couldn’t guess, is located in Iowa.

I got a new job. Thus the picture of the Hawkeye at the start of this blog. I’ll be an associate professor of English Education at THEEEE University of Iowa next fall.

It looked like I met end up in Indiana for a little bit. THEEEE Purdue University. But Iowa is much closer to home. And Iowa was able to bring me in with tenure. Which, for those of you who aren’t academic types, is pretty important.

This is bittersweet news. I couldn’t be more thrilled about the new position. And Iowa City is so close to home. Friends and family. All of those are good things. But it is also true that we love State College. Solomon is in 2nd grade. Samson is in 1st. They are thriving at their elementary school. And I have wonderful colleagues at Penn State. I’m co-founder and artistic director of an improv theatre. Walking away from Happy Valley Improv is going to be painful. I’ve made some really close friends here.

In a way, I suppose I’m still that 4th grader at Horace Mann. Heartbroken about leaving people and places that are important to me. But I’m also a 41 year-old with a growing bald spot. And I know this move will be good. For me and my family. Maybe not for our cats.


I’m sure my upcoming blogs will be about moving. The trials and tribulations. Speaking of cats, I’ve already been in touch with our vet.

“I need drugs,” I told them. “I have to drive my cats across the country.”

Yara survived moving from Minneapolis to Pennsylvania. But she’s old now. I can’t imagine she’ll enjoy another 15-hour drive.

I’m a little wiser this time. I know more about moving across country. And the boys have already started packing. And by packing, I mean throwing lots of stuff away.

I’m sure I’ll have all sorts of things to write about moving over the next few months. And about this new job. For now, this is a short journal entry about grieving the fact that we are leaving this place that has been so good to us. It is also about being excited for what is next.

Go Hawkeyes, I guess. At least I know a Hawkeye is a bird. I’m still not sure what a Boilermaker is. And don’t get me started on Nittany Lions.

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