Have you ever been really lost? The kind of lost where your car is still moving, but it doesn’t not seem to have any idea where it is headed? Two hours lost?

The Fresno area (where I’ve recently moved to) and I are yet to become friends. Next to my dear Los Banos, which I knew like the back of my hand, the city of Fresno seems vast. Its streets change their minds and suddenly head in another direction altogether.

But, no, I will not give in! I shall keep battling the roads until I can at least find my bank and a place that sells a really good doughnut.

Seriously, although the above is embarrassingly true, my recent move has been painful, stressful and tear filled, plus really scary. For 32 years I lived safe in the arms of my adopted home of Los Banos, and I have given it my heart.

When I got into my daughter’s car to leave my house in Los Banos with its “For Sale” sign, a parade of my family’s cars filled with my belongings followed me, with a  huge  U-Haul truck as the exclamation point. I closed my eyes and would not open them until well out of the city limits.

As we headed toward Fresno, I wondered about my new home. I had not seen it yet. My daughter, Lara, had arranged it all. I don’t know what grew larger in my soul, anticipation or fear. Holding my two “boys”—my two precious dogs—I tried to focus on their needs. They were cool.

My daughter said, “Look over there at the ducks.” Why, yes, they were there. Then she said we turn here. Soon after, as we curved from one street to another, a tall black gate stood before us.

I was intimidated, ready to have Lara go in reverse. Too late. Lara pressed a gadget and, voila, the gate opened. At the end of a concrete path, Lara said, “There, at the end. See that garage. This is yours.” I took a deep breath and succumbed to reality.  It was time for me to get with the program.

Like one of the many villages that seem to have sprouted all over Fresno, this community contains townhouses, some with a single story, and a  swimming pool somewhere in the middle. There is also a plain building with a small gym and a row of postal boxes.

It was hot, 105 degrees. My family began the ordeal of removing from the vehicles all of their matriarch’s stuff, accompanied by moans of “Why do you need this?” And “How many boxes of books are there?”

Going from a large two-story house with a huge yard to this cottage was daunting. In the chair my family brought into the house, I watched it take place at zap speed, and somehow they were all gone.

My garage was filled with boxes. Inside my new home there was  some furniture here and there. I moved over to my sofa and flopped, my dogs on my lap, and sighed. “Well, so it begins,” I told them. I swear they nodded their heads in response.

I felt a mixture of being very old and waiting for my curtain call and young and insecure, wondering what I should do next. Unable to decide, my dogs and I went to bed.

The next morning I noticed that outside my home, just beyond a concrete wall topped with ivy, is  a huge fir tree suitable for Jack and the Beanstalk. Then a curious red squirrel comes by, sits on my wall,  and we do staredowns. I think of him as the welcoming committee.

There are also  new sounds to adjust to at night, including the noises of a place in  in the Fresno airport’s flight path.

Instead of my massive yard, I have two small patios surrounded by a path of grass. It will be a challenge to make this a home.

Now my closets. They are to die for. A real 10 there.

I know that soon I will have much to share about my discoveries, and I’ll be eager to share them. I’m sure there are people out there destined to be my friends. There will be shops I will love and great places to hang out. I’m sure–only not so right now

One can be a lonely number, where you feel lost. I have had low times before, I remind myself. I will adjust. I will kick myself in my . . .. Well, I will. And I hope you will be there with me every step of the way.

On another note: I am so sad to learn of the death of my friend and neighbor of 22 years, Jan Falasco. She was a grand lady who helped light up Page Avenue and gave so much to Los Banos. The end of a great era.

Diana J. Ingram

Diana Ingram has been a columnist for Los Banos newspapers for four decades.