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The Trials Of Constantly Moving As A Child

Chris Stewart, Mindy Stewart, Nick Stewart and Terri Kerlin pose together on a pier for a photo in front of a white lifebuoy that says Argosy Harbor Cruise Seattle 2018. There is a large boat behind them.
Courtesy of Nick Stewart
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Mindy Stewart (second row, left), her mother Terri Kerlin, and her children Chris Stewart and KUNR Youth Media reporter Nick Stewart are photographed on their trip to Seattle, Wash., on July 2, 2018.

Reno resident Mindy Stewart had to move to many different states throughout her childhood. In this intimate conversation, she talks with her son, KUNR Youth Media reporter Nick Stewart, about the trials she faced growing up and what moving to Reno — where she’s lived for 25 years — meant to her.

Nick Stewart: How did moving around to so many places impact your home life?

Mindy Stewart: Well, honestly, it sucked. The conditions that we were moving under were not always the best, so we had to leave a lot of our belongings and/or just up and leave within a weekend or so. So it wasn’t always ideal, but, you know, we made it.

Nick: How did that impact your social life? Because you’ve moved to so many places, so I imagine, you know, making friends and stuff might have been a challenge for you.

Mindy: Actually, it was, and I’ve always been more of a shy type of person, so it’s not always easy for me to make friends right away. But moving a lot did impact me in ways that I don’t have lifelong friends. Just things like that.

Nick: You would often have to leave stuff behind. How did that make you feel? And did you reach a point where you had gotten used to leaving stuff behind?

Mindy: It made me feel bad. There were just little things, you know, when you’re a kid. I can remember having to leave my Cabbage Patch doll. That was one of my favorite things when I was about seven. I got it for my fifth birthday, and that thing was just one of the most important things in my life. But actually, after a while, I did get used to it. The hardest part was leaving friends instead of things. You just get used to leaving things, but leaving your friends is hard, and having to start over, that’s the difficult part.

Nick: Sometimes the living conditions were not good. What are some examples of the living conditions that you experienced?

Mindy: Well, if we weren’t moving around, we were living with people or in motels. If we did have a place, it was pretty old and broken down. The last place I lived in before I moved to go to college ended up being condemned. It was just this shack, and I was actually really embarrassed [by] it when I was in high school. Sometimes we wouldn’t know where our next meal was going to come from, you know, did we have enough money for food? I always knew when my mom was stressed out. My asthma medications, I’d be out of medication for a few days, and I’d be so worried about not having my inhalers because I had asthma attacks all the time in my sleep. I was always on edge. There’s always something that I was worried about.

Nick: So, when you finally moved to Reno, how did that impact your life? Because you were out of your house now, and you had to go find a job and all that kind of stuff.

Mindy: Actually, it was pretty easy. I’ve always been a very independent person, and at that time, I would say it was escaping a toxic environment. So it was easy for me to think about moving, getting a job, going to college and making a new life for myself.

Nick: Do you plan on going somewhere else at some point, or do you think you’re going to stay here in Reno?

Mindy: I just hope to be near wherever you and your brother are.

Nick: I enjoyed talking to you today, and I look forward to hearing more stories from you.

Nick Stewart is a junior at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno. KUNR’s Youth Media program partners with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

Nick Stewart is a student reporter for KUNR. He is a senior in high school and attends the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno. He contributed through the KUNR Youth Media program in the spring of 2021, and he covered the 2021 Northern Nevada Pride parade and festival. After high school, he hopes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism through the Reynolds School of Journalism at UNR.
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