Nightmarish move finally lands Everett in county


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

A new profession and a new town with a lovely place to live gave Patti Everett a new lease on life. She was relocating along with several pieces of cherished memorabilia from her hometown of Conroe north of Houston to her new home in Luling, where she would live as she prepared to begin her new role as a GED (Graduate Equivalency Degree) and CHANGES (Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success) teacher at the Gregory S. Coleman Unit, the minimum-security women’s facility for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Lockhart.

However, the Grinch stole the joy from Everett as many items didn’t survive the move, leaving her with two chairs and a blowup bed gifted by friends to occupy the space not filled with boxes of wet and broken furniture and miscellaneous items, all of which took weeks to arrive following a disaster of a move.

A moving company Everett had hired wrecked, leaving the man driving the truck hospitalized for about a week, His truck flipped as he tried to avoid a vehicle that pulled out in front of him in the Katy area just west of Houston. The fiberglass top of the truck shattered. The driver broke his collarbone, had shards of glass imbedded in his arm, and suffered internal bleeding near his heart, requiring surgery.

Meanwhile, on a Saturday, Everett and her friend had already headed out to Luling, packing each of their cars with as many items as possible. The driver had said he would arrive at about 1 p.m. Everett and her friend arrived. By 1 p.m., there was no sign of the driver. The evening came and went. Still no sign. She tried to reach him, but there was no answer.

On Sunday, Everett waited, thinking, “I really like this house, but it’d look better with furniture in it. There was some really nice stuff I had inherited from my parents. I had bought this beautiful leather couch. I was so excited about it.”

Meanwhile, a towing company had moved the wrecked truck to its yard in Houston, never bothering to cover the top. Rains came and went. Her items, a few of which suffered scratches from the wreck, were soaked with water. The truck sat there long enough for mold to grow.

“I’m thinking, what happened to him,” Everett said. “Finally, somebody calls and tells me he’d had an accident and he’d been hurt bad. Of course, I was worried about him, but I’m wondering where my stuff is. I had a lot of stuff. I had a couple of big collections that I had intended to sell.”

The truck stayed at the towing yard for two-plus weeks, then it was moved elsewhere. The moving company finally told Everett it would have the items to her on a Monday, but Monday also came and went, then promised to be in Luling on a Tuesday. However, Everett had agreed to be at work that day at her new job, and she told the movers they would have to wait until the weekend.

“I had originally set it up where I could unpack everything before I started work,” she said. “A guy called back and that’s when he told me they had to cut a door to get to stuff. They got here about 6 (p.m.) and worked till midnight. A friend showed up with two chairs. We could at least sit down.”

Finally, the movers had left all they could bring, items that had been exposed to the elements for three weeks.

There was some stuff salvageable.

Her mother had collected rocks and given them to her, including an 90-pound quartz found in Colorado.

“My father dug it up with a cup,” Everett said. “My mother said I’m giving you my rock to take care of. What really saved a lot of stuff was I had this big mattress. Of course, all the water came in and it held water. For weeks I’ve been washing items, including Christmas things.”

As for Christmas, since Everett is allergic to a real Christmas tree, she has always used an artificial tree. It is somewhere among the boxes at her house.

Everett was born and raised in what was once a small town, Conroe. Her great-great grandfather had started a hardware store there. Her father had once been the mayor. Adopted as an only child, she said her parents were her best friends. Her father died in 2003 (her mother passed away in 2008). She said she often tells her deceased father, “You know Daddy, I love you, but you didn’t teach me how to live without you. It was very traumatic. I was Daddy’s shadow.”

Among the items she’s inherited over the years was a chair from her grandmother.

“All of my collections are in my garage in a box, and I can’t even get to them.,” she said. “I don’t know what condition they’re in now.”

Everett attended SMU before graduating from Sam Houston State. She has two sons, both of whom live in Colorado.

After becoming ill due to the altitude in Colorado while visiting with kids and grandkids, Everett found her way back to Texas. She was in search of new employment. She visited a workforce job fair, and someone was looking for someone with a college degree and a variety of careers. Everett fit the need and ended up being hired at the private Coleman Unit in Lockhart teaching both GED and CHANGES classes.

“It’s to get them to understand they don’t have to go back to what they did,” Everett said. “You have to learn to say ‘no.’”

The CHANGES class not only helps them change their way of thinking, but teaches them to legitimize their thoughts before they act on them. “It also helps them to know things they don’t need and things they don’t know about,” Everett said.

She accepted the job in August but was not slated to start for about three months.

I had to find a place to live.” She said, settling on a house built earlier in the 20th century in Luling. “It has a little porch swing and it reminded me of my grandmother and her house. I would sit on the swing with her.”

Everett said she has sat on the swing and people walking by have struck up conversations, as well as people she’s met at barbecue restaurants in Luling and Lockhart.

“I like barbecue, and this is the best barbecue I’ve ever had here,” she said. “People have been so nice, asking if they could help.”

Everett has given some furniture away, such as to the abused women shelter.

Reliving her traumatic experience during the move, Everett said she’s done even more praying.

“I’m a religious woman,” she said. “I’m a Methodist; still belong to the First United Methodist Church of Conroe. I said I don’t know what I did Lord, but please tell me I’ve now paid for it. I wouldn’t do this to anybody.

“That said, I am really glad I’m here. I love Luling and I love Lockhart. They are the nicest people, including my boss and the people I work with. You couldn’t ask for any nicer people. I’m just thrilled to be here.”

As for the driver back in east Texas, Everett doesn’t place blame on him.

“He was in the hospital calling about my stuff,” she said. “He said, ‘If it takes the rest of my life, I’ll make this right. I am so sorry.’ I knew he was really, really upset. I said, ‘You know, your life is worth more than my stuff.’”


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