Oh, the Places We’ve Lived – The Life Itinerary for the Larson Family

Oh, the Places We’ve Lived – The Life Itinerary for the Larson Family

Oh, the Places We’ve Lived – The Life Itinerary for the Larson Family.

“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Goin’ places that we’ve never been; seeing things that we may never see again.

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway; we’re the best of friends.

Insisting that the world keep turning our way, and we get back on the road again.” 

“On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson.


Detroit, Michigan – January 20, 1949 – Sheridan Jean Miller is born to Paul and Marian Miller, in Beaumont Hospital.

Rockford, Illinois – September 25, 1949 – Steven Wayne Larson is born to Willard and Lucille Larson, in Swedish-American Hospital.

West Bloomfield, Michigan – 1967 – Sheridan graduated from Bloomfield Hills High School.

Rockford, Illinois  – 1967 – Steve graduated from Rockford East High School.

Wheaton, Illinois – 1971 – Both Steve and Sheri graduated from Wheaton College. The commencement speaker for their graduation ceremony was Sheri’s father, Paul. Great fun.

Southfield, Michigan – 1974 – Steve and Sheri were married at Highland Park Baptist Church; one of the presiding ministers was Steve’s brother Jim. We drove away from the church in Steve’s red pickup truck and we immediately headed to New England.

Rocky Neck, Gloucester, Mass. – 1974 – Steve and Sheri moved into their first home, a quaint beachfront writer’s cottage, while Sheri worked at a doctor’s office and Steve was an assistant coach at Gordon College.

West Bloomfield, MI – 1975 – Sheri’s dear father passed away unexpectedly near Easter, a tragic death in the Miller family. Steve and Sheri decided to move into Sheri’s old house to be with mother Marian and brother Craig. We lived there for over 2 years, while Steve completed an MA in Counseling from Michigan State University. Our first little cherub Stephanie was born during this time, born in the same hospital as her mother Sheri.

Upland, Indiana – 1977 – We lived in a very rural setting at Taylor University, where Steve was residence director for 300 young men. It was more or less a positive experience, even though, despite the wonderful people there, there was no theater, restaurant or music store to be found.

Santa Barbara, California – 1978 – We moved from the country to a beach town, and it was quite beautiful. Steve was once again a residence director, at Westmont College, in a co-ed residence hall that was on the picturesque campus in Montecito. We kept tripping over surf boards, and Sheri couldn’t get anyone to join her Bible study. Steve got a great offer from way back in New England, at Gordon College, so we decided to make a cross country trek from the West coast to the East coast. We threw everything we owned, including our car, into a U-Haul truck. Then we hired a couple of Westmont students to drive the truck across the country while Steve, Sheri and Stephanie flew to Boston. We hurriedly located a place to live just in time for the truck to arrive and we moved in. Whew.

Manchester-by-The-Sea, Mass. – 1979 – We moved into a gorgeous little historical beach village. Steve accepted a position as Associate Dean of Students at Gordon College in nearby Wenham. Steve has the fond memory of commuting to Gordon on his speedy little motor scooter, enjoying the country roads and the fresh sea breeze. Stephanie got a lot of our attention during this time, especially since a premier beach, Singing Beach, was just a short walk down the road from the apartment.

Newburyport, Mass.  – 1980 – We decided to buy an ancient half-house in this port town that ended up being our favorite place to live. It was historical, with redbrick Federalist and Colonial buildings everywhere. It was totally walkable, and we took great advantage of that walkability, strolling to the waterfront pier, the riverfront, the climbing rocks at the shore, the ice cream store downtown, the incredible French bakery, and the famous High Street where the old ship captains built all their huge homes. Our next three angels, Anna, David and Josiah, were all born here in town, at the fantastic village hospital named Anna Jacques Hospital. Among Steve’s favorite all-time memories was taking all these family walks all around town that was so blessed with character and personality. A short car ride away from town was the amazing Plum Island, which had a beautiful beach and a wildlife refuge sanctuary. We developed many close friendships there and were very sorry to see it end. After all, we spent ten happy years there. Most of the time we lived in town, Steve worked at Gordon College. He moved on after seven years at Gordon to take a post as headmaster at a new Christian High School, Essex Christian Academy. It was an interesting, creative place, but it was a fledgling school from the start, always struggling with monetary issues. Finally, the writing was on the wall, and Steve had to locate a job elsewhere before the school closed down.

Carrollton, Texas. – 1990- Steve was offered a good position as Director of the Middle School at a K-12 school outside Dallas, Trinity Christian Academy. He had to pretty much take the job, for there weren’t many options. Texas was a definite culture shock from New England. In the two years we spent there, we never felt at home. Between the scorpions, the fire ants, the Big Heat and the Big Hair, and my strong resistance to Trinity’s rigid Calvinism, we decided we needed to make another move soon. We did enjoy a swimming pool in our backyard, which helped to keep us from being baked alive. Lots of great people at that school, but we just didn’t fit.

Falls Church (county), Virginia – 1992 – We moved from Texas to a tidy little ranch house in northern VA. Steve accepted a position as headmaster at a new K-8 school, Rivendell School, in Arlington. It turned out to be the best place Steve ever worked, a totally good fit with him and his experience and philosophy. Our home was acceptable and sufficient, but it was a little tight for our family of six, and the local public schools were terrible. We enjoyed a huge backyard, complete with a paved bball court, lots of giant pine trees, and we even put in a little zip line in the trees. We experimented with having dogs during this time, two different times, but neither attempt at being a pet family worked out

Falls Church (city), VA. – 1996 – We moved into Falls Church City because the schools there were top notch. Steve continued at Rivendell, and so some of our kids went to Rivendell and some went to the local public schools. Our home here was also a little tight, but it was in a walkable part of the city. We enjoyed a double lot of trees and some space, which was rare in the middle of town. We remained in this house as Steve moved from Rivendell to teach high school Bible and be a school chaplain at Annapolis Area Christian School. He stayed there for three years, but the commute on the Beltway got to be pretty overwhelming. We started thinking of a place we could move to retire in a few years, and we found it North Carolina.

Durham, North Carolina – 2005 – We felt that NC would be a positive change from the relentless traffic and busyness of NoVa, and it was a place we could see settling into and retiring in a few years. So Steve accepted the job of Lower School Director at Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill. We lived in a beautiful setting outside of Durham city limits that had a lot of acreage, trees, and a creek that went through our backyard. So Steve went right to work cutting up logs and building trails through the property, for access to the creek and the nature surrounding us. We also built a large fire pit for campfires and hot dogs. Steve could happily commute to work on the country roads with his motor scooter, and it was great fun. We continued to live there after Steve took a job with Reality Ministries, a city ministry that Steve and Sheri helped inaugurate. Steve developed programs for at-risk students, taught in the alternative high school, and served in programs ministering to those with developmental disabilities. As the time drew near to retire, Steve and Sheri moved to a lakefront cottage they designed and had built on Mayo Lake, about 45 minutes from Durham.

Mayo Lake, Roxboro, NC – 2016 – We are now safely ensconced at the lake. We enjoy it immensely when our kids and grandkids pay us a visit. Sheri has developed a wonderful group of Bible study friends and continues being the homemaker in so many important ways. She loves to write when she has a chance. Steve continues to write articles for his blog, We hope to maintain our independence as long as possible. A shared ministry has developed in which a friend or family who is looking for a short vacation, a retreat, or a quiet place to exist for a couple of days away from the stresses of life, come to us and stay here for a day or a weekend. We love to minister to those who come, through conversation, a meal or two, prayer, and Bible study. It’s sort of an unofficial Larson B and B.

NOTE: My intent with this Larson travelogue is to focus more on places than people. I thought my quick overview of all the places we’ve lived would be fun and interesting. I didn’t point out all the wonderful people we met during our travels, and the meaningful friendships we enjoyed. As I reflect with gratitude and awe, I am constantly amazed as I think about how God has carried us through so many places and people and jobs. Hats off to our four wonderful children, who were good sports during these moves, and they made the best of it wherever we went on our family adventures. I want to give a special thanks to my wife Sheri. I am sure that when she reads this, she will have mixed feelings. She didn’t particularly want to move all these times, and yet she patiently endured these moves with great grace and forbearance. Sheri assisted me in practically every place I worked, whether through teaching struggling students, leading parent seminars, sharing Board retreats, guiding teacher workshops, or supporting me through prayer and encouragement. No matter where we lived, Sheri would participate in numerous Bible studies, and most of the time would be leading them. Thank you, dear Sheri, not for being just a good sport through all this moving, but also being such a spectacular life partner through it all.