Because I didn’t know how to say no to people when I was young, I got myself into awkward situations. Programmed to always worry about appearances, what other people would think, my choices were based on ridiculous things like comfort in the moment or avoiding anything unpleasant. I was ill-equipped to know how to deal with real life. One time I was “schooled” in a way that began to teach me it is better to deal with something up front with a no than to face the unpleasant circumstances or regrets that come after.
Between my junior and senior year of college, I house-sat for about a month for the senior pastor and his wife of First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs while they were in California for vacation. At the time I was finishing up a summer of work for the city Park and Recreation department leading programs for kids in the city parks. My team, which included two other leaders, traveled to ten different parks a week, running the same half day program ten times. Each week we switched to a different theme and did another program ten more times. At the same time, I was the student leader for the college age group at First Pres., filling in for the team of twelve students that led the group during the school year when Colorado College was in session and brought in eleven other students to help. By the end of the month, my nursing school was back in session and classes had started. It was a busy month!
My second roommate in college was Becky. We lived off campus in the basement of a house on Myrtle Street just north of Colorado State University. We’d met in the violin section in orchestra when we were stand partners my first year at CSU. She was engaged and away every weekend from our apartment to see her fiancé Mark in Denver. They were married in the spring of 1983 and Becky asked me to sing for their wedding.
Growing up, I was an ornery thing. From kindergarten through college, I liked to play “jokes” on people. But probably the victims never saw the humor in it. I’m embarrassed by my behavior, but I’ve grown since. I don’t like pranks on me or other people, and I don’t like watching shows that prank people.
When Spencer was six, he lived in a world unlike yours and mine. He fought pirates every day, he often galloped away on his horse to save the king and his kingdom, and he always jumped in to save anyone threatened by nefarious villains who passed his way. His imagination was thorough, unshakable, and knew no bounds.
This past week we helped two of our sons move to new apartments. Now that they’ve moved, we’re moving with the stiff and sore aftermath of walking up and down too many steps while carrying heavy boxes, heavy furniture, and heavy anything else that doesn’t fit into boxes.
Jason and me in the apartment above Gary in 1990,
where we first had the washer & dryer set that Gary didn't use.
Pierce needs a washer and dryer. He’s moving back to the ’hood where he came from and the apartment has an empty washer/dryer hookup. He and his roommate, a friend from college who is also a teacher, are sharing an apartment one block from the apartment we lived in when Pierce (and his sibs of course) were born. After a summer helping run a youth camp in the mountains, Pierce is coming back to teach high school English at Manitou Springs High School. I’m thrilled that now 25 percent of my offspring has a career job. College is paying off! Actually, they’re all paying off college, but that’s another story.
When I was almost 22—just two days after graduating from nursing school—I drove to Virginia, sat for my nursing boards there, and got my license and first nursing job. While working evening shifts at Mount Vernon Hospital, I moved into a one bedroom apartment just off of Route 1 that I could afford on my nursing paycheck. Before signing the lease, I toured the apartment and complex—in the daytime, because that's when the rental office was open. In a neighborhood like that, one should always tour in the night hours and weekends. That’s when the criminals and cockroaches come out. At least one should hang out in the parking lot between 1 and 3 a.m. to watch the action. (That won’t help with the cockroaches, but it might give you a hint of what you can expect when you come home after your evening shift and turn on the kitchen light and see hundreds of black spots race back into their hiding places.) (Plus one tour at any given time won't prepare you for when the entire building next to yours explodes because of something fishy going on in the basement.)
Pam was my very cutting-edge best friend in third grade. Pam read books all the time, she had color television, her mom let her watch that radical show “Sesame Street,” and they even had shag carpet. I mean, going across the street to Pam’s house was like entering a different world for
Almost twenty years ago, we had an incredible addition to our family. My niece Sara was born. Well, everyone is born, so what’s the big deal you may ask? The reason she was such an incredible addition was the way it came about. (Plus, well, she’s just a really incredible person!)
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