Tomorrow is my 27th wedding anniversary. I have two kids in high school – next year and the year after I will be getting ready for first one and then the other to graduate.
I have lived in Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, Arizona, California and Texas. I have had multiple jobs including salad girl, waitress, machine operator in a plastics factory, seamstress in a bra factory, art teacher in a residential facility for emotionally and intellectually challenged youth (hope I got that politically correct), “do whatever is needed” person at a small start-up newspaper, housekeeper, teachers aide in a migrant program, night staff in a small private mental institution (yes I’m serious – two of us even set up and dispensed meds), data entry at an office that kept track of licensing for surgical technologists, secretary in a drug abuse recovery facility, lifeguard, and a ten year hiatus in there somewhere to be a stay-at-home mom.
Dale and I bought a piece of land years ago when he did dirt work and he brought the dozer home. I drove it just enough to say I did it, and then we cleared the land, built the pad, put in the forms and poured the slab. We built a 24×24 garage and finished it off so we could live in it til we got ready to build. There’s a picture of me somewhere, nailing down shingles on the roof and another of me putting up styrofoam insulation. The idea was stolen from my parents with the plan to finish paying it off and then build a house. Instead we ended up selling when Dale got a job on the pipeline and we went off and lived in a travel trailer for awhile.
It was during that time that we stayed awhile in Blythe and I took a class in BASIC at the Jr. College there and spent a lot of hours in the RV playing Zork on an old TRS 80. There began my addiction to computers! I got an A in my class and also had access to their library. I read a book back then called Deep Enough by Frank Crampton who had mined in the early 1900s when they did it with hammers. Swinging two hammers to drive the spikes in to create holes for the dynamite was called double-jacking and there were photos of the LaBrea Tar Pits with the city off in the distance behind them. I made Dale drive me to L.A. one weekend just to see them and was totally disappointed to find they had become a postage stamp size park in the middle of huge buildings. I ordered the book tonight from Amazon as an anniversary present for us.
When the job ended we said goodbye to some wonderful friends and traveled a bit and finally settled in Denver til we had our son and decided it was time to head home to Louisiana where the cost of living would allow me stay home with him. Our daughter was born a little over a year later and I spent the next few years up to my neck in diapers, crayons, playdoh, and Happy Meals. When Dale got the job in Texas it was too good to pass up and we moved here and here we have been ever since.
Regardless of what the news may say, it has been a good place to raise kids. If we had stayed in Denver our kids would have grown up in daycare because it would have been impossible to survive on one income. There would have been some advantages but they weren’t the kind of advantages we wanted for our family. Oddly enough the kids probably would have gone to Columbine school if we had stayed – we lived in Littleton.
I remember the day the shooting happened. We were on our way to San Antonio and turned the TV on in the van as we came into Austin thinking maybe it would pick up some cartoons for the kids. Columbine was all over the news. My best friend lived several blocks away from the high school and her daughter had a houseful of kids who were trying to connect with their parents. The nearby park where we took the kids to swing on a visit years before became a memorial site filled with flowers, pictures, and candles. We checked in at the hotel in San Antonio and called my friend to make sure they were all okay. I remember having such a knot in my stomach until I heard their voices.
We all have these days in our lives where we feel that time stops for a moment and we take a little ramble back through the past. This has been one of those rambles. We have now been married for more than half our lives and have been so very lucky. I read today that around 50% of the marriages in this country end in divorce. The big wheel has turned completely around a few times over the years and there were a few times where I didn’t like my husband too much but we waited it out and the wheel turned again and everything came back around.
I think the big problem today is that people don’t want to wait for that wheel to turn. It’s been a great ride so far and If I had it all to do over again – I would. I guess if you can say that after 27 years you have done all right. I’d like another 27 years please. Here’s to you babe – you’re one of the great ones!