Tomas Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go home again” and after my trip to Michigan last month the literal meaning of that title hit me hard. If you have been following my story, you know I grew up in a small town in Michigan. In August I flew home to go to my sister Janet’s memorial service.
It was a somber trip dotted with memory lane moments and visits with old friends and family. I stayed at my sister Linda and her husband George’s 40-acre country home and we spent a lot of time sitting on her porch chatting.
On the day of the memorial, we headed towards Lake Michigan to join our family for Janet’s service. As I sat in the passenger seat looking out at the countryside rolling by, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic.
I find it interesting that reaching a certain age holds more significance than other ages. For me, turning 20 was important. I was no longer a teenager and somehow felt more grown-up.
Things quickly fell into place when I moved to Bend, Oregon. I found a great job working for someone who would end up being a life-long friend, I had a nice apartment and best of all I had a fun convertible sports car.
I remember thinking when my oldest son turned 10, in the same amount of time he will be a man. The decade between 10 and 20 holds so many changes, and I was no exception to the rule.
I have shared before that my mom died when I was 11, and that I think of my life as “before she died” and “after she died”. The few years after her death were some of my hardest.
Not only was I dealing with the loss of my mother but by 12 my period started and my emotions were all over the board. I was either completely lost in thought or crying.
Puberty can be hell for so many of us and my personal experience was compounded by loss and sorrow. Worst of all, about the only thing I knew about having a period was I had to use those giant pads from the 1960’s my mom had used.
Right after John asked me to be his girlfriend, he wrote this column for the newspaper. It is still one of my favorites. (You might want to grab a tissue for this one).
A Love Story
My Mom and Dad were married for a very long time.
And it can happen – when a man has been married for a long time – that he becomes a bit low-key in the ways he shows his wife how special she is to him. After enough years of marriage we guys can misplace our flare for the dramatic, and we can underwhelm when just the opposite is called for.
Upon the approach of my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary I think that might have been where Dad was headed. Not that that would have been an unforgivable thing, just the opposite really. Mom would have been happy with whatever he did – but then she’s like that. She was happy to be married to the man she loved – if he remembered an important date, well, that was icing on the cake. Continue reading
Yesterday I wrote about growing up in Michigan and how we spent most of our time outside.
I also mentioned because of that experience, I wanted to be sure my kids had the same opportunity.
When I got pregnant with our first son, my husband was still in school. We lived in a townhouse near campus and it was fine. By the time our boy was six months old, we’d moved back to Oregon and found a rental in town.
It wasn’t until after our second son was born that I started to remember my own childhood, and what it was like to grow up on a farm. I had married a city boy, and I wasn’t sure he would want to move into the country.
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading
Do you ever wonder what it was like for your parents when they were kids? I don’t think about my dad’s youth as much as I do my mom’s. That’s probably because she was the rule-maker of our home.
And the enforcer too.
When I was a kid, I didn’t think about or care what made her the way she was, I was more concerned with ducking her flip-flop as she tried to swat me with it for not doing what I was told.
But as an adult, I have to wonder what it was like for her growing up in that little farmhouse in Michigan with four brothers and three sisters.
She was born in the spring of 1924, unless you go by what her headstone reads. Not sure how that happened, but it’s off by a year. She was the second child of eight, in a home that would soon be crowded. Continue reading
After John and I had our one and only romantic evening, he was still texting me and sending me his columns, but all of a sudden he didn’t have time to meet for coffee or play tennis or get together at all.
So I got busy with my own life and plans and let John figure out his own issues.
Column 22 – If the Truth Hurts Then Shouldn’t it Come With a Warning Label?
(One of the things Loretta and I had in common was our love of family – we sort of lived for our kids.Continue reading
For those who have been following along on my blog you know when John and I first met, through online dating, we became “just friends”. We both started dating other people, but because of his columns that I was editing, we talked almost daily.
He would come over and sit on my deck and we’d talk for hours about our lives. We played tennis and met for coffee several times a week. We shared our stories with each other and helped each other through difficult breakups.
My favorite times together where when we sat on that deck and John talked about his childhood, his family and growing up. He had some of the funniest stories to share, and they found their way into his columns.
Today’s “Let’s do this together video” features My John, because it just so happens to be the 7th anniversary of the day we met. We were both on Match.com years ago, and John saw my profile and sent me a message.
He has a way with words, and his profile was very well written, so I decided to meet him for coffee. That, and his photos were pretty handsome too. Continue reading
It’s kind of how we got to know each other. He wrote a weekly column for a Bay Area newspaper, and he’d send it to me first to edit. There were a couple of occasions when I did guest posts for him, so I thought it might be nice to return the favor.
In honor of Father’s Day, I found this one he wrote in 2012 and dusted off the pages. I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading
The day after our wedding, we packed up the car and drove south to wine country.
Being frugal (read: poor) we decided to camp in Napa Valley before my interview the following day.
As a wine lover, I was elated to see so many familiar names as we drove up Highway 29 towards St. Helena. We drove past Chandon, Cakebread, Turnbull, Beaulieu, Beringer, and so many more. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Continue reading
Surviving a bankruptcy and losing my homes was not easy.
Even though I knew they were just “things” I was losing, it was still painful. But, I had a distraction through it all, which made it so much easier.
I met Judd in November, just before the holiday season, and he took me to one holiday party after another. He sold advertising for a local publishing company, and his job came with a lot of invitations.
Have you noticed she stopped writing her story? I wonder what’s going on. I mean, she was all gung-ho sharing all the details of her life before. Over-sharing might even be a better way to put it.
So what’s going on now?
Honestly, I don’t even know what gives her the right to share this stuff anyway. First of all, who really cares? And secondly, why in the world would she want to put herself out there for the entire world to see?