It was nearing the beginning of the summer in 1984. I would be a senior in the fall and then after that....off to college. My brother, who is 3 1/2 years younger than me, was ending up his Babe Ruth baseball season. For some reason, I don't know if it was boredom or what, but I went to one of his games. (Not something I normally did because I had an afternoon and weekend job at Heidi's Bakery.) As I watched his game, I noticed a really cute guy on his team. I must have asked him about this guy. I soon was going to all of his games, what few there were left to play. My dad was also an assistant coach and had a list of all the players names and phone numbers. Between going to the games and flirting with this guy and having his number already....well, I did what my mom said girls shouldn't do; I called him.
Baseball season ended and summer began. I was busy hanging out with friends and working. Going camping and planning how cool my senior year in high school would be. And I was still talking to the this guy on the phone. Only he was calling me too. And he kept asking me to be his girlfriend. And I kept saying no. I didn't want to say no. I wanted to say YES! But I didn't. I kept saying no because he was only going to be a FRESHMAN and I was going to be a SENIOR. And my best friend kept telling me how dumb I would be to have a boyfriend who was only a FRESHMAN. She kept telling me that everyone would tease me and think I was like, totally not cool, ya' know? So I kept saying no.
So school started and I saw this guy EVERY DAY at school. We didn't live in the same town so school was the only place we saw each other. And we were still talking on the phone every night. Even though he was going out with the little sister of my best friend. The friend that said I should NOT go out with him because he was too young. Then one day they broke up. And then the next day we were walking towards each other between classes. And then I was walking up to him and KISSED HIM! And kept walking to my locker!
Yeah...we were boyfriend and girlfriend after that. We fought. We made up. We fought. We made up. He taught me how to ride a dirt bike. He made me BLTs without the L. He worked mornings before school milking cows and setting irrigation pipes so he could buy me a ring for Christmas. He let me wear his favorite flannel shirt and his big brother's old football jersey. We spent every weekend together either at my house or his house. We talked on the phone every night. His dad, Carl, let us sit in the front seat (bucket seat) together, when Carl would drive me home. We were in love and we planned our future.
But then the end of my senior year came. Friends told me I should break up with him. We were fighting more as I talked about going to college and he felt he was getting left behind. One thing led to another and I broke up with him a week before graduation. It was the most terrible feeling I had ever experienced. What should have been a fun-filled week of activities was overshadowed with sadness and stupid high school antics. On the night of my graduation, he was there with his mom. After the ceremony he kissed me and begged me to take him back. I was so dumb as I pushed him away and ran off with my friends.
As summer began again we both did stupid things. My best friend and his best friend were now a couple and it made life difficult. I avoided him completely. When I did have to see him I was mean. Why? Because I could be. Somehow, the friend who had told me to break up with him in the first place convinced me to get back together with him. So I did. And it was like we had never been apart. But things were different. I was a "grown-up" now. I had just turned 18 and I was getting ready to move out on my own. I had just started classes at the community college. And I was working a lot more. He was a sophomore in high school and he hated being there when I wasn't. So he cut classes. He hung out with the wrong crowd. And he did something else.
I went to meet him for lunch one day at the high school. While I was waiting for him, this girl (not a nice girl) came up to me and asked me why I was waiting for her boyfriend. What was she talking about? He didn't have time to be with this girl and why would he? She was nasty and everyone knew it. As he walked out and saw me, he smiled. Then he saw her. AWKWARD. He walked off with me and I began to question him about her. What was she talking about? We argued; that's really all I remember. I know I was living on my own then and he came home with me. I can't remember what was said, but I know he convinced me that she was lying and I was the only one he loved.
The next night my world fell apart. I found out that he had been seeing her all summer long. That he was still seeing her, while HE WAS SEEING ME. I was crushed. I repeatedly called his house that night so I could confront him but the line was busy. I finally got a hold of him after midnight. I made him tell me the truth and he admitted that he had only gotten back with me so he could hurt me the way I had hurt him a few months ago. I told him I hated him. I broke the 45 of Madonna's Crazy For You single ("our" song) on the phone and told him that was the sound of my heart breaking. Then I hung up the phone. The next day I mailed the broken pieces to him.
And I didn't talk to him for 20 years. Even though we lived in the same town. Even though he worked right next to my husband in the lumber mill. Even though our children were in grade school together. Even though my middle daughter and his second son were in the same class at a very small school. Even though this same daughter and son dated for awhile. Not once. Not until that same daughter and son graduated from 8th grade. And at that 8th grade graduation we talked to each other. We said, "hi." That was it.
In that 20 years apart, a lot happened. Here is the shortest version I know how to provide.
- Met and married a man that was 9 years older than me and had been married one before. I turned 20 one month after the wedding. He also had a 4 year old daughter when I met him.
- I quit college and went to work full time at the bakery until I got pregnant and ended up having an ectopic pregnancy.
- Had 3 babies in 3 1/2 years.
- Was a full-time mom, gardener, chef, nurse, teacher, etc. until the youngest started kindergarten and then I got a part time job.
- Lost our house, moved back to the company town, and went back to college.
- Full-time student, full-time mom, full-time everything.
- Finished school with a BA in Elementary Education.
- Started seeing my previously-night-shift husband full time and realized...yeah.
- Said hi to HIM at graduation.
- Moved out on my own for the first time in 20 years. Without my kids for the first time in my life.
- Made lots of dumb mistakes.
- Decide to turn over a new leaf on June 1, 2007
- Quit school and went to work in the woods with his dad.
- Got the bad girl from a few paragraphs up pregnant when he was 16.
- Tried to be a dad to his son, but was prevented by the mom.
- Wrecks cars.
- Gets married and goes to jail the next day for drunk driving.
- Has 3 kids and is a great dad.
- Gets a divorce when the youngest is 1.
- Sustains a major back injury at the lumber mill that leaves him permanently unable to work.
- Gets thrown in the slammer a few more times for drunk driving.
- Says hi to ME at graduation.
- Gets arrested for drunk driving and sent to San Quentin for 3 months and rehabilitation facility for 9 months.
- Gets out of rehab on May 23, 2007