The Story Of Vera And Her Family, Chapter 23

27 08 2008

I continued in my belief that one day Phillip would return home.  Yet, I knew that he had to experience everything that he was living.  I didn’t want him to have a short cut to his mental or spiritual health.  The door to communicating with Phillip was very slim.  He did let us know when he moved to the half way house.  Phillip also let us know when he got a part time job while living at the half way house.  However, Phillip just wasn’t emotionally strong enough to chat for long or to give many details.  I, especially had to learn to be content that he was alive and being taken care of.  I continued to pray for him daily .  Moreover, I just had to push on with my very full life of dealing with four teenagers.

As a freshman in high school,Vera, you excelled in both language arts and math and science.  You  began talking about studying to become a veterinarian.  That became your focus which stayed with you throughout high school.  You planned your entire academic schedule around your desires to become a doctor.  Your were very active and successful as a member of the academic team and the science olympia team.  Often you traveled with these teams either after school or on the weekends for competitions. 

Meanwhile, Maria was often gone with speech team competitions.  You both still had afternoon paper routes so I ended up substituting for both of you a great deal.  I didn’t mind doing that because I wanted each of you to have spending money for high school.  Although your dad was making more money–we still were not able to just pass around extra spending money .  Thus, that was my contribution to both of you girls– so that you could be a part of your teams and  not lose your paper routes.

Sandy was enjoying getting out of high school at lunch time.  Rob, who worked for the newspaper would come over to our home each day.  They would eat lunch together and watch a soap opera. Then Sandy would report to the newspaper for her job as assistant circulation secretary.  Rob would also get back to his job at the newspaper.  They both would get off work around 6:30 p.m.  They were together most every evening.  Sandy never neglected her homework.  I don’t know how she squeezed that obligation in but she continued to make good grades. 

Sandy was concerned that Rob just needed one credit left to graduate from high school.  She told Rob that she would never marry him if he didn’t get his high school education.  Thus, he began in an adult program that fall and earned his last credit.  In December, we all went to a special ceremony at the school board for many like Rob who were just finishing up small obligations to reach their graduation goals.   He was handed his diploma from the superintendent of our school system.  We were all extremely proud of Rob.

The winter of 1994 was the harshest winter that I can ever remember in our years of living in Kentucky.  A major ice storm hit our county and the surrounding counties.  Sandy had to be at work each Saturday morning at the newspaper and I begged her to let dad drive.  She was very headstrong and demanded her independence.  She did wreck.  The traffic lights were messed up and everyone had a green light.  She was driving a huge 1973 Buick which protected her.  The front end was badly damaged. However, we were still able to drive the car.  That car was made out of pure iron.  I would hate to see what could have happened with today’s light weight cars. 

That ice storm in February left many without power in the county for two entire weeks.  The trees were so loaded down with ice that a constant snapping became a common sound.  We had our power restored in 24 hours. Many people had to move to shelters.  The clean up was horrendous.  It took the city and county months to clear up all the debris.  We still had our tree limbs on the street in early spring before the city finally picked them. 

During the ice storm, I fell down our basement stairs and broke my “pinky” on my left hand.  I used my hand and arm to hug the basement wall on the stairwell to keep from breaking my leg.  It was such a serious break that I had to have major surgery.  I had a pin put in my tiny finger.  It has taken years to get my flexability back.  Thankfully, that finger is mainly a support in playing the piano.  However, playing the piano has been the best therapy in getting my flexability back.

Ben was living his own script.  After having been sent away to a group home in l992–he made it plain that he would be leaving our home when he was 18 years old.  Ben never gave us any more difficulty .  He was very responsible at school and at work.  He was working at Wal-Mart after school.  He met an older girl who had already been married and divorced.  After the ice storm cleared up–he moved in with this girl.  She had her own apartment.  Although we didn’t agree with his decision–we knew to keep our mouths shut.  We were nice to Pam and never gave her any grief.  Actually, she did more to influence Ben to finish his senior year than we ever could have.  We simply had mo more influence in Ben’s life—period.

Spring finally arrived.  Ben and Sandy were excited about graduating from high school.  Ben had no desire to attend college.  He loved working with his hands.  In fact , one of the jobs that he did at Wal Mart was to assemble all of the bikes, lawn mowers, etc.  He had also done some apprentice work with a home builder.  It was his goal to learn everything he could about carpentry and building homes.  I knew that he would be successful.  Sandy wanted to continue her job at the newspaper so she applied to be a student at our community college.

It was May!  Ben and Sandy graduated from high school.  Jim’s brother and his family traveled from Iowa to be a part of the celebration.  After the graduation ceremony, Rob asked Jim if he could ask Sandy to marry him.  Again, we felt that we would never win by denying that request.  Sandy would be a very young bride even if they waited a year.  Sandy happily excepted her engagement ring.  How had the years passed by so quickly?  How could we be the parents of a young woman who had just become engaged?  Our desire for Sandy was that she would earn  a college degree. 

Ben also announced that he was engaged to Pam.  We stood in the shadows of the lives of our young adult children.  The bend in our lives was again turning…….




2 responses

1 09 2008

I remember that paralyzing ice storm, Nicole3. It was terrible. It took weeks for most of KY to get powered back up. It effect us in that we were unable to pull lumber into our company and that caused a huge delay in our production…

Turning corners with children as they grow seem surreal at best. Having graduations and then engagements in the same year makes a parent’s head spin. Where did the time go???

I imagine that the next chapters will show how life can go into hyperdrive without knowing that we changed gears….

Love your account of Vera and your life…
Your friend,

5 09 2008

Dear Shadowlands,
I forgot that you all had a lumber business– so yes, the ice storm of 94 would have affected your business.

Yes, things are going to be intense as we try to finish up the Vera stories. Thanks for reading them. You are one of my best cheerleaders!

your friend,

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