Although I've journaled for many years, there remain some big, undocumented gaps. Happily, a few precious memories linger...

joys of childhood

making necklaces from clover flowers ___ summer vacations ___ Good Times: Every Kid's Book of Things to Do ___ Barbie's town house ___ pretending to drive in the parked car ___ chili dogs from the ice cream shop near our house ___ Saturday morning cartoons ___ black and white TV ___ bike rides on the sidewalk ___ eating apples from the tree in our yard ___ passing notes ___ paternal and maternal grandfathers both being at our house one time ___ tunic top (dark teal with white sleeves) that my mother made for me ___ road trip to Atmore for my dad's friend's wedding ___ sleepover at my best friend's with blueberry muffins for breakfast ___ Mello Yello ___ Sam, the neighbor's dog, who barked at us ___ exploring brushy areas near the house ___ walking to the library across the street ___ jungle gyms ___ watching my sister cheer at pee wee football ___ call in radio request ___ sewing a doll from scrap green fabric ___ climbing on the roof of the neighbor's garage ___ kiddie carnival prizes ___ My Little Pony collection ___ department store snacks ___ small teddy bear from my grandfather ___ great big glasses of chocolate milk ___ made-up song about the vice principal ___ school cafeteria, pizza day ___ playing DJ with my dad's record collection ___ running through the sprinklers ___ a toothbrush shaped like a crocodile

school daze

When my sister and I were little, my dad would take us each to the store on our birthday and let us pick out what we wanted. (Definitely a treat, because that was SO not the case most of the time.) Even better than the things was getting to spend time with Dad, and having his attention.

When I was in first grade, I had really short hair (my mom's choice, not mine), and once a Mean Girl wouldn't let me in the girls' restroom. She sneered, "Only boys have short hair."

When our second grade class photo was handed out, I remember studying it, confused: where was I? I clearly remembered that I was "sitting on the end, next to Emily"... but THAT couldn't be me! But, as it turns out, it was. I had pulled my bangs back with a headband, and the camera flash had caused a fantastic glare off of my pale forehead. As if that wasn't bad enough, my expression was squinty... positively goofy. :shudders: If I had had the means, I would've collected all of those photos and destroyed them.

If I had to pick a favorite year of school, it would be third grade. I had an awesome best friend, plus two other good friends, and a cute dark-haired boy to crush on. I felt I belonged. :)

During a fourth grade spelling bee, I was to spell the word "its" as in the sentence "The car dropped its transmission." I said, "I-T-apostrophe-S." The teacher looked to the next student and repeated the word, indicating that I was wrong. Since then, I always remember that i-t-s is possessive. Maybe this little story will help other people remember which "its" is which, too.

I was in fifth grade or so, and I was outside with the kid next door, Jessica. At one point, I looked down and a "cinch bug" was walking up my sock toward my leg. FYI, a cinch bug is a beetle, maybe 1-and-1/2 inches long, with pinchers sprouting out from its head. I just knew that when it reached skin, it was going to pinch on to my leg, so I started hopping around, screaming and kicking/shaking my leg out. Poor Jessica was dumbfounded for a minute, then she saw the bug and had the bright idea for me to try to scrape it off on the nearby fence post. Still hopping, screaming and kicking/shaking my leg, I made my way to the fence... and it worked. Then we laughed -- a lot -- over my hysterics. We were in the front yard, too, on our busy street, so I'm sure passers by were getting quite a show!

Also in fifth grade, during a physical education volleyball game, it was my turn to serve for our team; I served 15 shots and earned 15 points all in a row! Game! Set! Match! (Looking back, it was no big feat because the other team would hardly move to try to return the ball -- most would move to *avoid* contact with it!)

In eighth grade, I had the biggest crush of my young life on "HC". It started in sixth grade, but I digress. He was so outgoing, and nice, and... fun! As often happens, there was a dance, and my friend Angela and I went. Of course HC was there, acting crazy as always. Several times during the evening, he and his friends asked me to dance, probably as a joke, so of course I giggled, and Angela and I went to hide in the restroom -- several times. (I'll point out here that I didn't actually talk to HC; just pined for him from afar.) Angela was so embarrassed. I didn't have enough sense to be embarrassed; even though I didn't dance with anyone, I was thrilled with the attention.

Also in eighth grade, I had a class with HC, and he sat two seats behind me. One day as he was passing by, he picked up the Sweet Valley High book that was lying with my stuff. Looking at what was written on the cover, he said, "'Lose her best friend'? Oh no!" Then he put the book down and proceeded to his seat. If I had been a chatty person, I would have struck up a conversation with him. I guess he wasn't too impressed with my ability to sit there and blush.

Members of our tenth grade literature class were given the option to either recite a poem or lip sync to a song. I'm sure it surprised the teacher -- and the class -- that mousy little me chose to lip sync. (I even went Hollywood and put my sunglasses on, as a classmate did. ;) For my song, I selected Madonna's "Spotlight," because it has a good point for anyone, but especially for us mousies: don't be afraid to try!

For most of my high school years I had a huge crush on a guy named Trent. He was your basic handsome, popular, football-player type. He also went to my church. After one of our youth group get-togethers, he said he could drive me home. On the way home, he decided that he was hungry, so he turned the car around and drove to McDonald's where he treated me to a hamburger.

To celebrate high school graduation, three classmates and I went to Nashville and spent a few days at the Opryland Hotel.

celebrity encounters

I was dating a guy named Russell who worked the 11 pm - 7 am shift at our local Chevron. I sometimes would hang out with him while he was working. It was always interesting to see who visited the gas station at that time of night. One time, a large luxury touring bus pulled in and the driver came in for some coffee. While Russell made some fresh coffee, we chatted with the driver who informed us that it was Tammy Wynette's bus. I was so impressed! I wished that she would come in for a visit -- the driver explained that she was asleep.

When I was working at Cracker Barrel, one of my fellow servers -- Alicia -- asked me if I thought that one of our customers looked like Steven Curtis Chapman. We discussed it back and forth, finally she went to ask him. It was! Alicia and I were pretty excited about that. The other servers wanted to know who he is. "A contemporary Christian singer." They weren't too impressed. I challenge them to hear his music and be unimpressed! Alicia and I got Mr. Chapman's autograph.

I was waiting on a couple at table 54. I remember thinking what a nice suit the lady was wearing -- it was a very smart-looking dark blue; also, she had a very nice haircut. They dined and left. One of our regular customers asked me if I knew who that was. ("No.") It was Lorianne Crook of TNT's "Crook and Chase."

When some of the other Guys Next Door fans suggested a get-together in Los Angeles in May 2005, I told them to count me in. I had wanted to visit Los Angeles for several years, and suddenly I had the perfect excuse. The whole trip was great, and the get-together was better than I could have imagined. Four of the five Guys actually met with us! Read about the trip.


In years past, I have enjoyed participating in various school and church plays. One of the earliest that I recall is our first grade production of the Three Little Pigs. I was chosen to be the smart pig -- the one who built *her* house of brick. Not too much later, in fourth grade I was chosen to be one of the seven flies in the story of the Brave Little Taylor. I still recall the song we sang about "plummy plum plum" jam.

In sixth grade, our chorus performed Oliver Twist. I believe my favorite song from that play was "You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two."

I was the second "boy" in our seventh grade version of Tom Sawyer. It was a chorus of all girls -- even Tom Sawyer was played by my cousin Leigh Ann. Anyway, I was in the white-washing the fence scene and my line was "Here's a neat knife handle."

In high school, as part of the church youth group, I participated with singing roles in several Christmas plays including the critically acclaimed (lol) "I Was a Teenage Christmas Tree."

A few years later, I sang a solo in front of our church. On Sunday morning. I did *not* feel that it was good. People told me that I did a good job, but then again, what else are they going to say? The song was "Let Us Pray" by Steven Curtis Chapman. It's an awesome song -- upbeat with a good message -- and I did not do it justice.


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