1. When I was 13, my parents ruined my life. Yes, they did, really…see, they picked up our family and moved us from CA to TX…1 week before I started high school. It happened quickly, so when I finished junior high we had no idea that we would be moving, which meant that I didn’t have a chance to say good bye to a lot of my friends. I started high school in San Antonio, TX, where I didn’t know a single person. Of course, 15 months later, after I’d made a best friend, and come to LOVE LOVE LOVE Texas (the entire family had), they picked us up and moved us back to CA – stinkin’ jobs!
Here we are driving away from our house in CA for the LOONNNNGG drive to TX -- nice VW bus, huh?
2. When I was 14 and at the end of my freshman year, my brother ruined my life. I had become good friends with our next door neighbor who was a year older than me. Her mom was a lot more lenient than my parents were so we had started to spend the night at her house on the weekends and sneak out to wander around our neighborhood after we were thought to be sleeping. One night we had the bright idea to sneak out and go to a teenage night club – somehow our brothers found out and they told on us. My dad showed up AT THE CLUB to take us home. All I remember is that I was dancing to some RAD (*snort* I said rad) song, when I saw my dad in the strobe light across the club. I literally froze – deer in the headlights – as Dad pushed his way towards us. As it turned out, it was a good thing he showed up since we didn’t have a ride home, and we were in a not-so-nice industrial part of SA. I got grounded for a month, and my friend couldn’t use the phone for a week…so we enslaved our brothers to carry notes back and forth – after all, it was all their fault.
Here's my next door neighbor (on the left) and I (in the middle)...check out those 1988 clothes and hair!
3. When I was 16, I ruined my own life (notice a trend here??). Obviously I hadn’t learned my lesson from #2 above since I told my parents I was staying at Renee’s house and she told her parents she was staying at my house, and we actually took her mom’s Prelude, cruised downtown, turned the wrong way down a one-way street (I was driving) and had to bale out into an alley where we scratched the side of the car, then proceeded to pick up some guys and hang out for a while before we went back to her house and crashed. If that wasn’t bad enough, our parents got smart, figured it out, and I got grounded for 3 months! Without the use of my car! I think Renee got restricted from the phone for a week.
4. The summer between junior and senior year of HS, I went to an engineering camp for girls in Hoboken, NJ (yes, I was kind of a nerd). I knew I wanted to be an enginner, and my physics teacher recommended me for the program, so I applied, was accepted, and flew off to NJ/NY for 2 weeks. I had a blast, met some great girls, learned a little, and got to see the Twin Towers.
I'm so happy I was able to go to NYC and see it before 9/11...
5. I graduated from high school when I was 17. I was ranked number 11 of about 550 students, and I was considered a valedictorian because my GPA was over 4.0. I spent my summer between high school and college working at a law firm as a file clerk and taking English Composition at my junior college, where I went on to take 2 more years of pre-engineering classes.
Here are Dad, Mom, and me at my baccalaureate...the scary thing is that that Dad was only a few years older than my hubby is right now!
6. While I was going to junior college, a lady who I worked with at the law firm decided to retire and move to the mountains. Her house wasn’t selling, so she asked me to “housesit” until it sold. My best friend, Lost in NC, moved with me to the house. While we were living in the house together, NC and I had some car troubles. My 1983 Honda Civic died at school one day (we later found out that the timing belt had broken), and I had it towed home.
Here's Mr. Man, my busted old car...he was called Mr. Man because he never did what I wanted him to when I wanted him to.
The next day I had an 8am class, but NC didn’t have class until later. So, she told me to take her car (a 1982 Honda Civic almost exactly like mine) and come back to pick her up on my break. Well, I totaled her car on my way to school. I flipped it when I drove too fast up a hill on wet roads. When the guy who pulled me out of the car asked if I was ok, all I could say was, “I totaled her car, she’s going to kill me…what did I do???” There’s a lot more to this story, but the bottom line is that NC and I are still friends, but we did go through a rough patch for a while…at least we had my grandma’s 1977 Pontiac Bonneville to drive around in until NC could get a new car.
Here's "Henry", NC's car...after I wrecked it. When I flipped it, I landed on the roof of the car.
Here's Bonnie, the Bonneville...ain't she grand?
7. When I was 19, I got baptized. I became a Christian when I was very young, but I never thought much about baptism until my late teens. Somehow I finally learned that even though I didn’t need to be baptized to be “saved”, God still wanted me to do it – in obedience to Him. It was an amazing experience – several others in my youth group were baptized with me, and I will never forget it.
NOTE: None of the above items really ruined my life...but as a teenager, it kinda felt like it at the time. I learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of great friends, and became a stronger person because of what I experienced.