This is the Sunday edition of the Getting to Know Me Saturday series… we had to take a break yesterday to enjoy the sunshine!
So, in an effort to keep the last post short and save you from reading the play by play of my childhood, I skipped over it and eluded to the move that brought us to Illinois. In doing so, I completely skipped the fact that my brother (P) and youngest sister (K) were born while still living in Ohio (she called me out on it too). My brother is about 5 1/2 years younger than I am. I remember spending the night at my grandma and grandpa’s house the night he was born and finding out about it when we came home from school that day in early May. It’s so hard to believe that he will be 26 this year! My youngest sister… now that’s a day I really remember… I was 10 1/2 and in the forth grade. My Oma was visiting us… she was watching us when my parents went to the hospital. I remember watching Annie on TV and then later going to bed. My sister N and I shared a room at that time and I had the top bunk. It was February 14th, 1988. At 12:31 am on the 15th the phone rang, my sister and I both woke up but were afraid to answer it seeing that it was so late… we knew that our Oma couldn’t answer it because she only spoke German, so we let it ring. When my dad came home later, he told us that K was born… just after Valentines day… she dashed my mom’s hopes for a holiday baby, even before she was born she was a stubborn little thing!
Anyway… fast forward again… in November 1990 we moved to a subburb on the southwest side of Chicago. It was so different from where we had grown up… everything was bigger and faster and just more… we moved from a town of 1200 to a “village” of 64,000. The school took some getting used to, it was nothing like the old 2 story brick building in OH… here it was all one level and you had to go through some classrooms to get to others (I just thought that was so very odd). The kids thought that I spoke with an accent (had they ever heard themselves talk?) and all of a sudden we now had to worry about tornados in the spring.
Even though I made friends, I never quite felt like I fit in- that was nothing new to me though. I was always the quiet one compared to my sister – she made friends so easily. Seventh grade turned into eighth and then there was high school. My freshman year went without a hitch. I was still playing the clarinet and was in the marching band. I played powder puff football during homecoming week. I was an honors nerd (that part never changed… ever). My sophmore year I learned to drive, quit band and became a cheerleader… I loved it! Looking back, I think I was the moodiest girl on the squad, with the ability to go from depressed to happy, chipper and spirited in a matter of seconds before a game, but no one seemed to mind.
My junior year everything changed… some things happened and my parents separated. My mom moved back to Germany with my brother and sisters (she had asked me if I wanted to go too, but I wanted to finish high school here). One thing led to another and a few short weeks later K and P were back in the states… and I had to grow up much too quickly. Days turned into weeks and then months. N came back to visit in September of my senior year, my mom a few weeks later. They both moved back home later that winter, but things didn’t get better. I don’t remember much about the time they were living in Germany… sometimes, I wish I could forget the bits and pieces that I do. We could have had a Lifetime movie written about what had happened to our family and it has taken years to try and repair the relationships that were broken at that time.
Though it wasn’t all bad the year they were gone-my senior year I was captain of our cheerleading squad (my little sister K even had a uniform and came and cheered with us a few times)… our football team made it to the state semi-finals that year… our cheer squad made it to the state competition- it wasn’t a good year and I was depressed – a lot. I didn’t date, though I got along well with guys… in fact I went to my senior prom alone with a group of friends who all had dates (it was terrible and I don’t recommend that to anyone). It wasn’t until after the prom that I started dating a guy that I had liked for a while… one of the football players and the prom king. After our graduation he went off to Naval basic training and then to CA while I got ready to start college in downtown Chicago.
I only went to college for 1 semester. I loved the experience of living in the city, but didn’t really like the university I attended. Despite that fact, it was my intention to go back after winter break. I didn’t know why at that time, but for some reason I wasn’t able to sign up for classes. I moved back home and went to work full time (it wasn’t until later that I found out they never received the 2nd payment, which was why I wasn’t able to register). I planned on getting everything straightened out so that I could go back the next fall… right after my summer vacation to Germany.
This is where I leave you for now. You’ll hear all about how a summer vacation turned into 7 years of Europe next time =)