Monday, July 22, 2013


Let me spare us all the boredom of a lengthy recitation of my very young adult adventures.

College.  Law school.  Marriage.  Not in that order.
On the home front: My first stepmother died in a bizarre accident the summer before I started college, and my father re-married the next summer, adding two more stepsisters and eventually a half-brother to the mix.  I've never really known any of them.  My first set of step-siblings quickly made their way back to Florida and Georgia, and we've only seen one another a couple of times in the last forty years.
I had incredible summer internships.  Not.  Let's see . . . I cleaned hotel rooms in Cincinnati, waited tables at Chautauqua, made G.I. Joe flashlights in Pawtucket, worked as a drugstore cashier in Providence, and waited on some more tables in Cleveland.  When I was ready to leave for school, the hotel housekeeping manager told me she'd make me a floor manager if I stayed, and the drugstore manager told me she'd put me in charge of the cosmetics department.  I'm serious.  No one EVER asked me if I wanted to manage a restaurant or a toy factory.  I guess we see where my innate gifts lie.

I really have only one comment.  When I see the effort that goes into the college decision process and the planning of a wedding today, I often think: The real milestones in life come when you least expect them.  Wherever you go to college, it will be fine.  Whether you get married in a Plaza Hotel extravaganza or in a small chapel in the woods will have virtually no bearing on whether you are still married thirty or sixty years later.  Or whether you want to be.  And while it's cool to have a flashy volunteer internship, it's also cool to pay your own rent, at least for the summer.

It's good to earn those diplomas.  It's good to make commitments even when you have no idea what you're doing.  It's good to work hard and it's good to celebrate.  But those things are barely the beginning.  At least in my case. 
Young people today are often so accomplished and sophisticated. 
I so wasn't.


  1. Barely the beginning in my case as well. Add to a similar list of step family members who I have never known, a lot of separation from other family members...and other destabilizing family dynamics...and the need for me to pay my way through school - I did a lot of weird summer jobs too (waitressing, selling clothes/backpacks/hiking boots, vacuuming the student union....) and I completely agree - where I went to school, when/where/how I got married etc. have had little lasting impact on how my iife has turned out - with the exception of WHO married my husband and I - SHE suggested we consider the Episcopal Church, which we did and THAT has had a huge impact on my life. That too is very weird.

    1. See? Not what you would have ever predicted, right?

      It would have been a good thing if I had had to pay my way through school. I would have had to wait until I was actually grown up.

  2. I kinda think everyone should wait tables at some time in their lives. I believe it impacts character and the way you treat people who "serve" you. Cleaning hotel rooms probably has a similar impact. I think you actually accomplished a lot.

  3. I personally prefer the non-accomplishment and unsophistication of OUR youth...