My life story is an example of a life that shows that –
with God you can do much much more than you ever thought you could do…
My blog posts are going to be in consecutive order, starting from when I was fourteen. I am quickly laying the groundwork for my emerging relationship with Jesus and my marriage to Dan. From there I will be telling our God stories.
1-Nice Girl Gets Divine Leading
I was a nice girl in high school in the early sixties (1959-1963). Anyone would have told you that. In fact I remember the general feeling when I entered Oxnard High School as being wholesome. The times would be changing very quickly, the country was teetering on the brink of the sexual revolution. But at that time it was still cool to be a good girl.
Through my relationship with my best friend, Nancy, I had come out of painful shyness and timidity. She and I were in a core group of besties we had bonded with from junior high school days, but we also had friends in all of the social groups.
Nancy’s sister Carol was a senior when we were freshmen. Beginning the previous summer, she prodded us to jump right into all of the school activities, run for class office, decorate the homecoming float, join clubs, dress up for pioneer day, and go to all of the games. And she called us dorks if we showed any sign of wimpy-ness. Her goading was the best thing that could have happened to us because we had a really fun time in high school.
I always had a date for the high school dances, but rarely with a boy that I was gaga over. This was a good thing. When you date boys that are your pals, you can be yourself, crack jokes, laugh just because you want to, be silly, not take yourself too seriously, and stay out of trouble.
In my junior year when the football quarterback asked me out, my prayers were answered–I was seriously infatuated. We had fun at the Sweetheart dance with our friends, although we didn’t have a lot to say to each other. Afterward we ‘parked’ at the beach. I was drawn to him and we smooched a little, but I wasn’t very comfortable, because I was a good girl, a late-blooming Catholic girl. We went out a few more times, and one time he surprised me by coming to my house to say he was sorry I had not been chosen to be a song leader in the school election, saying he thought I would have been good at it. I really liked him after that! He went on to Stanford after graduation intent on becoming a lawyer. And that was that.
I said a heartfelt goodbye to Nancy as she went off to college with career goals and life plans to become a pre-school teacher.
I had no goals and no plans. My only considerations were: being a maid because I liked to help people or a taxi driver because I loved to drive my friends around in the ‘53 Chevy my daddy had bought me when I turned 16.
My dad suggested that I be a cocktail waitress because I had good legs or a bank teller like my mom had been. Seriously. That was all of the aspiration that we had for me!
I dutifully went to the junior college in the next town, content to live at home and work on a secretarial degree. Students of all ages attended classes, some working on achieving their AA degree, many expecting to go on to four-year colleges. There were no cliques and no ‘in crowd’ or ‘out crowd.’
Surprisingly my complexion cleared up and my body took on a little bit of shape. A little bit–but enough so that my self-concept improved immensely.
Dating became a new experience, and I was asked out by guys from neighboring towns that I had never met before. I especially liked John, a nice Catholic boy, the president of the student body, and we dated for several months. He also was a person with goals and plans and transferred to a university after two years.
All my life I had been a serious Catholic and had faithfully attended Sunday morning church and Saturday confession (every six weeks) with my father and sisters. My mom was raised a Baptist, but she had submissively signed papers pledging she would work with daddy to raise their children in the Catholic faith. She later decided that she did not believe the all of Catholic doctrine and was uncomfortable at Mass and did not attend.
During the summer after my first year of college, I had what I realized years afterward was a divine intervention in my life.
One of my babysitting jobs was with our next door neighbors’ two little girls. They were sweet and I had fun with them. Nettie, their mom, was scheduled to lead the Brownie day camp that her seven year old daughter was to attend. Sickness prevented her from going and at the last minute she asked me to take her place. I was hesitant, not real sure of myself in the new situation, but I wanted to do that favor for her.
I remember sitting on a park table in a woodsie area with five little girls crowded around me and realizing that they were actually listening to me. They were learning, we were laughing, and it occurred to me strongly, “HEY, I can do this! I can teach first graders and they accept me!”