My job interview had taken place a few days before Christmas vacation. I continued to work at the insurance agency up until the last minute before school started so that we could pay the rent and do the grocery shopping. I was so excited to be going back to the classroom.
Glenn Duncan School was in a low-income neighborhood and my classroom and 3 others were part of the Follow Through program. FT was a federally-funded program that was a continuation of education, health checkups, and social services to the children who had been in the Head Start Program.
I found out later that because the school was located in a low-income neighborhood, my school loans got paid off at a greater percentage than if I was working in a middle class school. That was a definite perk.
One of the other perks was that the classroom came with a full-time assistant, Jackie, who was smart, practical, creative, and caring. She was kindly candid and had a great sense of humor. She was married to Joe and they lived a few blocks from the school with their six children.
My Lord was faithful to me even when He was not remotely on my mind. Jackie was a committed Christian who lived her faith. She welcomed me and my new-teacher enthusiasm. She didn’t seem put-off by my long straight hair parted down the middle, my knee-high, fringed, brown boots, and my very mini miniskirts.
Because the first half of their first grade experience had been so tumultuous, I wanted to give the children a new beginning and a chance to succeed. When I asked Jackie how she thought we ought to start out the new year (the first weeks in January, 1970), her first suggestion was to rearrange the classroom furniture back into traditional rows and to re-establish the rules and our authority.
We worked very well together. I was definitely the bossy one, but Jackie was supportive of my leadership, while adding her suggestions and wisdom. I do believe she was the heart of our little group. Though I had purposefully stepped out of God’s circle, He had arranged the intersection of my life with Jackie’s. He is so good.
My husband was enthusiastically committed to his course of study at the University, and I was one-hundred percent invested in my classroom activities. Our relationship had been established on the sandy worldly foundation of fun, friends, and partying. We had no spiritual underpinnings. We did not read the Bible or pray together, we did not attend church, and we had no Christian friends.
Rory met a married couple, Brad and Jilly, who were in his program at UNR. They invited us to share expenses and move in to the two-story house they were renting a few blocks from the University. We jumped at the opportunity.
Brad and Jilly’s relationship was a little rocky, and we were also having problems.
Rory’s and my attempt at resolving our conflicts was to continue with our plans to travel to Europe that summer. We had mapped out a ten-week excursion, beginning with purchasing a VW bus in Amsterdam. We toured nine of the countries in Western Europe, all the while endeavoring to strengthen our connections and reignite our love. We never considered inviting God into the scenario.
Something happened toward the end of the trip, in Austria, that was a deal breaker, and I knew I was finished—all done!