This new retirement thing got me to thinking of the chapters in my life. The beginning chapter will remain a blur for me. But from about age five and going forward, they are:
- I started kindergarten at Sumner School, which was about five blocks from our home. I went to the morning class and Miss Mostrum (sp) was my teacher. I remember her as a very tall, slender woman who would cross the street if she saw a cat or dog on her side of the sidewalk. Our classroom was large and it had a balcony in which there was small furniture where we could play house. When it was our birthday, Miss Mostrum would draw a cake from chalk and add the student's name on it. They got to bring it home. We painted, played, listened to stories, learned to cut and paste (not with a computer!), and even took little naps on our rugs. I have such clear memories of kindergarten because I loved it so much. The rest of my elementary school years were enjoyable, but not noteworthy.
- Seventh grade was much more challenging. On day one I found myself lost in the large school building. I made my way to the nearest exit where I got my bearings and proceeded to walk home. Soon I learned my way around to my various classes. December of that year my father died. This was a total shock to me. I had not been prepared for this. It put me in a whole new category. I was "fatherless." A couple of the things I enjoyed about seventh grade were singing in a triple trio and home-ec. Eight and ninth grade were pretty normal for me until April of my ninth grade when my mother suddenly died. Now I was an "orphan."
- The summer between my 9th and 10th grades, my Aunt Liz invited me to come to live with her and her family. This was a generous offer which I gladly accepted. I loved living with the Reeds and enjoyed going to school in Mahtomedi. It was a small school—only 55 in my class! During this school year I took driver's training and got my driver's license. This is a bigger deal than one realizes. What freedom having one's driver's license brings! My Aunt Liz let me drive her car all over the twin cities. My junior and senior years I lived with a very loving family from my home church. The Hogans were so kind to let me live with them and I enjoyed it very much. It was at their home I learned to play the piano.
- My next big chapter happened after graduating from high school – college. I enrolled at Minnesota Bible College, a Christian college located on the border of the University of Minnesota campus and I majored in music. While in college, I worked part-time at Bridgeman's Ice Cream parlor. It was fun and I learned a lot.
- Steve and I were married after my freshman year of college. We spent the summer in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where Steve did a summer youth ministry. I worked at the J. C. Penney store. In September we moved back to Minneapolis and continued college classes. The following spring I got at job at Northwestern Bell Telephone as a computer operator in the accounting department. It was full time and the pay was good, so I quit college. This is one of my biggest regrets.
- When Steve had graduated from Minnesota Bible College and St. Paul Bible College, the next move was to Illinois where he would begin the work towards his master's degree. I continued to work so that he could get through school sooner. Six months later a church in Joliet hired him to be their youth pastor. The understanding was he could continue to work on his master's degree, so that was good. We stayed in Joliet for ten years and then returned to Minnesota.
- The most meaningful chapters of my life were the birth of my children. Hans, Peder and Heidi were born in Illinois, but most of their formative years were spent in Minnesota. I have loved watching them mature and especially love seeing them as parents. Each of them is married to an exceptional person and they have given me eight wonderful grandchildren.
- After working full time for over thirty five years, I retired. This was a huge decision as I couldn't picture myself not getting up to go to work Monday through Friday. I am so happy that I came to peace with this and can report that I am loving the new freedom I now have.