Losing a Part of Our Youth in a Wisconsin Motel

1995

 

There was a brief period of time in 1995 when Dave and I were engaged to be married, but we were living in two different states. We were young. We had jobs one would expect youngsters to have. We both lived at home with our parents. We had gotten our first taste of freedom by joining a group that toured the country and required no actual independence or responsibility- and we had spent that year falling madly in love.

There was never any question that we were going to get married. Breaking up was not an option, and we were absolutely young and naive. But, to our credit- we were right to have acted on that stupidity. It’s still the best decision I ever made.

I lived in Michigan, and Dave lived in Illinois. During this time of separation, a trip was planned for a family reunion in Wisconsin, where I would meet my future father-in-law’s family. I would take a train to Chicago, where Dave and his brother would pick me up. Then we would swing by and pick up Dave’s other brother in Madison on our way to LaCrosse. Dave’s aunt and uncle owned a motel where we would all be staying.

When we arrived at the motel, they were overbooked. Dave’s sister thought it would be fun if she and I spent the night in a tent in the motel parking lot. And yes, even though I could see a nearby motel with vacant rooms, and I had cash in my pocket- that is what we did (this isn’t crucial to my story; I just needed to talk about the fact that this happened).   Continue reading

Experiencing the Wonder Years. Again.

 

The other day I decided we were all going to enjoy a marathon viewing of The Wonder Years. It had been a while since I had seen it, and there were many episodes I had not watched since they first aired. I suspect there are several installments Dave has never seen at all, since he grew up in a household without television. And while this meant it wouldn’t trigger any nostalgia for him, everyone enjoys a well-written show that stands the test of time. Except maybe Teghan, who mostly just noticed the music. But I’ll take that.

For me, on the other hand….well, I was surprised at just how nostalgic it was. Not because I remember coming of age in the late sixties– I don’t. But because in 1988, as we watched Kevin Arnold enter the seventh grade, I was also entering the seventh grade. I can still remember watching in the living room with my parents as if it were yesterday. Watching again twenty-four years later reminded me of some great moments in life that I had somehow forgotten. Specifically, junior high romance.

It’s funny how we forget things. For example, I have been lucky in love. I take it for granted most of the time. I have been in love with the same man since I was just eighteen years old, so I don’t really think much about the pursuit of love anymore. But once in a while I remember those days from before.

And not just any days. The love life of our youth is a unique and important part of anyone’s story. It is never completely forgotten. Something about the (slightly) more experienced and painful years of high school love can bury those details of junior high. But that is where it all awkwardly began.  Continue reading