What I recall of our first break-up, somewhere between my junior and senior years, was that he went out with my best friend. I didn’t’ really date anyone my senior year, just spent time with friends. Then following a graduation party, my old love came to my rescue. I’d just as soon not remember that night, actually I don’t remember it. It may have been the first time I “drank” in high school. I found out later while I was dancing, a group of my “friends” poured vodka in my keg beer cup.
Following the rescue, we were “on” again. I’d gone through high school with the belief sex outside marriage was a sin. I remember telling someone who “had” to get married that it would never happen to me. But oh, was I tempted with that man. Since he was a man, he’d had it with my teasing. Our last night together after I said, “I can’t,” he drove me home without a word. He never called again, except once when I had finally moved on.
That unresolved situation gave me the desire to write reunion stories. I didn’t have the self-confidence to call him and say, “Let’s talk about this.” Instead, I gave in to a broken heart. I played all the sappy broken-hearted songs of the time. “Cherish,” “Walk on By,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Rhythm of the Falling Rain” (we’d danced to), “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” “Only Love Can Break a Heart.” And the Righteous Brothers, over and over. Enough. You get the sad picture.
Something happened when I went to my only year of “junior” college. If sex was such a big deal, why fight it? I didn’t drive at the time. If I went to church it was a mile-long walk. You get the idea. Not long into that first semester, I fell into “lust.”
The April of my nineteenth birthday was unforgettable. I won the title of Miss Norfolk. And I discovered I was pregnant. A couple of months later, while fitting the dress Mom made for the Miss Nebraska pageant, she guessed my news. I said, “I’m so ashamed. I can’t tell Dad.” Mid-summer I turned in my crown to the first runner-up and wrote a letter to the city council and said I was getting married.
We were married that August, mainly due to pressure from our parents. He was far from ready at age twenty. I knew of no single moms at the time, and there was no way I’d give up my child. But I did give up my dream to continue on in school and become a music teacher.
God had a different plan, as He has a plan for all of us. Every single choice, every single change, He uses for our good. Once I looked into the face of my daughter, there were no regrets. Though I was a single mom for a time, I grew up. And my daughter Paige has always been a beautiful, brilliant gift. All the many chapters of my love-of-reading life, all those years of responsibility, all the heartache and mistakes, all the sins, have made me who I am today.