I turned 42 today and decided to look backward for a little while. On the walk I took yesterday, I walked one direction for a half hour then turned around and went back the way I’d come. I thought there was something in that – looking at things you’d seen before but from a different perspective. The sunlight was hitting the trees differently, there were fewer shadows (because the sun had risen a little more), I walked on the other side of the road, so I saw things on that side I hadn’t seen on the first half of my walk. I knew that little nugget of an idea would become something, and here it is: my birthday blog.
I turned two in 1970. I’ve perused events from that year and have chosen a few to share – some personal, some not. In January, the first 747 entered into service. I’ve been on several of those in my life. They’ve taken me to some wonderful vacation spots: Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, the Bahamas, Phoenix. The two that stand out for me are Cabo in 2008 because it was a family vacation and unforgettable because of those shared memories, and Phoenix – basically for the same reason. I took Tori to see my brother and his wife. It was the first time Tori flew and we had a blast! Also, in July of 1970, American Top 40 with Casey Kasem debuted. I have so many teen memories of that radio show, listening to see who was going to be on top each week. (And I have to admit, I loved the long distance dedications.)
In 1980, Mom remarried and Bob became my dad. There’s not a “step” needed, wanted, or included. Dad has taught me the value of work, laughter, and friendship (and the importance of keeping the oil changed in my car!). Together, he and Mom have taught me the meaning of family. The other big personal milestone for me in 1980 was beginning junior high. ‘Nuff said on that, right? The music world lost Bon Scott, John Bonham, and John Lennon. I don’t remember being affected by the first two – which is ironic because I became a fan of both AC/DC and Zeppelin – but I do remember Lennon’s assassination. Tori and I visited the memorial mosaic in Strawberry Fields in Central Park last year. And then, finally, the film Ordinary People was released. Last fall, the high school drama department staged this, and they did an amazing job with such mature material.
Ten years later, in 1990, I met Jim Gardner, whom I would marry the following year. The marriage didn’t work out, but Tori resulted from it, so I will never, ever regret that marriage. It was a very volatile year: I changed – and lost – jobs more than once. I moved twice – the first time being out of my family home and in with my soon-to-be husband. Lots of emotions ran around that year. On a broader spectrum, here are some international/national events that made me stop and go “Hmmmm” when I surveyed the list for the year: The Hubble Telescope was launched into space. Have you seen any of the pictures that thing has taken? If not, you need to Google them. They’re amazing. On a sad note, Jim Henson died in May. I was a big fan of the Muppets TV show and don’t think I could name just one favorite. Could you? Also in May, the WHO removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. I can’t believe it took that long, and I can’t believe how far we, as a society, are yet from acceptance of homosexuals. In August, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and we know the history of that, don’t we? At the end of September, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. was finished, and I think I’ll finally get to see it next year!!
Ten years ago, in 2000, I was 32 years old and wrapping up my first year as a high school English teacher while Tori was wrapping up her year as a kindergartener. We were living in our very first apartment – just the two of us – and were very happy as the budding “Gardner Girls.” Looking outside my little world, Charlie Brown missed his last football kick in February when Charles Schulz died. I still love to watch the Peanuts specials at the holidays, don’t you? Playstation 2 was launched early in the year, and do you know, I still have never played with one? We don’t own one – any of the PS versions – and I have absolutely no desire to. In October, Al-Qaeda attacked the USS Cole. Tragically, we know where they struck less than a year later.
So, here I am. It’s 2010 and I’m 42 years old. I have a 16-year-old daughter and am still teaching English, although it’s now to middle school students (whom I much prefer!!). I have a lot to be grateful for in my life: I have a great family and amazing friends. I live my dream every time I sit down to my computer and work on one of my novels. Maybe someday I’ll be published, but maybe I won’t. That’s why it’s a dream. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, and people in my life who care about me.
My hope is that I’ve lived my life in a way that has shown people that I care about them too, that their happiness and well-being are important to me. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us, so, before I close, please know that I’m grateful for all the goodness God has blessed me with and that I will continue to try and live my life in a way that shows it. To my family and friends – I love ya. Thanks for being part of my life.