Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 - My Story, God's Story - More Memories from the Teen Years

Then there was the time when I was in 8th grade and I wanted something new to wear to church on Sunday. Since I was told I couldn't have a new dress, I decided to have a new hairstyle...I would put a blond streak in it.  So I washed my hair, rolled it on rollers, and then took yellow food coloring and poured in on one roller up on top of my head.  Back in those days we went to bed with wet hair in rollers, and by morning the hair was dry.  Sure, it was uncomfortable to sleep with wires poking your scalp, but it's what you did to have  good looking hair the next day.

Well, I woke up Sunday morning, and my yellow roller of hair had turned orange!  Maybe that's cool now, but not back in the 1960's!  I also had an orange forehead.  When Mom saw me, she knew I was punished enough just by having to go to church with part of my hair being orange.  What made it even worse, though, was that the orange even had an effect on my white furry hood on my favorite coat.  It was no longer white, but a dirty looking off-white/orange tint.  What a lesson I learned about pride that day!!  Mine was dented big time all because I had to have something new, something different.  I remember my boyfriend laughing and me feeling very stupid.  My hair and forehead washed out in time, but my white furry coat hood was never the same.  What's the Bible verse about learning to "be content"?  I learned my Bible lesson for that day!!

My brother was two years older than me and had his driver's license.  He also had a white convertible.  I don't recall the make or year, but I'm sure it was in the Pontiac line, as Dad only purchased Pontiacs...usually station wagons.  My brother had washed his car, and it looked really good.  It was also a sunny summer day and the roof was down.  I must have had a driver's permit or driver's license also, because for some reason I got in that car and drove it down a road in my father's subdivision...a dirt road.  It had been rainy the previous few days.  I got the car stuck in brother's nice clean white convertible, top down, stuck in the mud.  I am so glad that God erases some memories from our minds.  I don't recall the rest of that story, but I don't remember driving the car again.  So...there's a lesson I learned about "don't covet".  One of the ten commandments.

Eventually I had my first car, a 1957 Chevy.  Old and cheap.  Dad got a good deal on it for me, thus allowing a Chevy in our driveway.  Seniors were allowed to drive cars to school, and I do remember doing that.  I also remember driving down to Battle Creek (about 30 miles away), and getting out on the highway and giving semis the arm motion for them to blow their horns.  I was allowed to take girlfriends with me, and we would go shopping, and then go driving to flirt with the truck drivers...only wanted to get them to blow their horns though.  Teenagers do dumb things, don't you think?  It's like the time to have fun, not to think about the consequences.  I must have had an angel watching over me when I did dumb stuff like that.  I never did get in any trouble...never even got a ticket!

When I was a Junior in high school, a new boy came to our school.  He was a hired hand on a farm north of town, living there to earn his keep.  He had been in trouble at his previous school, and was trying to get a fresh start.  He was very good looking, always smiling and joking around.  Everyone liked him.  He could have dated anyone, and I'm sure he did date others, but he started giving me special attention.  I wasn't anybody special, not in the popular crowd, and the only extra-curricular activity I was involved in was church.  I didn't go to shows, I didn't go to school dances.  I hardly went to the sporting events.  I did join the library club that met during school hours.  So I considered myself a plain jane, nobody worth noticing.

Then Larry started noticing me...and I was thrilled to death!!  It made me feel like maybe I was something special. He asked me out on a hay ride they were having out on the farm, but in order for me to go, my parents said he had to come to church.  He agreed to do that.  He even became regular at church and very popular with the young people and old people alike.  He was just a likable kind of guy.  He always kept people laughing.

That was the beginning of an on-again, off-again relationship between me and Larry.  He still liked to live on the wild side, and couldn't seem to play the game straight.  When he was good, he was in church, he felt called to the ministry, and he led the youth group.  Then he would decide he needed to spice up his life and he would drink and run around and basically live in the streets.  I kept thinking some day he would settle things with the Lord, and we would have a happy life.  However, I spent five years waiting for that.  When I went off to college, I asked him to leave me alone.  I intended to look for Mr. Right, and I knew he wasn't it.  When I came home the next summer, there was Larry.  The next fall I decided to move to Florida with my parents and get away from Larry.

I went to the Community College for a semester, but decided that school was not for me.  I got a job as a secretary/bookkeeper in a small manufacturing plant, and I worked weekends at Burger King.  I was one of the first females to be hired in the fast food chain.  I liked my life, it was meaningful and fun.  Then...Larry shows up.  He decided to move south also.  When Mom and Dad went back north for the summer, Larry and I stayed behind.  I had my first apartment, with a very snoopy landlord.  She would stand outside my window at night and watch me.  She turned her Christian radio on high volume so I could hear it also.  My apartment was the front half of her house, and I'm sure she was concerned about this single girl with a boyfriend.

After that summer I decided I didn't like living in Florida, and Larry and I both went back to Michigan.  Me...back to Mom and Dad's.  Larry...back to his wild friends and ways.  That pretty much sums up my tearful teen years.  I allowed one person to knock me off balance, and I never seemed to have the strength to break the cycle completely.  I spent a lot of time at the altar and at my bedside during those years, asking Jesus to help me, to forgive me, to show me what I should do.  The bottom line was that I allowed my emotions to override my spiritual life and common sense.  However, Jesus was faithful to ride through the storms with me.  He never gave up on me, although I know I disappointed Him many times.