There was an article in Sunday’s paper that was an interview between a father and son. I had never heard of either, but I found myself intrigued by the questions that were asked. So I have revised them a little, and I emailed them out to my extended family. So far, four family members have taken the time to email their answers to the family email group. I’ve learned so much. If you would like to share in the “16 Questions Life Review Meme”, just copy the questions and go. Link back here, though, because I would love to read your answers.
Here are the questions and my answers.
1. Who influenced you the most when you were growing up?
Daddy and Mother were the greatest influences on my life - by example more than by words.
2. Tell about your favorite childhood memory.
Lots of favorite childhood memories. Being dressed up in a crepe paper “flower” costume for my kindergarten play of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Yes, I was one of the flowers that Goldilocks passed in the forest on the way to the Bears’ house. I didn’t know at the time that it was a “filler role” because I loved being a flower. Then I was the wicked witch in the “Sleeping Beauty” play in first grade - (”So you didn’t invite ME to the party, EH?!”). Over fifty years, and I still remember my line in that play. I always loved when I lost a tooth and put it under my pillow. The “tooth fairy” would give me twenty-five cents - in the form of a dime under the pillow - another dime and a nickel hidden in other places on the bed - inside the pillow case, between the mattress and box springs - like a scavenger hunt - and it was exciting and fun to me. I ended up elaborating on the idea with my own children - always sending them on scavenger hunts when they lost teeth - with rhymed clues along the way. And it warmed my heart immesnely when Sweet Stuff lost two teeth recently, and Stinkeroo made an elaborate scavenger hunt for her - including the rhymed clues. Isn’t it amazing how things become a tradition?
3. What was the saddest time in your life?
When Daddy died.
4. What was the happiest time in your life?
I remember a time shortly after Scalawag’s birth when we had taken an Saturday morning trip to the North Georgia mountains - Unicoi State Park, I believe - just RT, the kids and me - we spread a blanket out on the ground, and I sat on the blanket holding Scalawag, who was just a couple weeks old, and RT and Stinkeroo were playing along the edge of the mountain stream - and I looked at my little family, the waterfall near us and the mountain scenery - and I felt supreme happiness and contentment. I can still see that image in my mind - as clear as can be.
I also enjoyed parts of my single years very much - I was involved in so many activities and had so many friends. I did things I never dreamed I would do - and I recognized and developed “gifts” that I didn’t realize I had (organizing events, being a leader) and had a great time in the process - the dancing, skiing, snow-tubing, the road trips, the parties. I still keep in touch with some of those friends. And the things I learned about myself during those years have carried on into my life now - at work, at church and in my relationship with RT.
Right now is a wonderful time of my life. RT and I have a good relationship, we’re living in a beautiful house we built ourselves on some of the most beautiful land in the world, and we live near our kids and grandkids, and we have a good relationship with them and see them often.
5. What was the best advice someone gave you?
At RT’s and my wedding ceremony in Alaska in Sept. 2006, the Minister (Michael Michell), read Corinthians 13 - and his entire talk was about love. As part of the talk, he said that love doesn’t get offended - that we can refuse to be offended by little things that will happen in a marriage. That has been the advice that has really stuck with me the past couple years because it is so true and practical.
6. If you are married, how did you know your spouse was “the one”?
I knew that RT was the one I wanted to be with. It is just a certainty that I have.
7. Tell about your favorite vacation - or a trip you’ve taken.
I loved the Mexico Beach trips. I loved the camping trip to D.C. and Cape Hatteras - and what was the name of the place with the COLD mountain stream where we camped one time (Update - SUNBURST, wasn’t it?) Also - the family trip(s) to Callaway Gardens - with the Florida State circus.
Even though this summer will only be the second year that our branch of the family tree has been on a vacation together, Sweet Stuff and Sunshine are already talking about how they can’t wait to go to the beach with all of us. RT and I have made the decision that we will do this every year. We pay for the condo - and the kids buy the food. I’m wondering if our family vacations to Santa Rosa Beach will end up being vacations that Sweet Stuff and Sunshine will remember as being a favorite time in their lives.
My two trips to Alaska have been some of my favorite trips - such a beautiful place. Well, and the three trips to Hawaii were wonderful, too. I’m very fortunate!
8. If you could relive any part of your life, which part would it be?
My children’s baby and childhood years are at the very top of the list. Although I consciously made a point to enjoy Stinkeroo and Scalawag at every stage of their lives - the time still went by much too quickly. My baby boy turns 30 in October this year.
9. Tell about a childhood friend, pet, and/or experience.
Hercules - wasn’t he a miniature pinscher? I don’t remember any other pets. As far as friends - there was Nelda in Rome. In Ellijay I remember Vivian - and although I can remember other names, I don’t really remember anything about the people. So I guess I wasn’t that close to them. My childhood memories are more closely tied to family - especially Debi since we were so close in age. Debi and I played and talked a lot together.
10. How did you choose your vocation?
I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician until I took chemistry in high school. I realized that any profession that required me to learn that stuff was something I didn’t want to be. I don’t remember making a conscious decision to be a teacher - it just seemed like the most natural thing for me to do. I’m glad that’s what I ended up doing. It has been perfect for me, and I feel that I’m making a positive difference in the lives of many children.
11. Of what event/accomplishment in your life are you most proud?
Stinkeroo and Scalawag - that they’re both such wonderful young adults. I’m also very proud that I have such a good relationship with both of them now - and I love the fact that Sweet Stuff and Sunshine love being with me.
12. How have you changed as you’ve grown older?
I really dislike aging - the wrinkles, the sagging, the aches and pains. Seems like there’s always something wrong. Right now my neck hurts, I have a pain in my hip - and my left big toenail is still killing me (from wearing incorrectly fitting shoes on my trip to NYC back in February). So the physical part of aging is a downer. Emotionally and relationally, I’m much more stable & happy - but I’m not sure that makes up for the negative physical stuff.
13. What was your most difficult accomplishment?
I hesitate to write this because I’m sure that most people will think I’m crazy to consider divorce an accomplishment. However, to ME, my two divorces were my most difficult accomplishments. Despite the difficulty and heartache, they ended up being for the best - and while I knew that it was the right thing to do each time, it was a sad and humiliating and unbelievably depressing and heart-wrenching time. While I am ashamed of the bad decisions that led up to the divorces, I am proud (yes, proud) that I had the gumption and the strength to take charge and do what I knew I had to do.
14. Tell about any regrets you’ve had.
My marriage to husband #2 is my biggest regret. Hands down - no doubt whatsoever. Wish I could go back and wipe that entire experience out of my life.
My other major regret is that I’ve spent most of my life obsessed with my weight - and feeling helpless to control it. I wish I hadn’t spent several years taking diet drugs (via the internet) to control my weight - no telling what kind of damage that did to my body - probably will end up costing me a few years of my life.
A small regret - I had the opportunity 7 or 8 years ago to go sky-diving (tandem sky-diving), and I opted out. I wish I hadn’t.
Although sometimes I wish I’d finished my dissertation so I’d have my doctorate, it isn’t something that has held me back or that I would need in my profession now. I wouldn’t want to be teaching at the college level now anyway - So I guess that’s not a major regret - I just hate to have come so close to it and not completed it. (And just in case you want to ask, why not finish it now - it has been over 10 years, all the coursework, the qualifying exams would have to be completely re-done. So the only way to get a doctorate would be to start over from scratch - and I just don’t want it at this point in my life).
15. How do you approach death?
It’s inevitable - and each day I live means I’m one day closer to it. I don’t dread it - I do hope that it is quick and that I am not significantly physically or mentally impaired prior to it. However, it’s out of my hands - and I know I will deal with whatever I’m faced with. I worry about the world that my children and grandchildren are inheriting.
16. What do you want the family to know about you (and/or how do you want to be remembered)?
I hope I’m remembered as a good person. I hope my children and grandchildren will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I loved them unconditionally, and that they were the lights of my life.