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October 27, 2011

The Road Taken Meets the Road Not Taken

By Nancy Pickard

Have you ever met yourself coming and going?

Have you ever come face to face with the person you might have been?

I saw one of my other selves this week.

She attended a luncheon with former employees of the Western Auto Company that used to be headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.Westernauto

I'd agreed to be their guest speaker, never realizing I'd meet another version of myself there.  Okay, she was only in my imagination, but she felt very real to me.  While I stood at the mic, she sat at a table with the other retirees, looking at me.  It was eerie.  I never found out her last name.  Maybe it's still "Wolfe," as mine was back then.

She--my other self--started working for Western Auto in 1972, which I did, as well. But she stayed there until she retired with full benefits, while I quit after three years.  She earned a nice pension, that other Nancy, and health insurance.  She had paid vacations and holidays; she had weekends off and the other perks employees used to receive.

When the time came to make the choice to stay or go--when she and I grew restless there--she chose to stay for the pension, the salary, the security.  At the time, I called such benefits "golden handcuffs" and I threw those shackles off! 

There have been hard times since then when I've thought she was wise to wear them.

Tworoads
Because she stayed, she never met a cattle rancher and married him and changed her name to Pickard--which she would spend the rest of her life telling people how to pronounce.  ("It's like the captain in Star Trek.")  She never fell in love with the Flint Hills of Kansas, never knew a cowboy, never held a milk bottle for a blind and orphaned calf, never watched lightning silhouete cattle on a hillside in the dark.

The Nancy I saw yesterday never had a son named Nick, or if she did, he isn't my Nick.  She may have her own children--I didn't find out.  I don't know if she married, or how often.

She'd envy me, if she knew the son she doesn't have.  Nickski(See skier photo.) He's taking me to dinner next Monday night, and she won't be there.

She didn't leave Western Auto and become a freelance writer, which led to becoming a poet, and then a short story writer and then a novelist. She never wrote a book.  Never got a good review or a bad one, except performance reviews at Western Auto.  Never got to be part of a revolution in an entire literary genre. Never met incredible writer-women who became her dearest friends. She may have her own fine friends, may have done greater things than I ever dreamed of doing.  I don't know.


I heard that she travels now, for pleasure, a lot more than I do, but she never took off for Europe, back then, with her boyfriend.  She didn't save her money during her last year of work at Western Auto so she could spend months with him in Europe after she quit.  She didn't get her heart broken by him and then feel it healed again by the art and wine and food and beauty all around her.  She didn't feel as if she'd been walloped by something larger than herself the first time she saw The Winged Victory in the Louvre in Paris, and she didn't sit on the steps beside it and bow her head, shield her face, and weep.

She has a nice smile.  But I don't know that we'd pick each other out in a crowd to be friends.  It doesn't sound as if we have a lot in common. 

Maybe it was only my imagination--or maybe I'm justifying the choice I made that she did not--but she seemed to me to have sadness at the back of her eyes as she listened to my speech about the writing life.  She laughed at some of my jokes, but at other times she drummed her fingers restlessly on the tablecloth.

Afterwards, she came up to buy a book.

"I started out as a writer," she told me.  "I have a journalism degree, and I worked as a reporter for a couple of years.  But I don't have any imagination; I could never have written novels, like you."

"You never know," I said, not knowing how to tell her that if she'd made my choice, she'd still have waited seven years for stories to start to come to her.

She didn't reply to my glib answer.

"Shall I sign this book to you?" I asked her.

"Would you?  My name is Nancy, too."

So I signed, "To Nancy, With best wishes, Nancy Pickard."

I handed her the book, and then I watched her walk away, continuing her journey on the path I didn't take.  Autograph

 

 

  Arrows When two roads have diverged in your life, which one did you take that made all the difference (as the poet says)? Have you ever met that "other" self?

 

 

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Comments

Ohhhhhhhh, wow, Nancy, this has opened a floodgate of memories...:) I'm gonna keep my mouth shut on this one, but I will say, yes, I've met my Other; he took the career path I was intended to, but his personal life is *quite* different from mine, one of multiple divorces and a child with each wife (5 total). Multiple divorces are amusing when it's Leroy Jethro Gibbs doing it. In real life, it's kind of horrible to see.

So...... no. No 'trade-sies'....:)

Oh, Nancy, I thought this idea was so wonderful when you posted about doing it on Facebook but now ....

This made me tear up.

William, I thought it might open some floodgates. It sure did for me. I felt kind of gobsmacked, in fact. But as for your other self. . .I totally understand how it might not be appropriate for "trade-sies." :) Sometimes discretion is the better part of memory!

Aimee, thank you. I teared up, too!

Good morning, all, and especially to any shy lurkers out there. If you feel like it, come on in and introduce yourself. "Any" self. :)

Nancy, a writer you are, and a writer you were meant to be. I also teared up.

One of my best friends, a guy I've known for more than 35 years, did not get married until he was in his late 40's; his wife was 10 years younger than we are. They dithered about whether or not to have children for awhile, and Mark came to talk to me about how to make a decision. They were afraid they would miss out on something if they chose to let the slowly closing window of opportunity pass them by.

They're glad they had their daughter now, even though he was 50 and she was 40, but my advice to them was that it didn't matter one way or the other. Either path would take them someplace, and they could still be happy either way. And they would not know the difference.

I had the chance to see what one of those road choices would have been, about 18 years ago. Like William, I'm ever so glad I chose the turn I did. Things work out the way they're supposed to, don't they?

What a handsome son you have, Ms. Pickard!

That is a beautiful essay, Nancy (and yes, some tears reading it). My life has zigzagged through several careers and relationships, and I also have a very fine adult son - two of them, actually - from one choice I made. It turned out to have been the wrong choice of mate, but look at the jewels we produced. And that ex-husband was the one who said to me, 18 years ago, "Why don't YOU write a mystery?" Which started me on this crazy writing path that makes me so very happy.

Edith

Why, thank you, Ms. Karen! I think he's pretty cute.

A friend of mine once approached me in that same fashion years ago, about having a child late in life. She says she decided to do it because of what I said, which is SCARY. Now we both shudder and tear up to think of their life without their wonderful daughter. That's a case where I think they really are much, much happier with the road they took.

Edith, my ex-husband did a lot to make my current writing life possible, and I'll always be grateful to him.

Well, thank goodness. But I didn't want to be the cause of either happiness or unhappiness!

My brother, who is gone now, was five years younger than I, and he often called me for advice. When he made a really bad decision later he cited as the reason for it a piece of advice I'd given him, hoping to console his broken heart: "There's a lid for every pot, and some pots have more than one lid."

After that, I was a bit more circumspect when asked to advise!

Karen, I'm sure that was hideously traumatic for him, but I gotta say your advice is really funny and actually quite good. Or sounds good now, anyway. I don't think I gave my friend actual advice; I think it was more along the lines of sharing my own experience with having a child, and I didn't dream she'd ever after say it made that much difference! Gulp. Glad it turned out well!

I love this I adore this, and it made me cry. Sometimes I forget how important it is to me that I did take this road, challenging as it has been.

Nancy, I've often (well, now and then) thought about the roads I didn't take. Looking back there were three points where I made a change that took me off in one direction and I could just as easily have done something else (being me - I was always making a change) ... but, the weird thing is that those other roads would have all led right to where I am now.

It's not that the roads I took were wrong ... they weren't. But the path I took to get here meandered all around ... not quite to Europe :( ....

Anyway, I often wonder what things would have been like if back in early 1976 (when I made the first of my meandering choices) I had come back here and taken that Library job....

A certain fella was going to start working at that same library a few months later ....

Hmmm.

Lovely column, and yes, I often wonder, when I visit the old stomping grounds. But for all the bumps and pains along the way, I wouldn't change where I am today with what might have been.

Thank you for the memory nudge!

I once wished that heaven would be a big theater, where I could ask the man in the booth to show me what my life would have looked like had I chosen this road instead of that one. Then I'd sit back and watch my other life unfold. I could spend eternity doing this, I'm sure, picking road after road. But then I realized heaven is supposed to be a positive place, and maybe watching those films would make me sad - about the tragedy I experienced, or the joy that I missed.

Life is full of what ifs. And I agree, there are times when I wish I had taken one of those other paths. But I'm happy where I am today; there's no guarantee that those other paths would have taken me to a better place; and I wouldn't have a wonderful friend like you.

I'm SO glad you chose the paths you did, NP, because I get to read your beautiful words!! xo

I talk to my (widowed) mother almost every day, and the subtext of our conversations is always about what things will be like when I'll move back to that small town where I grew up (and where she still lives.) She keeps telling me when nice houses come up on the market, who my neighbors would be. I left that road long ago and haven't looked back, but she's still looking for me!

What a great glimpse of life choices--and we're so glad that you were Western Auto's loss!

Tears here too. I often think of decisions I made that I regret, and where I would be if I had done things differently. Especially my first husband. But then I look at my daughter, who is a beautiful person inside and out, and decide it was meant to be that way.

This reminds me of one of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs, which says, "God Bless the broken road, that led me straight to you." :)

Like Nancy M., I also think of this when I see my siblings who stayed in our hometown and never knew living anywhere different. They have a very narrow view of some things. I think moving to a different place has helped me get perspectives I never would have seen - I've had this discussion with one of my sisters who also moved away, to Nashville and then NC, and she totally agrees. It's odd to go back "home" sometimes, and see how so much is still the same.

Thanks for the very insightful and thought-provoking post, Nancy.

Barbara, it brought it home for me, that's for sure. And thank you.

Katiebird, I wonder if we'd still have met through politics. We certainly would never have had website fun together. Speaking of which, see you in a little bit!

Nancy, that's interesting. In a way, because of the strength of her desire and imagination, your mother is living a life in which you are there again.

Linda, at least I know I'd have known you anyway!!

Laura, one change I've never made is to live somewhere else, and I do think I've missed out on some healthy perspective I might have gained from that. But maybe I can still do it, someday.

Cyndi, you're welcome! I think I *would* change some things along the way. . .although I'd have to think them through, really really carefully to be sure that by doing that I didn't also alter something down the road that I'd regret changing.

Beth, what a great idea. Maybe it wouldn't have to take that long to watch all those lives. According to people who've had Near Death Experiences, they see their entire lives in a flash. We need a flash drive? Yuk yuk.

Nancy, you are a blessed and sacred writer in my opinion.
When I was growing up I suppose my friends were mirror images of each other.
The career choices, the marriages, the settling down was the rigueur.
However, a man I met cracked open the mirror and beckoned me to a life that I could not ever envision for myself.
I was swept away to America and have lived a life journey beyond my dreams. He took me to Disneyland, Mexico, Britain and France.

I have only gratitude for the life that I have been given.

My early dreams would have led me to be a teacher. However both my girls are teachers and so I have fulfilled that dream through them.
Meeting the people here at TLC has been a blessing beyond compare.
God bless everyone!

One road not taken in my life would have led to living away from southwestern Ohio, where I've lived my entire life. But all three of my kids chose that path, so I can live elsewhere through them.

Wonderful, thought-provoking essay. I was fired from my well-paid newspaper job for insubordination. People urged me to put on the 'golden handcuffs' and stay. It's scary sometimes to be without that weekly paycheck, but I still feel I made the right decision. I have a great deal of creative satisfaction in my life as a novelist. As for the newspaper business -- it's gone down the tubes. Those golden handcuffs were made of lead.

I just queued up Ooh La La by Faces, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--HaFAtC17U&noredirect=1 "I wish that I knew then what I know now..."

I have always gone with living with the choices I have made. Would I have made different ones knowing how they turned out? Probably. I have always looked at it as their would have still been ups and downs, only different ones. Maybe reading Slaughterhouse Five in high school was one of those choices I should have made differently. It does offer a different perspective of time.

I did get a glimpse of my future once, met my future, if you will. I was working the overnight shift for Steak n' Shake. I met the regular night manager. He was 100 pounds over weight with high blood pressure. He had an ex-wife and a strip club habit. He looked ten years older than me, he was two years younger. I picked up the want ads the next day and was gone in a month.

A few people have commented on being older parents. I am one. Molly was 38 when princess one was born, I was 39. Other than my father dying before he had a chance to enjoy being a grandfather, I don't regret being an older dad. I save being strict for important stuff. I know what the important stuff is. I love being daddy.

This year was the first time children have called me the Princesses grandfather. A few adults have, some of them, older than me. For the girls classmates it is understandable. Many of them live with their grandparents. Some of their grand parents are my age. So it goes. (Hi Billy Pilgrim.)

Several of my high school classmates are also elementary parents, and a few are college parents. Being an older dad does lead to an interesting philosophical question: "Is she still a MILF if she is ten years younger than you?"

Oh, Nancy, this is so poignant.

I can think of many things that almost happened, jobs I almost got, men I loved who almost didn't leave, but there was never a fork in the road that said, "Harley, what's it gonna be? Go right, or go left?" It seems that all my parallel universe choices were either made by someone else (cast her, marry her, don't cast her, don't marry her) or else complete no-brainers because something in my gut was screaming at me, and I always listened.

The other Harley is Little Susie Kozak, who finished college and then maybe went to law school or went into journalism or art history, and had kids early and stayed in Nebraska and now she's a grandmother. But I hardly know her at all. She has a different heart and soul. She's been married for 30 years to the same guy, and hasn't ever been out of the country; she's saving that for the golden years. And she may have a drinking problem, but we don't talk about that.

Beautiful post.

Being the sort of guy I am, I've met two versions of my other self.

One is a guy I grew up with from first grade through high school. He recently retired after 30 years with a major insurance company. He and his wife have four children. He stayed in our hometown. He's a bit more physically fit than I am. He hasn't traveled much and he votes Republican. The most exciting thing he's probably ever done was drive down the coast for a vacation in San Diego. He attends church regularly. He's clean shaven, balding and the kind of guy people pretty much forget about 5 minutes after he leaves the room.

If I woke up in his situation, I'd jump off a cliff.

The other me is also a friend and a former business partner back in the mid to late 1970s. He has plenty of money, travels all over the world, has three kids by two wives and seldom sees any of them. He is much more physically fit than I am, but deaf in one ear and pretty much completely bald. He spends many of his nights with an assortment of young hotties and his days sleeping. He never lives in the same place for very long, due to his work. He has few real friends. He almost certainly sleeps within arm length of a couple of guns and a few knives. He has sworn he'll retire at 60, but he also said that about 40 and 50. He's a charming guy that is well liked by everyone who meets him.

I'd be very tempted to trade with him, but end the end, I'd pass it up. I'm ok with being the me that chose to go off road every so often.

There's probably yet another me out there, but I'd be terrified to meet him.

"IN the end" Stoopid fingerz.

I loved this and really needed to see this.

Nancy P, you brought me to tears!

I have made a few decisions that I've regretted. I spent years regretting those decisions. In recent years I have finally realized that although the decisions may not have been the right ones, I made the best decisions that I knew how to make at that time.

I had originally written a longer post, giving some examples but I decided that I didn't really want to dwell on them! Although I hate the saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", I've done it, and have ended up making really good friends, have been able to overcome some fears, and look forward to continuing to do things that would have scared me a few years ago!

I'm so grateful for everybody's comments. I will respond to each when I get back to a real keyboard.

You have brought tears to my eyes; I do so like your writing. My major choice that changed my life from the "other me" was my divorce. The marriage was going nowhere, there was a lot of acrimony, I was working to get my license as a therapist, and my husband wanted me to stop everything I had worked for and get a department store job so he could do what he wanted. He felt it was my turn to support him. (I'm simplifying). I had had enough of how I felt, and how I was, and asked for a separation. It's been a heck of a ride, highs and lows, and I got older, but I cherished my work, and the wonderful people I met along that road. I continue to study and I'm a pretty good therapist, I'm told. I'm approaching 70, and have some good friends, and I've never regretted my choice. I was sorry about my kids, but they're doing well. And in the quiet times, I have my blogs and books to read. Thank you so much for what you give.

Nancy, your comment reminded me of a conversation my mother shared with me long after I moved back to Missouri from my "ten winters" in Minnesota. Right after my cousin, an only child, died, my Aunt Paula said that she wished he had instead moved away as I had. My first response was "well, of course she would because he would have visited as I did," but now I'm thinking that perhaps my move away was harder on my parents than I thought, and she may have been reflecting that . . . Mom never made me feel bad about it while I was away, but she clearly loved having me back.
My decision to teach was made in kindergarten (wonderful, inspiring teacher) but sidetracked by a lack of teaching jobs in 1972. The detour through Prudential taught me office organization skills and then sales skills, both useful when I finally got to teach in 1980. Many storytelling friends gave up secure work (teacher, librarian, park ranger) to tell full-time, but I enjoyed teaching (mostly) and am grateful to have pension and group health . . . and all those classroom memories.

I took the Air Force Officer Qualification Exam with a friend on a lark and did quite well. I was teaching middle school (not the age for me) at the time and seriously thought about joining but my eyesight would have prevented me from being an officer so I stayed wiih teaching. Later as the Viet Nam war dragged on they changed the requirements and I would have qualified as an officer. By that time I had moved to STL and was teaching HS math and loved it. I heard from recruiters for several years until the war finally started winding down.


I've often wondered what would have happened had my eyesight not initially disqualified me. I have no regrets but wonder sometimes how my life would have been different had I joined the Air Force.

My mom always worried that I hadn't married but she told me many years later that of all us kids (I was the baby) she worried about me least because she realized I could take care of myself. Still she never gave up hope that I would someday marry. lol

I started on the writing road only having tramped on the psychologist road for quite a long and happy time. I think my need to be useful overrode my need to be creative. I've seen and done a lot along the way. Nobody is stuck to one road when there are so many ways to turn along the way.

Nancy - when I looked at the schedule on Monday of the upcoming blogs and saw that you were on for Thursday, I knew it would be something interesting. You always get us thinking. I've always had this idea that in life everyone should have gotten one "do over" - don't know why God didn't think of that! I try not to be a couda, shoulda, woulda person because I think everyone has things they would change. I've always felt that compromise is something that people just don't understand anymore. Thanks again for a great post.

OK, I know this will probably sound outlandish, but heh, it is me, after all. And it's all true:

I was on the set at MGM in Culver City one day - long ago - I was a teenager. The teenage Richard Dreyfuss had been chasing me around the set for two days, "Please, please, please come see my trailer." I was sick of it.

I had a meeting later that week with Stanley Shapiro and Martin Zweiback about the lead role for a TV movie called ME NATALIE. They told me it was down to three actors Patty Duke, Patty McCormack, and me. Stanley said, "If Patty Duke or Patty McCormack don't want the part it's yours."

That was the story of my professional life to that point. I had a vision of myself being chased around the set by every Dickie Dreyfuss in town, and directors and writers would forever be saying, "If Patty Duke and Patty McCormack don't want the part it's yours."

It was a one of those moments, and I thought, "Do I really need that?" I called up my roommate's hugely handsome brother and asked him to pick me up in Culver City, "Hi Scout, I'm grounded from riding my motorcycle until filming is done Care to give a girl a ride home?"

Patty Duke wanted the part. She did a fantastic job of it. I married Scout (Step), my roommate's brother and went to college.

PS to Patty, Patty, and Richard:

I am very happy for you, more for Patty and Patty. Richard you were cute but a little too . . . um . . . lively for me. And Scout had a Volvo P1800.

-Muffin

I'm lucky enough to have gotten a 'do-over' in my choices as I've now been five years with the guy I sent the "Dear John" letter to 45 years ago.

Isn't changing our minds a prerogative?

Marie, blessing right back to you!

Elaine, "those golden handcuffs were made of lead." And they chafed, too. I'm so proud to know someone who was fired for being insubordinate at a newspaper of all places. That's what newspapers are supposed to be!

Alan, that is a great story of making a decision on the spot. As for being an older parent, I had Nick when I was 38, too, and am so glad it was then, and not earlier. (Or later.)

Harley, that's really interesting that there was no conscious fork in the road at any point. I wonder if Suzie had any.

Thank you, Sheri.

Doc, I'm really glad you're not any of those other guys, and that you're the you you are, so to speak.

Heidi, I love when it happens that our attention lands on something at just the right time. I will always think that I wrote this for you!

Deb, I think one of the best excuses for growing old(er) is to do things I used to be afraid to do.

Lil, thank you. That was a lovely thing to say.

Storyteller Mary, you got do be a storyteller AND keep the the perks of employment? Ohhh, that's nice.

Diana, your story hits home with me. I was accepted by the Peace Corps but didn't go. They wanted to send me to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language. I used to regret my decision, but now I think it was a good thing I didn't go. That would have been in the late 60's, and I think I wasn't mature enough to handle the revolution from the front lines.

Warren, isn't it about time for you guys to come home? :)

Donna, thank you! "Do overs." That is a great idea and would make a cool blog post: "If you could do one thing over, what would it be?" Also, God? Listen to Donna.

Reine, you are the most interesting woman!!!
(I thought RD was gay!)

Wow, Holly, that is cool. I didn't know that.

Very timely post, Nancy, as I've just recently been thinking about this subject in my own life, and possibly as the basis for my NaNo frenzy this year!

I'm pretty happy with the long winding sometimes bumpy roads I've taken, but it's always interesting to ponder 'what-if?'.

Holly, I love stories like yours, and changing our minds is most definitely a woman's perogative!

Richard? No, I don't think so. I think a lot of people might have thought so, because he wasn't drafted during Vietnam (before the lottery and the new sexuality acceptance), but he was a conscientious objector. That I am pretty sure of. He's been married a few times and has, I think three, children with his first wife. When I worked with him he was tremendously energetic, wore me out to be in the same room with him. I've since read that he has bi-polar disorder.

I might sound interesting on paper, but I am really pretty boring. Ask my family.

Update: Miss J had her surgery and is home. How is it they do that? Let people go home day after graft surgery? She is happy to be home, but I - of course - worry. Really what is this with going home next day? It wasn't a toenail removal or a freckle wash!

Very nice, Nancy, and thought-provoking.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still waiting for the right road.

Nancy, a young man I grew up with (he was about 5 years older than me)joined the Peace Corps and went to Thailand to teach English. He had only been there a few weeks when he was electrocuted turning on a light switch. That would have been around 1965 or so. He was a really sweet guy. His youngest brother was about my age so we were in college together. He was a twin and also had an older sister. For some reason I keep thinking he trained for the PC at Mizzou but maybe that's where he learned about it.

Wow Reine-you certainly are a most interesting person. Would you be interested in being friends on facebook. I'm not exactly sure how to do it, but I'd like to try. Sorry, all you guys for the hijack-Lil Gluckstern

Sorry for hijacking, but I need Lil for a friend: Lil, you bet I would. Check FB in a few.

Nancy,

What a beautifully written post. It also made me tear up. I've been fortunate, I haven't met my Other self yet. If I did, she'd be living in New York working as an editor/writer - or perhaps a fashion designer, had I taken a detour. I didn't have the guts to follow my dreams early ... but better late than never.

Nancy
Chick Dick Mysteries

Oh, gosh, Diana, talk about there but for the grace. . .I would have been there in 64-65, and I applied for it while I was at Mizzou. Poor guy.

[Nancy and Everyone, so sorry again for hijack. Please forgive.]

Lil, I've requested to friend you on FB. All you have to do is "accept" my request.

So glad you are the True, Unique: Nancy P.,the Best.
Very moving post.
I'm kind of marginal and never met my straight other self. I know her life wouldn't interest me.

Diana, I'm glad you didn't go. I had too many friends go and come back too changed. Two never made it home.

Lynn. . NaNo. . .now there's a truly conscious decision to take a fork in the road, whether it turns out to be a month long or more. Best of luck with it this year!

Reine, so glad your daughter's out of surgery, and may her recovery go beautifully. Why do they do it? Cause the insurance companies tell them to.

Ramona,sometimes it takes a long time. I always feel sorry for young people who feel pushed to choose their life's work before they can even begin to feel their way along many wrong paths, much less fumble to the right one.

Nancy, thank you, and Yes! to better late than never. If you weren't ready, then you weren't ready, and that was the right thing to know, too, I suspect.

Lil & Reine, what a sweet hijack. <3


Reine,
So when are you going to publish your memoirs?!

Thanks for the update on your daughter. When I was driving home I was thinking that I would ask you about her tonight if you dId not mention it first. And my gosh-she should have been allowed at least two or three more nights in the hospital!

Nancy and all you other Tarts: Thank you for this forum. It is so gratifying to be able to exchange thoughts with people who respect each others ideas. It would be wonderful to have this opportunity in person -although it's quite likely that I would sit off in a corner by myself,trying not to be noticed!
(Or maybe not. One person I work with likes to reminisce about "How nice it was" when I used to be quiet and didn't express any opinions. The thing is: she's not joking!)

Deb, thank you. Memoirs. Maybe just here in real form - mostly fictionalised in book (not nearly as good or interesting as, but similar to Cornelia's way).

Yeah, I'm still shaking my head about the hospital releasing Miss J so soon. It may be her choice???

Ah....most of my "others" have children...that's the crossroads. Yes or no. It was a very very tough choice. And ou wonder--did I MAKE the choice?

Fantastic thoughtful question...and how many of us...don't regret? I don't...not a bit.

Reine, I also lost friends and had some who were never the same after they returned. My nephew's ex b.i.l's remains were just found recently and buried at Arlington this month after 42 years.

I was so young and naive then I'm sure I would have been changed forever too.

I'm so glad your daughter is doing ok.

Nancy, Lloyd was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned teaching English in Thailand. His family all belonged to the same church as me. I figured it had to be about the same timeline as when he was there.

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The Breast Cancer Site