Watching the kid get married

Reblogging this because it’s one of my favorites…

I met Ginny when she was 12. I was exactly 10 years and 9 days older. She had long brown hair and lived in a stack of bricks that functioned as government housing in the middle of Kansas. I’d moved to town a few months ago for my first job as a newspaper reporter and was looking for a friend.

There she was, in a pile of applications to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

She’d barely smiled for the Polaroid. Her questionnaire answers were bizarre, irreverent, winking at this entire match-making process. The only truth in the paperwork was that she liked to read and write. This was a strange kid. I couldn’t wait to meet her.

We went to Pizza Hut that first night. She wanted pepperoni, I think. Maybe I made that decision. She barely said a word, just stared at me from across the booth. She ate shyly, chewing behind a napkin. I asked her a bunch of questions, and the answer was almost always a shrug. She looked at my work pants and my thick black pea coat and determined that I was a boring grown-up who talked too much.

I drove home that night feeling old, wondering if I’d made a mistake.

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I accidentally stole from the elderly

My first Christmas card wasn’t meant for me. It arrived in a white envelope on Dec. 13, 2001, with a Santa stamp and a wreath on the return label. It was addressed to a woman named Mayme.

Edwin of Missouri needed to update his records. I’d lived in my place — the first on my own — for three months. No Mayme in sight. I put the letter on my desk and planned to send it back to him the next day.

And then I forgot about it. Completely. Didn’t send it back to Edwin, didn’t track down Mayme. That letter sat there on my desk until the snow melted.

Maybe I should have sent it then, in the spring, but I didn’t. In fact I hauled that card around for years, from Kansas to Michigan to Ohio, five moves in all. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. Once in awhile I’d find it and wonder about Mayme and Edwin and think about what a bad person I was for not sending that card back.

It got worse when I finally opened it.

Continue reading “I accidentally stole from the elderly”