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On a hot summer day in Texas, my fifteen-year-old head buried in a book, as usual, I sat draped over the arms of one of the living room chairs. Mother was cleaning, sweeping and dusting our little three room, shotgun house to assure it remained in its perpetual pristine condition. My single bed sat over in one corner. Glass French doors opened into my parent’s bedroom. How on earth did they ever manage enough privacy to be intimate? Next was the kitchen where Mother cooked up delicious southern meals. Daddy was mowing our small, bright green, St. Augustine grass yards front and back with the old push mower that he had just sharpened with his trusty file. I knew I needed to get up and help Mother shake out the throw rugs or rinse out my undies, but leaving a good book was always hard.

The adventurers in my books took me to exciting places. “Why can’t I have a life of adventure and romance? It happens to others, why can’t it happen to me?” I would think. However, in my small world, I couldn’t imagine how I could ever make that happen. “Just an adolescent dream,” I thought.

So, the first of June three years later saw me walking down the aisle at age eighteen to marry Joe Dunton, the most popular, the most handsome guy at Polytechnic High School in Ft. Worth, Texas. He had graduated the year before. Courting had been sitting in the backyard swing at my house or maybe strolling half a mile to the ice cream store to watch the TVs in the hardware store window while we ate our ice cream. We hung out on weekend dates for a year. Nothing more. I graduated one week and married the next. No, I was not pregnant, just a naïve virgin. I was excited at the prospect of living out my life raising children and cooking and cleaning. Good lord! My grandiose dream was maybe owning a house someday and maybe even a car. But, OH MY, my life has been so much more. I have traveled and had wonderful adventures. Did I set the stage for those things to come about with my youthful question, “Why not me?” I guess not since I had also dreamed of marring a cowboy and living on a big ranch raising horses, cows and thirteen kids and that never came to pass.

As excited as I was as I walked down that aisle (and not to a cowboy) there were those niggling thoughts, “What on earth am I doing? I don’t really know this person. Doesn’t matter, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just walk away,” thus establishing a mind set for the rest of my life.

After twenty-five years of marriage and raising five children, I did walk away. I felt a hundred years old and a complete failure.

If there is one thing I had learned at that point in my life,

I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.

Now, so many years later, here I sit in my beautiful home in Colorado reading a book about someone else’s adventures of course, and thinking about my own.


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