At 19, I was living in a studio apartment on 1st Street South in Minneapolis. I'd left college already and wouldn't go back for another two years. I know, now, that I was depressed but back then I was simply told by my mother that I was irresponsible.
I still smoked.
I had never colored my hair and believed I never would. (Never!)
I did not have pets.
I still believed everything my mother said - about me; about herself; about others.
I was adrift. I had lost my confidence and no longer knew how to make (keep?) a friend. At least part of that was a brief relationship I had with a boy from church who had told me, "I can never be serious with you because of the way your family is." I said nothing, but I went on to love people that looked right on the outside, but weren't right on the inside. Not just because of him; he simply tapped the nail all the way in.
I thought I had to be polite in all situations - whether or not people were behaving appropriately toward me. So I was always trying to get out of the weird situations I'd gotten in to.
I worked full-time as an assistant in 3M's capital equipment purchasing department. I liked the work and I liked to dress up. I made $240 a week. My rent was $400 a month.
My Grandpa died that year. In another year, I'd see my Grandma come alive - the last few years of her life were the happiest I've ever seen her. After a happy weekend together she said, "I don't remember when I've ever laughed so hard. There was always some man around to respect, I guess." That comment has always stayed with me. It gave insight into her life that had never been allowed while my Grandpa was alive. She was 1000 percent against divorce, but interestingly enough I thought of her life and her rare moment of candor when I got mine.
I was writing to my soldier - the one I live with now - but hadn't met him yet. I sent him the photo at the top of the page - but I was probably just 17 or 18 in the photo. I know that it was passed around 101st Airborne (in Kuwait at the time) and that he still has the photo hidden in his toolbox downstairs.