Hi, my name is Hoosier Girl.
This is the story of my life, at least the first half. So, grab a comfy chair, settle in, and let me introduce myself:
I was born in a small town in Southern Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, where I still live. My parents still live in the house they lived in when they brought me home from the hospital 42 years ago. My dad was a high school teacher back then, and he later became a high school guidance counselor. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but she also kept the books for the very small school system credit union, which later grew into a full-time job when I was older. I have a brother, who lives nearby. He's not married, and no, he's not gay. I have a sister, who IS married to her husband Joe, and has 2 sons, my nephews Will and Tyler.
I went to a small Catholic grade school. The street I grew up on was a dead-end street and most of the kids went to the same school. I wasn't "popular" but I wasn't unpopular either. I was somewhere in the middle. I got good grades and did well in school. My favorite teacher was my 4th grade teacher, Sr. Marian. She was young and pretty and had really long hair under her habit. She played the guitar and sang and reminded me of Maria Von Trapp. She taught me to play the guitar when I had her in the 4th grade. My grandmother (my mother's mother) was a teacher, too, in Louisville, and I used to visit her classroom when my school was out. She helped me do all my school projects. It wasn't until I was a lot older that I found out that everyone's grandmas didn't drill them in their multiplication facts when they went for a visit.
In the 7th grade I went to a public Jr./Sr. high school, the one where my dad worked. Yes, I was a "teacher's kid." I was a good student, took all the advanced classes. I was in plays, in the choir, and in National Junior Honor Society. I only got in trouble twice in high school - once when I got caught kissing in the lockers, and once when I skipped half a day of school on "Senior Skip Day". I know, a real rebel. My first boyfriend was in the 10th grade, his name was David. He was a shop geek. My next boyfriend was from a neighboring high school - Greg. But the best boyfriend I had in high school was Bill. He was tall, cool, and popular, and he played in the pep band. We were nominated for King and Queen of the Valentine Dance our Senior year, but he broke up with me before the prom. It was my first heartbreak. I ended up going to both my junior and senior proms with guy "friends". Yuck.
After high school, I went to Ball State University, which is in Muncie, Indiana. Muncie is home to Garfield the cat, and David Letterman. There is literally nothing there except the university, but it was a fun place to go to college. I was in the elementary education program. I know, big surprise there. My freshman year one of my professors tried to convince me to switch my major to English, but my dad talked me out of it. He said it wasn't practical. There have been a lot of times when I wish I hadn't listened to him. I always wanted to be an English teacher, or a writer at a newspaper. Oh well, I DO like teaching.
In the spring of my freshman year, I met J., who later became my first husband. We dated all through college, although we broke up briefly my senior year. ( I know, I know, I HAD my chance!) I did date a couple of other guys here and there, but mostly it was just him. After college, I started teaching in South Bend, which is in Northern Indiana. It was a fun place to be single with a salary - my best girlfriend and I went into Chicago all the time. I miss those pizzas, and the shopping!
A year after college, I got married. Big mistake. I thought I was supposed to get married. I thought I was a failure if I didn't follow the traditional timeline. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? I can't say that it was bad in the beginning. I suppose I DID love him, although it's hard to remember now. We both wanted the same things - a house, a family, but we were more like brother and sister to me. We moved several times for his work and finally ended up here, back in my hometown.
Of course, me and my immature traditional timeline coupled with my love of babies required that we start a family as soon as possible. Unfortunately, God had other plans. My first 2 pregnancies were miscarriages. The first time I was stunned. The second time I was heartbroken. Finally, after 3 years of marriage, we had Joseph. It had taken what seemed like such a long time to get him, that I insisted we start trying right away for another one, so there wouldn't be a huge gap between our children. There wasn't. I got pregnant right away, and Rachael was born 19 months later.
So there I was with 2 children under 2. I had been teaching part-time since Joseph was born, but after Rachael was born, I quit completely. We couldn't really afford for me to quit, but we had our house, so I babysat one or two kids during the day to make ends meet. It was a good time in my life. I loved being home with the kids. We joined a playgroup, we went to story hour at the library, we were home every afternoon for nap time. I decided that if we were going to have any more kids, we should just go ahead and have another one, so he/she would be close in age to the other two. Joseph was 4 1/2 and Rachael was almost 3, when Daniel arrived. What a houseful I had!
For several years, I babysat kids and stayed home with mine. When Daniel was 2, I got pregnant again, which ended in another miscarriage, so I figured we were finished. When the kids were 8, 6, and 4, I started substitute teaching part-time to "get back in the swing of things". We planned for me to go back to full-time teaching and a salary when Daniel went to kindergarten. But, surprise, surprise, when I was 35 and the kids were 9, 7, and 5, I found out I was pregnant again. Aaron was born on Valentine's Day, 2000.
Looking back, I can divide my life into 3 parts: before 30, after 30, and after the divorce. Before 30, I was having and raising babies, being a stay-at-home mom, kind of oblivious to the world around me. When I was 30, something happened to me that changed my focus quite a bit (a story for another time, perhaps) and I started to grow up. I was still home with the kids, focused on the house and family, but my perception of the world and my place in it was changing. I always said that it was at that point that I started to grow up and my ex-husband didn't. This is why I am in awe of some of the people I know who are in the late 20's or early 30's and they are so responsible and aware. I didn't come to that kind of maturity until much later.
This is where I'm going to stop Part 1. Part 2 will tell about life with 4 kids, me going back to teaching, and life up to, during, and after the divorce. Much more interesting stuff. Thanks for reading along. More later.