Chapter Five

Leaving Home
When my children were babies, I would lie next to them as they fell asleep and try to imagine where they went before they woke again. They wouldn't know what a minute or an hour was yet, or that 24 hours make a day, or that day would come after night. Did they go back to the place they had just come from right before birth? Maybe they came from god and went back to god in their sleep until the waking world began to take over for good. In a way, it was like this for me leaving home after years of childhood and adolescence on the farm. The awakening was rude, ragged and blinding.

But first I had to complete the last year of being my parents' child at home. It was really their year, 1955, the year I was 16. They carved it out in their imaginations and propelled my little boat through it with great force.

In that year, I was the Student Body Secretary, the Business and Professional Women's Club Girl of the Month, a delegate to the Oregon 1955 Student Council Workshop at the University of Oregon in which I sang in a talent show and returned to organize a "Safe Teen" driving program for our high school, a member of Girls' League, a member of the Rainbow Girls, acted in the senior play, cheered with the Booster Club, and maintained A's and B's in all classes (which included English, Drama-Speech, Biology, US History, Shorthand, PE, and Health), missing school a total of 11 days and never being tardy. I review these facts in the clippings and photos my mother saved, and I find it hard to put this evidence together with the memory of being shy, awkward, taller than most (especially boys), fighting off ferocious acne, and understanding completely that I was not cheerleader material or destined to stroll the halls with the reigning athletes.

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