Visit With Dear Friends

Over fourteen years ago, Sweatiepy and I found out that we were going to be transferred from Ohio (where we had both grown up for most of our lives) to Evansville, Indiana.

My first thought was…”Evansville, where?” I actually had to look it up on a map because I had no idea where in Indiana a city named Evansville could be located.

We were newly married, had just bought our first home and I was right in the middle of going to college to get my degree in Elementary Education. We put our house on the market and somehow sold it for a profit (even though we had lived in it less than a year) and I decided to drop out of school for a semester since it seemed fairly likely that we would be moving right in the middle of the school year.

Fast forward six months and we were living in a cute little starter home we had found, attending a new church where we still didn’t really know anyone, and I was right back into the thick of things at a new college after I worked with my new instructors to get most of my credits transferred.

Since I was continuing with my Elementary Education degree, I began taking many courses like “Teaching Elementary Reading” and quickly found out that most of them required the dreaded case studies…the ones where you had to work with a child who was a certain age and then write up a detailed report concerning the work you had done and your observations concerning what had occurred.

I was completely screwed. I know that sounds bad, but that was all I could think when I found out about the assignment. We had lived in the area for only a few months when the semester started and I knew absolutely no one…not one single person…and certainly no children.

After stewing about the situation for a week, Sweatiepy and I went to church that Sunday and I started scouting out the people who were sitting in the pews wondering if any of them would work out for my case study…I know, I was soooo spiritual, wasn’t I? I was desperate though and finally focused on a family of four that included a mom, a dad and two boys who looked like they might be the correct ages.

I gathered up my courage after the service and approached the mom to try to find a way to ask her if she would mind if I (a complete stranger) completed a detailed case study with one of her children. Talk about feeling like an idiot…

She was super nice, completely friendly and quickly put me at ease…she also agreed to let me do my case study with her oldest son.

And that was the start of a fourteen year friendship with our dear friends, Karen and Carl.
We lived in Evansville for another year and a half before Sweatiepy’s job required us to move again, but our friendship dug in deep roots that lasted through that move and another one several years after that.
It’s been an unlikely friendship in some ways…Karen and Carl were both older than us and at a completely different stage in their lives. Their children weren’t little guys when we met and were fairly independent…Bill and I didn’t have children at all at the time. This made us both free to connect in a way that I would of never thought was possible.
And, Karen is one of the world’s greatest friends and worked so hard to make sure we stayed connected….even when I was in the midst of raising four little kiddos, ages five and under, and completely overwhelmed by life in general. She made sure that we kept connected through emails, phone calls and cards and I have appreciated her friendship so much in my life.

Karen and Carl are now 40-something (or is it 50-something?) grandparents of a beautiful baby girl. And they are hot-rodding around the country from time to time on their hot little motorcycle. When they happen to be going somewhere that might pass anywhere close to our home, they make a point to stop by for a night or two. It’s one of the highlights of our year when they are able to come this way.
The hardest part is saying goodbye. Our last visit was over two years ago and we aren’t sure when the next one will come to pass again. Now that our kids are getting older and more independent, we are hoping that we’ll be able to head out their way now some as well.
Who knew that one lousy, aggravating college project would turn into such a beautiful friendship that would last for so many years? At the time, I was not looking forward to completing that project at all, but what a blessing it ended up being…