The Canaan Years - Leaving

I haven't continued the posts of my memories for awhile

...for a reason.

(This one is a hard one for me.)

Despite the up-and-down emotions of being a teenager, I was basically happy. I loved Canaan and its people. I loved the small town atmosphere where I felt safe and comfortable. I loved the farmlands and fields and woods around us. It was a great place to be a teenager.

I knew something was bothering my father. There is so much a pastor has to bear, which he can't share with others. One evening, he announced that he wanted to move to Bucksport. He wanted to be a part of the church there.

I was shocked and angry. I didn't want to move! I didn't want to go to a new school for my senior year. As much as I despised being different, as pastor's kid in the public school, I didn't want to start over in a new school. I wanted to graduate from Skowhegan High School.

...but I submitted. I knew the routine
and packed up my clothes, books, and memories.

In the middle of packing, my long-haired calico cat, Michelle, had kittens. I had made a "nest" for her in a box, but she didn't want that - she wanted me. I was doing dishes, and she started having them right in the middle of the kitchen floor. I put the "nest" in my bedroom, but she insisted on being on my bed. So I put an old sheet on my bed and let her have them there. I remember a black one being born on the stroke of midnight, so I named him Minuit. Since we were moving, a neighbor offered to take all of them, Michelle and her 4 kittens.

I still had about a couple month left of classes, including my finals, when my parents moved in April. The Ouellettes, a family in our church and my teacher in the Christian school, asked my parents if I could stay with them until the end of the school year. It was such a touching gift to me. They took me in and made me part of their family. Their son even gave up his room and slept on the couch. (I still call them Aunt Nancy and Uncle Norman.)

Harvey was the big brother I never had. Harvey liked teasing me about my boyfriend, who attended Bangor Christian School with him, and I got him back by spraying him with a hose.

Debbie let me tag along like a little sister. Once I could hear her call me, but I couldn't find her. She said she was in the attic, but not the attic I knew of. Finally, by her voice, she directed me to a trap door in her parents' closet. I thought that was so cool and imagined it as a good place to hide runaway slaves. Like a big sister, she listened to my tears and complaints of moving. She read my poem -


As a gypsy I wander; a pilgrim, I roam;
Searching for a common face, yet all alone.
A stranger's a friend, and a friend, a stranger;
Flitting, restless butterfly, all decisions waver.
Oh, to stop and drop my pondered load!
Trudging, stumbling, never pausing, on my endless road.
~ ~ ~

I didn't get as close to their second daughter, Julie. She had been away at college and was only home a couple weeks at the end of my stay. I do remember one time that she nursed a bite on my leg from a dog that chased me on my bike.

I got in "trouble" like one of their kids, too - for leaving a phonograph record out, for forgetting to wipe out the tub, for eating the last date when it was being saved for Uncle Norman's supper, etc.

During my high school years, I used to wait for the bus on the porch of our neighbor across the street, but they were the ones who adopted my cat Michelle. Now I couldn't stand having her look at me through the window. I couldn't make her understand that I was sorry that she couldn't be with me anymore. So I didn't wait for the bus there anymore.

Going to church was strange without my father and my family there. The church called a retired pastor to fill in, until they got a new one. Pastor Victor Dow was a superb preacher. He never went to school past the fifth grade or went to Bible school, but he loved the Lord and knew his Bible. I really enjoyed getting to hear him preach God's Word.

Staying with the Ouellettes was a fun few months. We hung may-baskets and rode bikes to the fire tower. I went to an all-night teen time - candlepin bowling, rollerskating, and singing around a campfire. Aunt Nancy even made a long yellow dress for me for a banquet.

I treasured those last weeks with my few friends and classmates at school. I put my heart into my studies and ended the year with great grades. Our English teacher gave us a final writing project and I wrote three children's stories. (I don't know where they are now.) I hadn't bought a yearbook, but wished I had. One boy in my class let me take his home to sign. I noticed no one else had signed it yet. On the bus home, someone told me that he never lets anyone sign his yearbooks. I would probably be the only one. Wow! I don't even remember what I said, and I wished I had gotten to know him better. It was hard to say good-bye to my classmates and teachers. I didn't want to start making friends all over again.

My very good friend, Debbie Haney, was going to live with our family for awhile. Her family would be driving us to Bucksport. I thanked the Ouellettes for their love and hospitality, climbed in the Haney's truck, and started the next chapter of my life...the Bucksport Years.

(This is when God led Randy into my life!)


Anonymous said...

Thank you.


Yvonne Blake said...

Thanks, Sunny


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