Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Your Turn

I must say I have not missed work one day. I have not missed the meetings, I have not missed the storms (it took about a year to relax when it rained), I have not missed the pressure, I have not missed the obsessive antagonistic attitude one must have in management and I have not missed getting up and staying late. I have missed people.

I am genuinely a people person. I like people. I like quite people, loud people, sweet people, grouchy people, and fat ones, round ones, skinny ones, old ones or young ones. I like people. I like to listen to people talk. I really am interested in another person's story, in why they are where and what they are. This is what Marty taught me, don't just pretend to be interested, be interested; don't just pretend to listen, really listen and understand that our life’s experiences give us a window on who we are. Clearly I married a psychologist.

Most people who have worked with me can attest to my somewhat intrusive nature. I ask questions, sometimes personal questions. I ask not out of a prurient interest but I just like to know you and I get to know you by the stories you tell about yourself. It goes back to the five words I learned from Marty, "how do you feel about that?"

I want you all to try an experiment with us. I don't know everyone who reads my rather verbose ramblings but I have told our story and now I want to know yours. This will scratch an enormous mental itch of mine.

I know some of you are young (relatively), some are older (delicately put), some know Marty and I very well, some may not know us at all, but I want you to take a few minutes and in the comments leave me your story . It can be as long (I'm not sure what the comments character limitations might be) or as short as you want. It can be anonymous or you can use your full name and leave your social security number (not really). What I want to know, what we all want to know is who you are, where you came from, what you do with your life and why.

I read all of this to Marty. I read all of the posting and most of the comments to her. She really likes the blog, it is a way for her to connect to people and that has always been paramount for her and me.

I know she will love to hear your stories. She is like me, a student and lover of people. She’s always been that way and has not changed. All it takes is one of you to start and then others will follow so who will be the first to tell their story. Give it a shot.


vjones said...

Well Larry, it's me Valerie. I'm up right now because I can't sleep but it's too late to take a sleeping pill.

You know I was always forthcoming with my story while I worked for you and I still am. I have to say I feel a vulnerable putting my story out there to people I don't know. Since I think you know my story through the end of my TXU days I'll start where that ended.

I took my severence package and stayed at home with Dale for a year and a half. Because I'm social too I had to find something to do all day. I found an organization called MOM's Club and filled our days with play dates and activities. It was a really fun time but when the money ran out I was pretty ready to go back to work. Dale had started kindergarten too so I had to do something with my days.

I would have loved to have found a job with a local school district to have summers and holidays off with Dale but I couldn't make that happen. I ended up going through a temp agency and getting placed at FWT, Inc. We manufacture steel telecom and utility structures. Funny thing is that one of our biggest customers is TXU. After a few months I got hired on perm and am currently still working there. I'm still doing clerical work but have always refused any administrative assistant opportunities. I just don't think I have it in me to babysit another grown man. Of course I didn't feel that way working for you. You are the best person I ever worked for. That transition into mommyhood is difficult and you always allowed me to make that my priority.

Anyway, I'll try to get back on track. Backtracking a bit but when it was time to send Dale to Kindergarten Craig and I decided we didn't care for the public school he was going to have to go to. We decided to enroll him in a little school called Tate Springs Christian School. My days start off with hitting the snooze button three times too many, making lunch, taking Dale to school, working all day, picking Dale up from day care, cooking dinner or going out for dinner, homework, bath, and bed.

Most weekends we are managing the Jones family ranch in Lampasas. Craig and I have built that business and grown the deer quite a bit over the years. Some very impressive deer have been taken in the last couple of years. That is due to a lot of blood, sweat, tears, money, feed, managing the population, etc. I mostly play a supporting role. Cooking and cleaning for clients. Allowing Craig to be available to tend to the needs of the deer and clients above mine.

We got a boat last summer and spend a lot of time at Joe Pool Lake when the weather is warm. Dale has learned to wakeboard quite well. I have not.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yea, Craig brought home a new Camaro for our 16 year wedding anniversary. It's a real muscle car. Totally hot. I don't remember all the stats but tons of horsepower, 6 speed manual transmission, etc, etc. It's so fast it scares me.

Okay, maybe I can go to sleep now. This isn't so much my life story.... more like the ramblings of a crazy lady who can't sleep.

Miss you.

Matt said...

It's Matt.

You know me pretty well.

I guess better than most. I'm working right now. Rather...I should be working right now, but I'm taking a mental health break.

Work is good, stressful and sometimes challenging, but generally pretty good. I've got good folks working for me, and I work for good folks...I guess that's about all you can ask for.

I really enjoy going home every day....not only to get a break from work, but to see Noah. It seems like he's got a new trick nearly every day.

He's gotten really good at doing "mini-pushups" while on his tummy, and likes to show off.

Yesterday, he managed to get one arm lodged up underneath him just right....and while he was squirming, he rolled himself over onto his side. I was most impressed with his rolling skills, but he...well...wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.


Mark Gaskill said...

Hi Larry, Mark Gaskill here. I won't post too much of my own story here because (a) this is your blog about Marty and (b) because Marty's life makes me pretty ashamed of my own inadequacies. Nevertheless, you asked, so . . .

I've known Marty since I was twelve years old. She was one of my dearest friends in high school. We spent countless hours together in speech and drama classes, band rehearsals and stage productions. We played spades in Bill Slagle's tiny bachelor apartment after school. We sang and played guitar and piano together at her house while Jean laughed merrily and Arty scowled. We drove around in her VW bug drinking Boones Farm Apple Wine. We smooched in the high school stairwell late at night after play practice -- she told me years later that I was her first kiss. Together with Russ, Ben, Randy, Ellen, Helen Ann and Debbie, we comprised the "elite 8" of the DHS class of 1972 -- not so much a clique, just eight friends who loved each other so much.

After high school, we all drifted apart. Marty tried to help me join the debate team when I arrived at Texas Tech in January 1973, but I let her down and had to go to extreme lengths with the help of Spencer Gifts for her to forgive me (ask her if you don't know the story). I dropped out of Texas Tech a couple of weeks later, and that ended what had been so much time together. Fortunately, you came along about that time, and I know that since then, she has had a good life and a good man walking beside her.

I married Kay whom I met my junior year at DHS, and Kay and I are still together after 39 years. We have two wonderful sons. For all intents and purposes, it's been a good life.

But I have been clinically depressed for almost all of it, and each day for me is a challenge to find reasons to live. I marvel at yours and Marty's strength and resolve -- and envy it. That's why I read your blog religiously. If you and Marty can find hope in what sometimes seems to be a hopeless situation, maybe I can find hope in what for me is most often a hopeless world.

When Kay and I visited you two years ago, that was one of the highlights of my life. I still laugh when I remember how Marty wouldn't let go of my hand when it was time for us to leave. As she tightly held on, "jerking my chain" so to speak, I knew the real Marty was still there behind the curtain. Anyway, behind the curtain was another place where Marty and I would smooch in high school. Curtains don't frighten me.

So keep writing, Larry. I told you before, you are one of my true heroes. My love goes out to you, Marty and your whole family. And congratulations on the new grandson. Pictures of him in Marty's arms -- well, that's just good stuff.

Finally, tell Marty I love her and give her a kiss for me. She'll know where.


Marty's Husband said...

Thank you guys for writing -- and Mark -- I asked Marty just yesterday who was the first person she kissed and she said Mark Gaskill. Thanks for sharing your story -- I will be sure and read it to Marty....

Val -- thank you -- it's great to hear from you and find out what you have been doing -- had lunch with Jim Ayres and Dan Butler today--