Today is Wayback Wednesday, the day we reach into the archives to pluck out a letter sent years ago during Ellen’s early years in college or when she and her brother were both in school at the same time and thus draining college funds, and parental patience, simultaneously.
A while back someone asked if I would do this same letter thing all over again. It wasn’t a trick question, but there is a two part answer when it comes to the doing and to the way things were done. Answer #1: yes, without equivocation I would write to her/them. Answer #2: I am not sure if I would approach it in quite the same way.
As has been noted in this space earlier, when Ellen darted off to school, I resolved to not let her befall the same fate of loneliness that made the freshman year of many college students – me included – so tortuous. So, yes, a letter was in order. As for how I went about things, perhaps that could have improved. Maybe there could have been longer letters, or letters that contained more lectures or were devoted to single topics. But as with many things involving parents and children, you do the best you can at the time. The period of judgment comes only after the fact. To this day, the letters remain a work in progress. Without exaggeration, a single page can be in the mail only a few minutes when I wonder ‘what could I have done differently?’ That is the penalty of hindsight. And with deep apologies to the great Yogi, most days it feels like deja vu all over again.
As promised, and by custom, here is a letter to Ellen from years ago.
It was good to have you around this past week. Your grandmother and grandparents in Omaha sure enjoyed seeing you. We won’t blame you if you want to stick around Indy for Easter. That drive is a drag.
So now it’s on to job searching. I’d go after every school district within 50 miles of Indianapolis. The reason butler wants you to apply to 40+ schools is that it becomes a numbers game at some point. The more you apply to, the greater the odds of you landing a job. I think it’s a great idea to put yourself on the substitute list. A lot of schools want people with that flexibility and who knows, it could lead to full time work.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but you might think about some schools out of state. It makes some sense that districts try to diversify the colleges they pull their teachers from. Maybe Ohio or Illinois or Michigan districts should be on your target list. You wouldn’t be too far from Indy in that case.
We didn’t do much after you left. Dinner with Holly and Dana on Sat. nite and then it was just sort of resting easy. Worked out Saturday afternoon. It was hard and the mirrors in the bathroom make it clear that there’s a long want to go.
I go to Bend, OR next Tuesday for 5 days of consulting with Rand and Sue ______ and to visit a client out there, ______, that is giving us a free window at the back of the family room. That will save quite a bit of dough. I’ll write about the project as they create and install it.
Bend has a ton of good qualities but we are confused about the potential of investing in a condo or town home there. When would we really have a chance to stay there for any length of time? When it’s nice there it’s nice here, too. And we want to enjoy Des Moines during the nice months. And Florida is okay, but it’s all about gated communities and staying inside your own little cocoon. It’s tough to get insurance because of all the hurricanes, and the state is obsessed with mold in new housing construction and existing homes. And it’s such a conservative state, a little too much so for me. But the weather sure is nice. Maybe Arizona is a good possibility. But it’s crowded down there as well.
I’m really ready to get the Harley out of mothballs but the weather just doesn’t look too promising, at least until the return from Bend. Got a couple of longish trips plotted out for the summer.
Will also go to NY the week after Bend on a junket paid for by some PR firm. They want me to review products and get some hands-on experience with power tools. Right, me and power tools. What a combo. You be good, have fun with your shower, and we’ll see you before much longer.