Wow! It's hard to believe it's already the tenth of the month again. Time seems to be flying by this winter. Maybe it's because we've been snowed in so many times this past month. We missed a full week of school in January, we missed last Friday, and we've been out again yesterday, today, and will probably be out again tomorrow. We have no snow days built into our school calendar, so these days will all be added on to the end of the school year. Bethany will be going to school on her birthday (June 7th) for the first time in her life!
But back to "Ten on the Tenth". I've mulled over several "list" possibilities, and have finally decided on something. In my lifetime, I've lived in twenty-two different houses/dorms/trailers/apartments. Hmmm...even as I type that, it's hard to believe that's actually true. But I sat down this morning, made a list, and actually counted them up. Wow! It makes me tired just thinking about it! Fifteen of those residences have been since Brad and I got married in 1987. In this post that I wrote last March, I went into some detail about those different homes. But today, in "Ten on the Tenth", I decided to make a list of the first ten places I've lived. It's quite possible that this list may not be of interest to anyone but me, so if you find yourself dozing off halfway through it, don't feel bad!
1. I spent the first three years of my life in a home in Crete, Illinois. Since I was only three years old when we moved from there, I would have no memory of that home, except for the fact that my grandparents bought it from us. So, all my early memories of visiting my grandparents are at that house. It was a nice house with a huge yard (although it's probably not as big as I remember it), and I have great memories of many happy, noisy, Persenaire family Christmases spent there.
2. When I was three, we moved to Minocqua, a town in northern Wisconsin. We bought a house there that was on the shores of beautiful, crystal-clear Blue Lake. We spent a lot of time swimming, boating, and playing with our pet ducks. Yes, I said pet ducks. My brother ordered an incubator out of the back of a comic book and tried to hatch some quail eggs in it. The quail eggs were duds, so my dad got us some duck eggs. We kept them for a few weeks in that little yellow incubator, and one day they finally hatched. They were mallard ducks, a hen and a drake, and we named them Waddles and Nickels. Nickels was my duck...don't ask me where that name came from...and Waddles belonged to my brother. Those little ducks thought we were their parents, and followed us everywhere...even waiting for the school bus with us in the morning. The funniest thing was the friendship between those two little ducks and our dog Maggie, a Weimeraner/Labrador mix, who treated them as if they were her own puppies. Once their flying feathers grew in, I guess they figured out there was more to life than hanging out with two kids and a dog, and they took off.
3. When I was about 8 years old, we moved to Phillips, another town in northern Wisconsin. Well, actually we moved to a house that was eleven miles from Phillips, which at a population of 1,500 people was the biggest city in the county. This house was also on a lake, but a completely different kind of lake than Blue Lake. Musser Lake was a brown, muddy, lily-paddy, leach-infested body of water. That didn't keep me from swimming in it, although I actually spent more time canoeing in it than anything else. It was a great lake for turtle-catching, and I could spend hours paddling around in our canoe all by myself, scooping up turtles in a fishing net. Back then, summer seemed to last forever.
4. When I was 12, my parents made two big announcements. One was that our family would be moving to Mountain Home, Arkansas, and the other, far more shocking announcement, was that we were going to be getting a little brother or sister. I was indescribably ecstatic about the latter news, but not so excited about the former. We sold our house on Musser Lake and moved into a rent house for a few months while we were waiting to move to Arkansas. This rent house was an old, two-story farmhouse. I thought it was cool because my bedroom was upstairs. It was while we were living in this house that my baby brother was born in the middle of an April blizzard. What great memories I have of my parents bringing him home from the hospital...I don't think there could have been a more loving and attentive big sister!
5. Like I said, I was not too excited about moving from Wisconsin to Arkansas. I was in seventh grade, I had a "boyfriend", and my parents pretty much dragged me kicking and screaming to Arkansas. I vowed that I would move back to Wisconsin as soon as I was old enough to live on my own. Well, you can see how that worked out. We moved into a pretty house that was in a secluded part of a subdivision. Growing up in the rural north woods like I had, I didn't even know what a subdivision was until then! I soon discovered that if I walked about a half mile through the woods behind my house, I could reach the house of Susan, a girl my age who had a HORSE! She quickly became my best friend and we had all kinds of adventures together...I don't think there were too many nights that went by during the summertime that we weren't spending the night at either my house or hers. We trampled quite a path between our houses.
6. After a couple of years in that house, my parents decided to buy a mobile home park. It was in Mountain Home, but it required us to move so that we could live on the premises. So, we sold our house and moved across town. Owning a trailer park was an interesting experience...we certainly met all kinds of people during those years. This was the house we lived in during my high school years. Lots of good memories here, too...mostly of playing with my little brother, who was a preschooler by this time.
7. After high school, I moved into the dorms at Ouachita Baptist University. I actually lived in two different dorms during my years there, (Flippen-Perrin & Frances Crawford), but I'm just counting them as one residence. I LOVED my years in the dorm. I had some fantastic roommates and suitemates, established life-long friendships, and made some great memories. It was while I was a resident of Frances Crawford West that I fell in love with a boy from El Dorado.
8. That boy from El Dorado and I got married the summer before my senior year and his junior year, and since OBU doesn't have married student housing, we moved into Powder Mill...a government-subsidized apartment complex in Arkadelphia. Our two bedroom apartment was tiny, really tiny, but we loved it. We were young, poor, in love, and just happy to be together. We pretty much lived on deer meat and macaroni and cheese. But we had our own washer and dryer...No more Sunday afternoon trips to the laundromat! Ahhhhh...Good times!
9. After I graduated from OBU with my degree in speech pathology, I got a job working for the Murfreesboro and Amity school districts. Since we now had some actual income, our government-subsidized apartment was no longer an option, so we moved into another apartment in Arkadelphia. This one was a little bigger, and even had a fireplace. And the most exciting part...this apartment complex allowed pets. So, we got our first dog, a black cocker spaniel that we named Mindy. We really thought we were grown up then...a real apartment, a real job, and a real pet. Our next step....graduate school.
10. We briefly took on a house-sitting job in Mountain Home before heading to graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville that fall. We lived in a trailer in a beautiful setting out in the country. Our primary responsibility that summer (besides our jobs and saving money for grad school) was taking care of Dusty, the trailer-owner's obese chocolate lab. Dusty required a daily drive in the car and a constant temperature of 68 degrees in the trailer. Those were good days...life was easy...no studying or paper-writing, no commitments, no responsibility for anyone but ourselves and, of course, Dusty.
I hope this tour of the first half of my life hasn't been too boring for you. Personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thank you for indulging me as I've reminisced. It's been so nice to think back to those times when life was simple, and I had never even thought about the difficult questions of life. I'm so thankful for my happy Christian upbringing...that undergirding is what has enabled me to get through the last three years with my faith intact!