Friday, August 7, 2009

How It All Started, part three

When last I wrote I had just fed my favorite firemen worms! Well, after that I was much more careful about my baking projects. I NEVER brought cherry pie again! lol
I did make a lot of brownies though and an occasional rhubarb crisp.

Over time I got more comfortable talking to the guys and became less intimidated by the uniform, but as high school progressed, my life got messier and messier. While my brother and the firemen were still encouraging me, I didn't feel like I had any support from where I really needed it. Being the child of divorced parents can be hard. Being a teenager of divorced parents is even harder. Add to that an alcoholic step-father who was verbally abusive and more, let's, just say I became very discouraged.

While I was still very interested in firefighting, my mother, trying to be realistic, started to say things that made me start to have doubts. In addition my life was really crazy and I moved out of my mom's house to my dad's house. That was not pleasant either as my step mother's philosophy of mothering was not compatible with my philosophy of being mothered. (that is not said as an ungrateful teenager, you had to be there to know, but it is the most diplomatic way I know how to say it.) She meant well, of that there is no doubt, but my spirit was nearly broken and I started experiencing depression for the first time in my life. After a while I moved away and back to my mom's house, and then to my sister's apartment. My sister and I were very close, but we have very different personalities and that became strained after a while too, forcing me to move back to my mother's home for a while. My brother was the bright spot in my life during this time. His interest in firefighting soared higher and higher. We both had scanners to monitor police and fire channels just for fun. His was portable though and he began riding his bike to calls so he could watch. He became a bit "over the top" with his enthusiasm, but the firefighters were (mostly) good natured about it. I think most of them knew deep down he was a good kid with a tough life and some of them kind of took them under his wing, I believe. My brother knew I still had the bug and for one of my birthdays he surprised me with a most awesome gift. I don't know where or how he found it, but he brought me a solid chocolate fire engine!!! My brother ROCKS!!!

Finally I moved out of my mother's house for good. I moved in with my best friend's parents and had to go to work. My dad very kindly paid my friends' parents for room and board for me while I lived there, but I had to pay for my car insurance, gasoline, maintenance, school, books, etc. I got a job working at the local Boy's and Girl's Club and my life turned onto a new path. When I was able, I moved out of that home and into a rental, with three other ladies. I lived there until I was married.

Now that I was no longer around firefighters, fire engines or anyone who supported my interests, and I was supporting myself, I put my dreams on a back shelf. Gradually I stopped thinking about it everyday and stopped dreaming of becoming a firefighter. I began studying Recreation Leadership at school and hoped for a career in the park service as a naturalist, but I continued working with children to support myself. Eventually I left the Boy's and Girls' Club, and, without a degree, found it difficult to find a job. I finally found one in child care, as a School Age Site Director. I have been doing this same kind of work for various companies for over 20 years now.

Getting back to the whole firefighter thing: My brother grew up, moved away and became, among other things, a volunteer firefighter, clear across the country from me. I missed him terribly, but I loved hearing his stories when he would visit or e-mail. I was absolutely thrilled for him, albeit a bit jealous, (maybe jealous is too strong, just sad for myself, really). After many years, my brother returned to the Great Northwest and became a volunteer firefighter for East County Fire and Rescue in the Washougal, Washington area. He regularly invited me to come visit and tour firestations and sit in the trucks, etc. He even told me he had gotten permission from the chief to take me on a ride along if I came to visit. My brother knew I still had the bug buried deep within me and he is the only one who truly understands.

For Christmas, 2008, my brother presented me with season's one and two of Emergency!, the 1970's television show that changed emergency services in the United States forever. I was so excited to own these, having grown up watching them, as I have stated in earlier posts. I watched the first two seasons twice before I purchased the third season. Before I could purchase the fourth season I had watched the first three seasons three complete times and was working on a fourth. YES, I am STILL obsessed with firefighting! I still want to join a fire department. Watching these shows I fell in love all over again, with firefighting, emergency medical services, (and Roy DeSoto -how pitiful and embarrassing!) In real life, the actor is my parent's age, but it is not the actor I love, it is the character. (I like to think that proves that I am not TOTALLY pathetic.)

What I realized from all this is that although I suppressed my dreams, they never went away and now they are taunting me more than ever. The problem is that now I am a 40 year old woman, severely overweight, with back problems due to multiple injuries and knee problems due to injuries and exacerbated by weight problems. Becoming a firefighter is not likely. (Although my brother tells me that if I can fog a mirror, the department could put me to work, but that is in Washougal and I live in Tacoma.) I told him (half tongue in cheek) that if my husband ever kicks the bucket I will move to Washougal the next day.

And that is how I got to where I am now. Watch for the next post: Beginning to Live the Dream.