Well, it’s Wednesday so it’s time to add to our collaborative community story.
We’re following a flashback of our main character, Samantha. The story thus far is on the blog under “Story.”
Here’s where we left off.
We were very happy and comfortable in that little three-room apartment…
Our first Christmas season brought us our greatest gift. I remember the night we became pregnant. After making love, Chad stroked my hair as he loved to do and whispered excitedly, “Tonight, we created a new life.” I could only respond, “I know.”
That could have been wishful thinking, but a couple of days later my mood was down. Chad asked me what was wrong and I blurted I “knew” I was pregnant, but “you spoiled the good news. I wanted to be the one to tell you the rabbit died.”
Everything was confirmed … and it was time to face the realities of parenthood. I mean, I was just 20 and Chad just turned 22. What did we know about being parents?
Well, like those before us and those who came after us, it was a learning experience on the fly. I worried about practical things like not having a crib. Chad worried about having another mouth to feed. But we got through it. I actually graduated with a little baby bump. On Sept. 8, 1978 at 4:12 p.m., Chad(wick) William Watt Jr. joined the world. We opted to call him JR.
We could take JR anywhere and he would sleep. Except for maybe potty training, he was a perfect introduction to parenthood. But his arrival forced us to look for a larger two-bedroom apartment, actually on base. To be sure, when we moved into the apartment, it marked the end of our honeymoon. When we moved out, it marked a new beginning in our lives.
I worked for a little while before JR was born, but Chad said my job was to take care of our son. And I took it seriously.
We took an early vacation in 1980 to Lake George in the Adirondacks of New York. It was so peaceful — hectic days with Frontiertown and petting zoos capped with nights under the stars overlooking the lake. It was just a one-room cabin and I was busy rearranging things — like furniture — when we arrived. I moved a couple of chairs onto the porch and that was our nightly sanctuary. I would make a pot of coffee and we would just unwind while JR slept inside. We would just sit for hours talking about the first couple of years of our marriage and our future. I know we had never had that much of a relaxing vacation before.
I was in an upbeat mood. I thought it was the clean air, but as we were getting ready to go back home, I walked to the car with JR in my arms, gave Chad a big hug and kiss. I know it came out of nowhere, then added, “I’m not sure, but I think I’m pregnant.”
I was, but it was a rough pregnancy. Chad had to go to Colorado for a few weeks. He called every night but I never told him how I was feeling. Actually I was spotting for a couple of days but I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t even call my doctor. Great nursing training, huh!
That changed as soon as Chad walked through the door. He immediately called my doctor and whisked me off. Everything seemed okay, but the doctor ordered bed rest for a couple of weeks. Yeah, like that was going to happen … especially with a two year old running around.
But we got through it and cried tears of joy when Katelyn Danielle Watt was introduced to the world Jan. 25, 1981.
There were birthday parties and watching JR and Kate-D grow. There were times playing cards with our neighbors. There was a steady stream of friends at the apartment.
Kate-D was impossible and didn’t want to sleep anywhere except in her crib. So we never went out. She was also a rocker and put her head through the crib headboard. Meanwhile, JR was being a typical toddler getting into everything … like repainting the living room walls with butter. The two urchins wore me down.
Chad noticed a new housing development going up. He packed us up and we went to see the area. The land was just being cleared and there was only one “show home” and a couple of others under construction. We went through the figures and calculations. Since the house was under construction, we could “save” some money by not adding a gambrel roof, doing our own painting, etc. All we needed was about $7,000 down — the equivalent of about $1,000,000 today.
Chad and I went through every possible scenario to get our payments in line. If we sold the car … if we scrimped here and there … if we … I admit, I was less enthusiastic and more realistic. If we sold the car we would have to get another one. Even if we scrimped and saved, the pennies wouldn’t add up fast enough.
Somehow, the pieces fell into place. Chad was promoted in rank and pay. We found a buyer for the Chevy wagon and a reliable replacement (no more car payments). We kept filling our water jug with loose change and culled as many extras from the house as we could, like a finished basement, painting, landscaping except for some basic seeding, the gambrel roof over the door, etc. The mortgage application somehow went through. We were going to be new homeowners!
We closed in late 1983. After a check for the escrow … and another for the taxes … and another for the insurance … and another for the points … and another for, I don’t remember what, were both in shock. When we got back to the car, all I could ask was, “What did we just get ourselves into? Are we going to be okay?”
Chad said, “Sure we are.” It all turned out fine … just don’t ask me how…
There you go, readers. What’s next?
All you have to do is put down your thoughts and get them to me. You can post your ideas as comments on the blog – but remember everyone will see them, so the “surprise” factor might get lost – or you can e-mail me directly at email@example.com. Each Wednesday I will continue the story on the blog, along with that week’s attribution and periodically update Reveille/Between the Lakes readers. The complete story thus far is available on the blog under “Story.”
I hope we can have some fun with this.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: To keep on earning, keep on learning.