Thursday, April 22, 2010

Retrospect: Newport 1990-1998

Welcome to the fourth installment of the first-three-decades-of-my-life-in-chapters: Newport, Vermont. I was 10 years old when we arrived and 18 years old when I graduated high school and left home to go to college. Papa got a job preaching at the Newport Church of God (that's why we moved there in the first place). Twenty years later, he's still the preacher, only the church is in Derby now—the next town over. I've been putting off writing this chapter, because not only did I live there longer than any other town, but also because these years include some of my most important and formative moments. So you can probably imagine all of the memories I have. Here are just a few:
  • The first house we lived in was on Pleasant Avenue. We all had our own rooms. My room had a door up to the attic, which we used as a playroom.
  • There was a garden shed outside that we called the turret, because it was shaped like a castle turret. We used that as a playhouse too. There was a stone chimney in the turret. One day, my friend Courtney and I wrote a fake love letter and hid it behind a loose stone in the chimney. I wonder if it's still there?
  • Mummy and Papa had their biggest garden yet at the house on Pleasant Avenue. Mummy let me have my own plot. I was really into fairies then, so I called it my fairy garden and grew mini roses for the fairies.
  • The elementary school was about a 20-minute walk away. I was too shy to take the bus, so I walked home every day. One time I really had to go to the bathroom, but I still had about 5 minutes left to go. I didn't make it. :-(
  • The Junior High School was in Derby, so I eventually had to start taking the bus. Then I started making more friends. Maybe sometimes my friends and I weren't the best influence on each other. One day Monique and I were making fun of our teacher and she yelled at us and said that we were mean and would never have any friends.
  • Another time, Monique and I got in trouble for prank calling the sheriff. We didn't know it was the sheriff at the time. And the prank that we did hit below the belt... The next day, the sheriff came to our house (they had call waiting!) and Monique and I hid in the attic. But Mummy and Papa made us come down and apologize.
  • But for the most part, I was an angel. My sister Emi hated me and called me a "little princess" because I was perfect all the time. (She was always getting in trouble.) And indeed, I always got straight As. But getting good grades and being a dork does not a perfect princess make.
  • High school was back in Newport and I got to ride with Emi from then on. (Hannah had moved to Florida by then.) Emi and I started bonding little by little. We eventually became very close.
  • Freshman year, I was going to try out for the soccer team, but had major anxiety about the try outs and decided not to. So when I found out my friend Mandy was joining cross country skiing, I decided to do that instead. (Who knew that Mandrake was such a skiing machine?!) No matter, it was the best thing I could've done.
  • I also joined chorus and make the select choir sophomore year (or was I a junior)? I went to Allstate 3 times as a Soprano I and senior year I made it to New Englands. I can't even remember where it was that year. Maybe Providence? But I was very proud. My try-out song was O Shendoah. I had to record it and mail the cassette in to the judges. I still think of New Englands and Ms. Douglas coaching me whenever I hear it.
  • I was a much better singer than I was a skier.
  • But I did meet my boyfriend Kyle on the ski team. We dated for two and a half years. We went to 2 proms together.
  • Sophomore year, we moved to the house on Shattuck Hill Road overlooking Lake Memphremagog. It was a great little house.
  • I also got my first car that I shared with Emi: a red 1993 jetta. Great car that one. Except that every time it rained, the engine would squeal.
  • I graduated as the valedictorian of a class of about 250 kids. Not bad!
  • I only applied to 2 colleges—Dartmouth and Middlebury—because Kyle and I were still dating and I wanted to stay near home. I got waitlisted at Dartmouth but got into Middlebury. So I decided to go there. It had a much nicer vibe I thought. Kyle and I broke up pretty soon after I left, but I never regretted going there.
  • Fall of 1998 I moved to Middlebury for my first year of college and never moved back home after that.

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