Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No Place to Call Home

Our days in Texas are now behind us~it is now time to move on. At this point, Nicole is 3 months old and we are leaving Dallas to be a part of a church in eastern Pennsylvania. The excitement is building as we embark on our next adventure. Of all the places in the world that we could be moving to, here is where we ended up....


That's cool! There is a town named after us!

We were not able to visit with family very much since we were living 1200 miles away. We decided that this would be a good time to take a couple weeks to spend with our families before moving to this church. The night before we were to head to Coopersburg, Scott called someone from the church to make sure everything was in order on their end. I knew we were in trouble.........Scott was told that we didn't have a place to live! 

 Previous conversations led us to believe that they were going to put a double-wide mobile home on the property, but a perk test proved otherwise.  Would it have been a hassle to call us and let us know that we didn't have anywhere to go? Obviously so....Now, it is June, but I am certainly NOT into camping indefinitely with a newborn! So, where were our belongings?  They mentioned something about THAT on the phone as well...they were piled into the middle of the fellowship hall. We were told 'not to worry' and they would find us temporary housing.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"    Matthew 6:25

 Being that we had a small car, space was limited. So, for traveling purposes with a baby, we had just enough clothing for one week and we did laundry.  Remember, we have a dog with us, too. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies!

But, a contract is a contract. Scott's first day of work was quickly approaching (the next morning) and we proceeded to make the drive the night before anyways. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by someone from the church AND a township supervisor. There was no double-wide...why I thought there WOULD be, was wishful thinking! The township supervisor was there to offer us his home.

This would be a good time to remind you of Matthew 6:25, but I will let you scroll up and read it for yourself. God certainly DID provide~what were we worried about?

This man had a log home sent to him in pieces and in his spare time, he was putting it together so that when he retired, his house would be finished. He had not even had a chance to live in it prior to our arrival. This man was our lifesaver! He gave us the key to his home and when we walked into the kitchen, displayed on the counter were bags of groceries AND DIAPERS! He even stocked the refrigerator before we arrived! I believe that a Sunday School class also contributed and had the cupboards stocked as well.  Might I add that this man did NOT attend the church~he did not attend ANY church! How thoughtful of this man to not only give us his home, but to make sure we didn't go hungry and Nicole would be dry.

After a quick tour of his beautiful home, we had to go to the fellowship hall to look for bedding, as well as other items that we might need while staying there. We searched through boxes and took what we thought we might need to get by. In the meantime, those boxes all remained in the middle of the floor and the youth proceeded to play basketball and volleyball around them and fellowship meals happened around them as well! This was to only be temporary for a few weeks and four months later we were still there.....

In the meantime, we were out searching for apartments daily WITH A NEWBORN! We would report back to the church what we found and they found something wrong with just about every apartment we found. Some didn't take pets, some didn't take babies, and some were just too expensive. The man who owned the home would come and mow the grass and even refused to work in his unfinished basement because he wanted to give us our privacy.

One morning I woke up to the feel of something funny in my hair. Well, it wasn't FUNNY, really! There seemed to be this clump of hair that wouldn't separate. As I proceeded to a mirror, a spider fell into the sink and I discovered that it had built a nest during the night. So, I had to cut this clump of hair out and, to this day, I HATE SPIDERS! So, I guess we were NOT the first residents of this home after all!

This was a tough church to be in~we should have seen THAT coming from Day One. Some would have been discouraged from the beginning~and WE had OUR moments, I might add. But these people needed a pastor (and we needed a place to live). We met some great people here.....and, some others as well.

Nicole was a really good baby. She slept long hours and we hardly ever knew she was around (some things NEVER change). She would usually sleep during church, but one particular morning, she was wide awake and decided she was hungry (some things NEVER change). Question: What is a mom to do?  Answer: Give her a bottle. Obviously, THAT was the wrong answer! Eating was not allowed in the Sanctuary and they considered that eating!  REALLLLLLYYYYYYY? I was informed that when she needed to eat, I was to take her out and feed her in the nursery. At this point, I wanted to take everyone that was chewing gum and make them take it out and put it on their noses for the rest of the worship service...there was only ONE problem...I saw no one chewing gum! Gum probably wasn't allowed either! Well, you can call me a rebel~I made sure I had gum EVERY Sunday and I proudly chewed it. No one ever told me about it. There were a lot of other issues at this church as well. The former pastor of 29 years continued to be a part of the congregation, as well as ALL of his family~choir director, pianist, Sunday school teachers, boards and committees, etc.~they were EVERYWHERE!  

Was it a mistake to go there? Absolutely not! Everything happens for a reason. I had a great-aunt living in  nearby Allentown, and this gave us the opportunity to visit with her and her family frequently. It just helped us to ask a LOT more questions when interviewing future churches.

By Fall, the church had purchased a beautiful home that we could now call the parsonage~but, not for long. By April 1st, we were on our way to our next adventure. We figured that starting on April 1st could not be THAT big of an April Fool's joke, considering what we had just come from. We spent a total of 10 months there but we were already looking forward to our next move, which took us to Johnstown, Pennsylvania.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Those Were The Final Days in Dallas (part 3)

Those first holidays away from family were going to be rough. Our good friends, Joe and Lara, invited us to their home for our first Thanksgiving in Dallas. We had the privilege of celebrating 'southern style' as Lara is from Mississippi. Scott and Joe knew each other from their days at Washington Bible College together. Then, Joe is the one who convinced Scott to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Joe had his own lawn care business while going to school and Scott worked with him.  I was nervous to meet Lara. She was first-runner-up in the Miss Mississippi Pageant prior to marrying Joe. But, I found out quickly how sweet she was and how welcoming they both were. So, we joined their family for Thanksgiving.  To this day, I still make her 'chicken rice-a-roni casserole at least once a month. It has become my family's favorite casserole, and it has broccoli in it!

Sometimes I would drive to their apartment to have lunch with Lara over my lunch break. This meant driving Central Expressway *BIG SIGH*. We are talking 6 or 7 lanes in ONE direction! But, I learned quickly. I had to or I would have been run over! There are probably more lanes today....this was back in 1984.

Then, there was *Sam*. We would leave our apartment for church and when we returned home, Sunday after Sunday, there would be *Sam* sitting in his car waiting for us. *Sam* is a friend of ours and was single. I can't imagine being single and living in such a huge city....we enjoyed his company, and he enjoyed ours.

Macaroni and cheese became our favorite meal when we found a 'Jewel T' store that sold them 10 for $1.00 (remember, I said this was in the early 80's) and we would stock up. You knew it was pay day when we had hamburgers! Well, on this particular Sunday we didn't have any macaroni and cheese left. And, it was NOT payday! I went through my cupboards and found that I had soup....just not two of the same kind. What to do? Mix them! So we had something like chicken noodle vegetable rice cream of broccoli soup (or something like that). And, *Sam* commented that it was the best soup he had ever eaten. And, that I would have to make it again....if only I could remember how I made it the first time around! I guess this is confession time...*Sam*....I didn't have a recipe for that soup and now is the time to 'fess up'.  It's been 27 years, and you should know the truth.

Finding a church was a really bad experience considering there are churches EVERYWHERE in Dallas. the small churches were TOO small, the big churches were TOO big. No one knows whether you are a visitor or not in the larger churches. We visited small churches, large churches, mega churches....until a fellow employee invited us to a Baptist church where her husband was on staff. We visited and really liked it. The bad thing, was, Scott would be graduating in a few months and we would be moving. This church really made us feel welcome. They had a baby shower for us and those little old ladies loved Nicole. They were so proud of the little booties, blankets and sweaters they crocheted and sewed. They hated to see us go, and we FINALLY found a church family...only to leave them. They even had a covered dish meal after church on our last Sunday with them. They really were our family, if only we could have found them sooner, but it was not meant to be.

We had a lot of great memories of our time living in Dallas. I still want to go back and visit. I would love to travel there with Nicole as this is where she was born.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Those Were The Days....part 2

 I loved our days in Dallas. I just wish we could have had the time and the money to see more of it. As a student, you are focused on getting your work done and spending so much time working that you really do not have the time to do the fun stuff (unless it was free). Seminary students were often given tickets to attend the Symphony. This was a night to dress up and pretend to be rich.

We decided that it was time to buy a puppy. We saw the cutest Shih-Tzu and could not pass her up. We brought her home and carried her into our apartment in a paper bag so that the neighbors would not see her. We named her Muffin. She was a really good puppy DURING THE DAY! At night, all she did was bark! The apartment manager informed us that we could not have a pet....WHY NOT? Others have them. We were informed that those who had them prior to a specific date could keep them, but after that, you could not. We fell into the 'after' category. Coincidentally, our apartment manager was leaving to take another apartment complex and informed us that pets were acceptable. So, we moved and she continued to be our apartment manager.


 We were able to visit Southfork Ranch, where 'Dallas' was filmed and actually were there while they were filming. And, to think, this house is only for filming........

Meet 'Big Tex'                                                                        

 We attended the Texas State Fair and I will NEVER eat another corn dog as long as I live! I was pregnant with Nicole at the time so I have not had a corn dog in 26 years! To this day, I cannot even stand to LOOK at one!

We were able to attend the Cotton Bowl one year. We saved up in order to do this...this being the most expensive thing we did while living there! I am no football fan, but this was a big deal. Something I would see only on television, became a reality for me. And, the fact that we were was REALLY cold that day!

We lived right around the corner from White Rock Lake. Scott gets this brilliant idea that we were going to take a walk one beautiful Sunday afternoon......this walking path brings back so many unpleasant memories for me.

 First, no one told us that the lake was 9 miles (OK, so we should have asked someone) but we were young and stupid! Second, we decided to take Muffin along. God rest her little canine the end of our walk, we were ready to change her name to Puffin'. Oh, wait! That was MY name I almost changed to Puffin'! Although, she DID get carried a good portion of the way, which is more than can be said about Scott or myself!

The Dallas Skyline from White Rock Lake

Third, I was NOT wearing walking shoes! Before we even made it back home, I had huge blisters on the bottoms of both feet and I had to be at work the next morning by 6:30 a.m.! *sigh*

Fourth, we took no money with us. Not that we had any money to take, but, that is beside the point! We took nothing to drink, either. This meant that we had to depend on the water fountains along the path. That is, UNTIL I SAW SOME JOGGER WASH HIS FACE, AND THEN, HIS WHOLE HEAD IN THE WATER FOUNTAIN! No thanks! Nothing for me to drink!

Dealey Plaza where John F. Kennedy was shot

It gave us a leery feeling to be standing here.  I believe the 'X' on the road actually marks the spot.

Meanwhile, back at the seminary, as I was working one day.....
A man came to the window to purchase postage stamps, wearing a long trench coat and silly hat. He scared me! Once I sold him the stamps and he shared a bit of small talk, I couldn't seem to get rid of him. He finally walked away from the counter and the girls behind the counter, including my supervisor, were all giddy. "Do you know who that was?" someone blurted out. Of course I didn't know! I was informed that I just sold postage stamps to Tom Landry who was THE COACH OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS!

Coach Landry

 How awesome is that?  Coach Landry was on the Board of Directors of Dallas Theological Seminary at the time and was there for a meeting. He often visited the school and could be seen throughout the campus but when I did see him after that, I tried to be cool about it and just say, "Hi". 

Charles Ryrie

Then, there was the time that I mailed out a package for Charles Ryrie. When I was informed who he was, I was embarrassed. You have heard of the Ryrie Study Bible, haven't you? Well, I told my supervisor that I thought 'that guy' had died a long time ago! 

President John F. Walvoord

We met some pretty amazing people in our short two years that we were there...professors Howard Hendricks, Dwight and Ed Pentecost, Norman Geisler (whom Scott mowed grass for on a weekly basis). Many well-known speakers spoke at Chapel each week and we had the privilege of hearing many of them. It was my job to see that the President of the Seminary, John Walvoord, received his Wall Street Journal daily. He had to have it on his desk by 7:00 a.m.  *sigh*  Oh, the pressures of pleasing the president!

Next blog, I will conclude my memories of our time spent in Dallas. It has been fun reminiscing and I hope to one day return if only for a few days to see all the changes that have taken place since we left there in 1985.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Final Photos of the Niagara Falls Trip, 2011

Canadian Horseshoe Falls
Between Goat Island and Table Rock

American Falls
Between Prospect Point and Luna Island
With Maid of the Mist Boat (which was AWESOME!)

American Falls on the Left
Smaller Falls to the Right is the Bridal Veil Falls
Between Luna Island and Goat Island

Fort George

Built by the British between 1796 and 1799 to guard entrance to the Niagara River, Fort George played a strategic role in the War of 1812 and was used by General Isaac Brock as the base for British military operations in the area. The fort was overrun and burned by the Americans in May of 1813. More than a century later during the Great Depression, the fort was restored to the original specifications of the Royal Engineers as a make-work project. All 11 of the original 14 buildings restored are furnished as they were from 1797 to 1813; all hardware used in the restoration was made by hand at Fort George in the Artificer's Shop.

In the center of this photo is Brock's Monument

Major General Sir Isaac Brock died here in one of the fiercest battles of the War of 1812. The original monument was built in 1824, at which time Brock's remains were re-interred in the vault below the monument. Queenston Heights became a popular tourist destination, and for almost 100 years lake boats brought thousands of visitors from Toronto to this site. In 1840, the monument was blown up by one of the Mackenzie rebels. A new monument was completed in 1857, which has endured, with some repairs, until today.

A climb up the narrow spiralling stairs to the top of the monument at 50-meters (190 feet), will leave you breathless. It is this same escarpment edge where, about 12,000 years ago, the mighty cascades started to grind and wear away seemingly impenetrable rocks to form the ll-kilometer-long (6.8 mile-long) Niagara Gorge.

Nicole, as we reached the very top of the Sky Wheel

And, yes! That IS a Hershey Kiss you see here!

A block from our hotel was the Hershey store....Did we stop? Of course not!

So, now it is time to say goodbye to the Falls and head for home....only for them to become memories of a trip that we both enjoyed so much................

.......with a promise that these Falls aren't going anywhere anytime soon and maybe we will get to see them again.................

Friday, August 19, 2011

'Get Over It'...Conquering My Fears

As I continue with today's blog, I noticed that part of my last one somehow got deleted.  I was talking about the Skylon Tower. I wasn't sure I would be able to go to the top of this.....A trip to the top of this world-famous Niagara Falls attraction combines an exhilarating 52-second ride with the awe of seeing Niagara Falls from 775 feet above the mighty Falls, going at a speed of 12 kilometers (8 miles) per hour. He makes 26 trips per hour. I am SURE that his being Canadian and having a french accent helped ME get to the top of the tower easily, not to mention, he was cute!  I rode what they call the 'yellow bug', which are elevators on the outside of the tower,  and was a bit nervous going up, but if THAT doesn't cure you of your fear of heights, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE THAT NICOLE WILL TALK ME INTO THAT WILL CURE IT! You can look out through the glass-enclosed 'yellow bug' and view the Falls, the Great Gorge, Niagara wine district, the dazzling cityscape below and the Toronto and Buffalo skylines. From here, you can take in 8,000 square miles of Canada and the U.S.

OK...that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.....NOW, ON TO THE NEXT ADVENTURE!
This morning I was up bright and early and ready to start my day of sightseeing. We began a three-hour guided tour of Niagara Falls with Michelle, our local step-on guide.  There was a story told by the local Native peoples of a mighty waterfall hidden in the middle of the continent. We can only wonder how the explorers felt when they first discovered Niagara Falls. In such a remote, untamed wilderness, surrounded by primeval forest, there being an ever-present mist, and with the crashing of water echoing through the woods, the Falls must have been a scary sight! Niagara, means "The Strait," although it became known as "Thunder of Waters." Sadly, most visitors to Niagara do not see far beyond the glamour of the Falls and miss many of the other treasures....BUT, NOT US!

One stop was to the Floral Clock. There are close to 19,000 plants used each year to make this a popular stop on the Niagara Parkway and has had almost as many photographs taken as the Falls.  ALL of Niagara Falls takes their horticulture seriously. The School of Horticulture, which only accepts 22 applicants per year, does a SUPER job of making EVERYTHING look beautiful!

OK...So far, so good! I still have both feet on the ground! We drove through Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is definitely wine country. Everywhere you looked, there was a winery....along with a gorgeous house!

STILL, I have both feet on the ground....BUT THIS IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!!!  Nicole would like to ride the Whirlpool Aero-Car....yep! Just the word 'whirlpool' and I knew what I was in for!

The Aero-Car is suspended by six sturdy cables (I am SO glad they emphasize the fact that they are STURDY...but, only SIX of them?...) that have been carrying passengers DIRECTLY OVER THE WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS since 1916 (and THAT was to make me feel better as well...). We will be going 200 feet above the Whirlpool Rapids. From looking down into them, they seemed relatively calm. But, the waters below actually go to speeds of 50 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour) through this channel. Water travels counter-clockwise. Almost as many stunts have taken place here as they have over Niagara Falls, including tight-rope walking, barrel riding, swimming, and even kayaking. Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, attempted to swim the Whirlpool Rapids in 1883. His body was not recovered for four days. Hhmmmmmm....wonder how long it will take them to find us?

Count the cables....ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX!!!  Yep! They are all there!


We made it back safe and sound. And, it was actually a lot of fun! Besides seeing the Falls, Maid of the Mist had to be my favorite BUT the Whirlpool Aero-Car came in at a close second.  Once I stepped onto the car, where you stand the whole 10-minute ride, I was NOT afraid.
After lunch at Niagara-on-the-Lake overlooking Lake Ontario, with Fort George in the background, we headed back to our hotel (or so I thought that's where we would go after such a traumatic experience earlier). So, goodbye, Niagara-on-the-Lake.....

Fort George and Lake Ontario


Courthouse and Clock Tower

Flower Clock

Itty Bitty Church

Wine Barrel

Goodbye, Whirlpool...

 Nicole decided that I didn't have enough of heights for the day, so we rode the Sky Wheel.

Sky Wheel

 Needless to say, we did NOT go to the hotel but headed straight for Clifton Hill.  Clifton Hill reminds me of the Canadian version of Times Square......    On second thought, lets walk a little further to Table Rock and see the 'Journey Behind the Falls' which was awesome. We were literally  behind the falls, standing a mere 6 feet behind what I hope was some really, really, strong glass!

This is where we were about 6 feet from the falls, BUT DO YOU NOTICE THAT LEAK TO THE RIGHT IN THE WALL? UH-OH! TIME TO GET OUT OF HERE, NICOLE!

I am so glad Nicole chose this trip as part of her graduation present from Lancaster Bible College. It was an honor to go along with her and I must thank her for helping me 'Get Over It'.....

So, Nicole, where does our next adventure take us?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let the Trip Begin....

I feel a bit guilty~Wednesday was Brittany's 19th birthday, and I am sitting in Ontario, Canada, outside on our balcony, overlooking Niagara Falls. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRITTANY, and we WILL celebrate when we get back home!

Our day started out very early. We enjoyed a breakfast buffet and met our new 'bus family' for the next three days. With our bus driver, C.J., there are only 17 of us, so we are a rather small family. Two of our new family members, John and Christine, whom we sat with at breakfast,  are from Australia, so it has been fun chatting and hanging out with them. I guess you could say that they are 'our parents' on this trip. They are our 'next door neighbors' as well for the next two nights.

 We hadn't been with our new family very long when we came around the gift shop after breakfast, only to hear, "Did you see my mom?" Well, who IS this lady and I CERTAINLY do not know your mother! We didn't even know their names (and still don't) but I could pick them out in a crowd! Found out they are part of our 'family' so I SHOULD remember them, right? Right? Helllloooooo....

Our 'grandparents' are a sweet couple, Tom and Nancy, whom we found out LOVE to visit the casino. He uses a cane but didn't let the 10 minute walk keep him in a hotel! We caught them coming in at 11:45 p.m. You ask why WE were up at 11:45 pm...hhmmmmmmmm.....They are our other neighbors. Guess that means  that Nicole and I must be on our best behavior because our 'parents' are on one side and our 'grandparents' are on the other! Then, there is Eric and Lauren, the father/daughter that everyone just ASSUMED were married! She could be my 'sister'....OK, I lied....she could be my daughter. She is celebrating her 30th birthday with her dad a little early. she is a teacher and this was her parents' gift to her. What a great place to celebrate your birthday! I usually get a card....this year was quite special, though. I received my birthday gifts a little early so that I could enjoy them on the bus. Scott, Nicole, Nate, Ashley, and Brittany got me a NOOK. It didn't have to have a passport, but since it did cross the border into Canada, does that make it a CaNOOK? Get it? Canuck? (Vancouver Canucks)

We thought for sure the bus was going to be full. It reminds me of a scary movie where each time the bus stops for a meal or rest stop, we seem to lose people. They just disappear.....I sit alone in row 6 and row 1 is empty because it's behind the bus driver and full of candy and bottled water. We look behind us, and the restroom seems so far away.

Our lunch stop was to McDonald's, and, thank goodness, we were full from breakfast and we could easily pass up the fast food. This stop happened to be in Bath, New York. How ironic that as soon as the bus pulled into the parking lot, what is the first thing we see? Amish! We left home to get away. Maybe we have a 'secret Amish family' stowed away in the luggage compartment of the bus. We have tons of room under there since there are only 17 suitcases! Then, as we were sitting out on our little balcony later that night, a huge Amish family walked across the sidewalk below us. I think they are staying in our hotel.

Customs was easy but according to the bus driver, it is not always that way. Being that I never leave the US, I expected much worse. As I sit here now looking at the line of people waiting to cross the border, I am so glad we arrived early.

We were able to go to the IMAX theatre to see 'Legends and Daredevils' immediately upon our arrival rather than before heading home on Friday. I'm not so sure this was a good idea as we are going on a 3-hour guided tour on Thursday and will be directly above the falls on the Whirlpool Aero Car. After hearing some of the history of the crazy people who went down the falls in barrels, (63-year old female school teacher who took her cat along for the ride), many people on boats (some survived and others perished), and then, there was Mr. Fitzgerald, who went down in his plunge-o-sphere, it is possible to survive. How? I don't know!

On Wednesday, we got to experience Niagara Falls at its finest...from the Skylon

We enjoyed dinner from the Summit Suite Buffet Dining Room in the tower. De-lic-ious....then, there was the girl seated next to me at dinner who informed us that she would be wearing a dress the next day. Just out of the blue....I believe her exact words were, "You are going to witness something you have not seen in a long time....tomorrow I am going to wear a dress." First of all, she was with our group but I didn't know her. Well, frankly, I NEVER saw her in a dress and WHO CARES? I wear underwear but I don't tell everyone I see!

Our driver, C.J. took us after dark to see the Falls lit up. That was pretty cool!

After a very long day, I am finally ready to go to sleep after midnight. This is WAY past my bedtime. I feel so old when the 'older people' on canes are walking to the casino and I am ready for bed! But, tomorrow is another day....and, as I say...another day, another story!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Those Were the Days......part I

These next few blogs will be about our memories of the days we lived in Dallas. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and I guess they are right!  Central Expressway, roaches, oil, huge houses owned by Texaco executives (who only use them as a weekend home), rodeos, and cowboys, just to name a few.


                                                Central Expressway..........

Six months after getting married, we made the big move to the 'Big D' so that Scott could go to Dallas Theological Seminary.  This meant that we would be 1200 miles from our family.  We knew only a handful of people who were living in Dallas at the time.  We trusted our friend, Joe, to find us an apartment, which we did not see until we pulled into the parking lot behind a U-Haul. Good choice, Joe!
I happened to be driving at the time we reached Dallas, and, let me tell you, I have NEVER seen so many roads going in so many directions!  We don't have this in the country.  We made it to downtown Dallas without any trouble (one-way streets and all) and our first stop was Dallas Seminary. So, THIS is going to be our lives for the next two years.......

                                                                 Dallas Skyline

                                         a welcome sight...
We were given the name and address of a couple that would be our 'big brother-big sister' to help us get settled in. This was another Seminary couple and they lived across the street from the school.  They were expecting us so we thought we would stop over and say hello. We knocked on the door *sigh* and were quickly ushered inside. No introductions yet, although WE tried. We were told to follow them into their kitchen where they had snacks waiting. The only way to get to their kitchen, was through the bedroom!  AWKWARD!!! Now, I said I would not always use real names unless I had permission to do so. This is a rare case. I have googled this couple and cannot find out much about them. I do know they are still living in Dallas but the only way to get any information on them is to pay $39.95.  I didn't feel it was worth the price so I am taking my chances here. You want to google his name, too, don't you? Go ahead, it's OK.  If you do, believe me when I tell you he is NOT the Richard Dickerman that is a physician/surgeon in Dallas (oops! i couldn't keep my fingers from finding his name on the keyboard)!  There is one on Facebook with 10 friends...I cannot see a picture but this MIGHT be him! I must use his real name or this blog will be pointless!  The whole time we were trying to visit, he was picking his nose! This is all he did all the time...sitting in the Student Center studying...pick his nose AND EAT IT, so I gave him the name 'Slick Pickerman'. Get it? Richard Dickerman/Slick Pickerman?  I got so used to his nickname that I forgot what his real name was for years. We quickly made new friends and got settled in, hence, no longer needing their big brother-big sister services.

We were excited and scared at the same time.  I interviewed and got a job at the Seminary immediately working in the Student Information Center.  When they told me that I would have to memorize EVERY STUDENT'S MAILBOX NUMBER as well as the faculty and staff names and departments where they worked or taught, I thought they were crazy!  There were 1800+ students attending here!  I did end up memorizing their mailbox numbers in a very short time and was even able to put the name with a face.  Those that I worked with made the job a lot of fun.  We especially liked pulling pranks on students. I was responsible for seeing that students got mail and care packages from home. Not all students were friendly and it WAS tempting to withhold their care packages and mail but that would be mean, wouldn't it? I couldn't do that because I knew how important it was to hear from friends and family and even though their cookies arrived in pieces, they appreciated the little things....snacks that we could only get from our home towns or foods that could not be bought in the south. But, it was fun to hold someone's mailbox shut from the inside knowing that they were coming and expecting mail...or, scaring them when they opened their mailbox and we yelled, 'BOO!'  Then, there was the time that shaving cream ended up in someone's mailbox so that when they reached in.....hmmmm......wonder how THAT got in there!

I will tell you that the roaches were a bit much!  I never saw a roach until we moved there.  Opening drawers or turning on lights and having them pop out of nowhere.....eewwwwww! And, yes, they were HUGE!

                                               your typical texas cockroaches......
                                                             the LITTLE ones....

                                                            ...and, the BIG ones!

But, they were also a delicacy to foreign students.  I would not have believed it but I saw it with my own eyes....huge cockroaches with their legs still moving....were being eaten over rice by a student who was from Hong Kong who just happened to be sitting right next to me!

                                       cockroach hall of fame
I will leave you with the images of the cockroaches for now.  But, yes, there really is a Cockroach Hall of Fame in Plano, Texas.  Never been there and never intend to go there!

Join me next time as I tell you about the 'scary man in the long trench coat' and how we brought home our first puppy.