Hope is always strongest when plans are weakest. I knew, having survived childhood and high school, I was destined for something great. So the summer of my graduation, I enrolled at a private Mennonite college in southeastern Kansas. Then I enlisted with the Marines. And I started working at the plastic factory. I had options. When the registrar at the Mennonite college called me and asked how I was going to pay my outstanding balance of $12,000 before registering, I hung up. When I found out that the other recruits cussed and had sex and weren’t terribly impressed with my religious sensibility or my ability to run faster than them, I stopped answering my Staff Sergeant’s calls. And after 27 straight nights of the midnight shift sorting Cool Whip containers and sippy cups, I called my cousin Monica to ask her about the community college she’d attended before becoming a dental assistant. I enrolled at Highland Community College three days after classes had started, and begged the coach there to let me run for the track team.
Just added to The List and the Story: Out of the Nineties