For my birthday I went to eat at The Olive Garden with my parents and sisters. When we got home I opened my presents (that's my sister Tracy above) - clothes, shoes, books, a pink hand mirror, a bubble necklace (Remember those?!), and a James Dean bag. (I was obsessed with James Dean.)
I also had an icecream cake. By highschool, I wouldn't eat anything with eggs so icecream cake was my birthday treat of choice.
This was the second year I attended Super Summer on the campus of Southwest Baptist University. I would attend every summer for the next 4 years. Super Summer was a life-changing experience for me, one I will always look back upon fondly. We stayed in dorms with our youth group friends and were put into families (that's two of my sisters and my "mom" in the middle). We spent a week of bible studies, recreation, family time, skits, and nightly music concerts with a great speaker. Although I was never the type to share what was on my heart in front of everyone, it was invaluable to me, nonetheless. It was also what cemented my desire to find an amazing Christian man to marry (And I did!). It also caused my heart to become set on attending SBU one day. (And I did!)
Cary, Baby James, and Me...he was special in our hearts because when he was a baby, he and his mom (and later dad) came to live with us for awhile (I have no idea if it was 3 weeks or 3 months, but my sisters and I got to babysit him while his mom went to work. We loved that!)
We had a big Thanksgiving that year, which we didn't always have. Most of my Mom's family unexpectedly came from Texas to visit. (Kat, Bud, Sam, Baby James, Johnny, Trina, Leon, Bo, Grandma, Grandpa, and Wynton.) After we ate, we all took a walk on my parents' land. They'd purchased it maybe the year before, and it was only two properties over from our house. It's beautiful and rolling, and we'd always planned to build a house there (but never did because we moved a few years later).
I got my school jacket for Christmas that year. And also a big James Dean poster, among other things. I told you I was obsessed with James Dean. Even when I was in highschool, I'd always wake up sooo early on Christmas - like 4:30 a.m. because I was so excited. I was such a morning person when I was growing up. I was always the first one up to watch Saturday morning cartoons. And on Sunday mornings, I got to go to Casey's with my Dad to get a newspaper and a doughnut.
Another fun year of cheerleading. I think I was the most laid-back cheerleader ever. I was not the typical spunky, loud cheerleader doing jumps and cartwheels all over the place. In fact, I would get really embarrassed when we had to yell something by ourselves. There were a few cheers we did that required solos by everyone. Like this: Jenny, are you motivated; are you ready to get hot? I was supposed to say, "I'm hot, won't stop til I reach the top - gonna rock, rock, rock." (and either shake my hips or play air guitar while I said "rock, rock, rock." It might have looked something more like this: Me - "I'm hot..." (then I stop at the sheer horror of my voice projecting above all others, I giggle nervously, and shake my head that I can't do it, and the other girls fill in, "She's hot, won't stop til she reaches the top, gonna rock, rock, rock!").
my sister's signature in my sophomore yearbook
I enjoyed cheerleading for more than cheering at the actual games. I loved getting to stay after school with the girls and decorate the boys' and cheerleaders' lockers before game days. We also got to create really fun run-throughs (like the Imagine one above that we did for Homecoming).
This was the last year I got to cheer for my brother, who graduated this year. Obviously, this was a life-changing year for my entire family, as the next year he moved a few hours away for college.
I don't think my coach loved me, though. She thought I was prissy, and she was not prissy. She wasn't alone in this assessment; my 8th grade P.E. coach once said, while we were running laps (I was running in a way to ensure my poof stayed vertical), "I have never seen anyone more worried about her hair."
I probably also didn't make a great impression when I refused to slide in the mud at practice one day. For one, I hated sliding. It hurts! And my hands got all scraped up. Two, she and the older girls, I think, were doing it out of spite. The girls never got to use the good field; the boys did. They weren't using it while it rained one day so went out there. All of the sliding completely messed up the field, and the guys' coach was not happy about it.
Anyway, some of the girls were really getting covered in mud, from head to toe because it was fun. They tried to throw the girls who weren't muddy into the mud, but I would not let them get me.
I should have just felt free to do that, but getting dirty like that wasn't my thing at all. (So yeah, Coach was right, in a way, that I was prissy.) Plus, I thought it was unfair to tear up the guys' field because I probably secretly wanted them to have it. Of course, now that I think about it, it's totally messed up that the boys got it everyday. Just like we didn't cheer for the girls' basketball team. It's like it was 1960, not 1990.
I didn't turn 16 until the summer after 10th grade. Obviously, this was a big summer for me. I got my driver's license. AND I got my braces off! Yay! It felt really strange at first, like I had horse teeth, but then I loved it. I didn't have a crooked split between my teeth anymore; thanks, Mom and Dad!
Some of my friends threw me a 16th birthday party. They put up signs with balloons on the road to Elizabeth's house that read things like "Hey, Jenny!" and "Happy birthday, Jenny" and "Jenny - Honk Once." They had me sit on a chair (throne) and gave me a sash, crown, flowers, and a bunch of gag gifts. It was all totally corny - just like my friends and I were, so I loved it!
No, the car I drove when I was 16 looked like this. A 1988 Aerostar mini-van my parents had purchased new a couple of years before. I was grateful they let me drive it at all, but I'm not going to say I felt very cool driving a mini-van at the age of 16. It's probably subconsciously why I refuse to buy a mini-van, to this day. (On a positive note, a lot of people could fit in my car on a night out.) I didn't get to drive it all of the time. I didn't get to drive it to school. I still actually had to ride the bus A LOT when I was 16.
I remember my dad standing in my doorway the morning of the 22nd, just as I was waking up. He said, "Let's go get your license." I was kind of like, "What?!" I didn't know we were going to get it that day, and I felt like I hadn't practiced enough or something. He was confident I could do it. I was relieved I had a woman instructor. I got 85 on the written and 81 on driving. I'm pretty sure I failed or nearly failed parallel parking, and I didn't do very well on straight backing, either.
in my yearbook
The next night, I wanted to take the ol' Aerostar out for a spin. I drove to my friend Lori's house. I promised my parents I would be home by 8:30, but I didn't get home until 9:00 (after it was getting dark, and it was starting to rain). My mom and dad were not happy, and I got an earful.
Ryan and I were driving on that same Elsey rode recently, and he agreed with me. We would be FREAKING out if our 16 year old child was driving on those curvy roads, especially at night and in the rain. However, the reason I thought their scolding was unfair at the time: my brother never had curfews; I felt like they never watched him as closely as they watched my every move. It was an injustice I never got over. :)
For those of you who were eagerly waiting on the continuation of Jenny's love life story, sorry to disappoint...to avoid a whole lengthy "I liked this boy," and "then there was this boy," I decided that's all I'll say about boys...for now. There's enough material packed into my journals, which I should probably throw away before my daughter learns to read. (That way she'll believe me when I tell her you're not supposed to like boys until you graduate. Or even much later.)
Plus, I haven't figured out how to reduce my Tales...it's already hard enough; there are too many more stories to tell.
I'll close with yet another amaaaazing teenage Jenny quote:
"I'm staying home Halloween night even though [lots of girls asked me to go out with them.] Mom said "no" because there would be too much trouble in town. She can be terribly hard-headed. Why can't I be treated as the woman that I am?!"