Every month in our newsletter, we trade off writing the feature A Letter From the Heart. This is my contribution this month.
Letter From The Heart- Headin’ to a Weddin’
When I was 10, I met a sassy little girl with stick straight blonde hair who moved in around the corner from me at a time when NO one moved to Mill City if you didn’t have to. She had one sister and two brothers, 5 motorcycles, a travel trailer and they were the tallest people I had ever met! Except for Joyce and her youngest brother, Jerry. They were both small for their prospective ages of 10 and 8. Joyce and I became instant friends, thanks to the gift of being able to tickle each other’s funny bone. We laughed all the time andover lots pets, stupid boys, vacations and grandparents. We rode her motorcycle while singing The House of the Rising Sun at the top of our lungs. We were ceremoniously dumped into the ditch by her horse Smokey. We spent time at the Detroit Dam Powerhouse (Joyce’s dad, Stan was a shared secrets like little girls do. We did everything together over the next few years, sharing clothes, tears Dam Operator), exploring places we weren’t supposed to be (shhhh), riding our 10 speed bikes like banshees around the turbines in a ridiculous game of chase. We joined Wolverettes our freshman year, bringing home a trophy for best Dance Team performance at the Class A State Basketball Tournament in 1976 and sported Red and White uniforms on JV Rally our sophomore year. Our Junior and Senior years she played Volleyball and Basketball and I stuck with Rally. I went to all her games and she came to all of mine, as the other’s biggest cheerleader. We had a few little snippets of being teenagers but always came back to the realization we were going to be friends for the rest of our lives.
Scott and I married in July of 1981 with Joyce by my side as my Maid of Honor. Joyce joined the Air Force in 1983 and headed for Italy after Basic Training and Tech School. A half a world apart, we kept in touch by writing letters and sharing photos. Soon, Joyce married and was busy with her husband, Bruce and boys, Daniel and Eric. They lived in England, Japan, and Germany. Joyce didn’t make it back to the states often, but always made an effort to see us when she did visit her parents in Oregon. In 1998, she and the boys came for so sick!
Daniel’s decision to attend Oregon State in 2004 meant we were able to see Eric and Joyce more. Eric’s visits seemed to coincide with a Holiday and Eric escorted our youngest daughter Kelsey to several of her High School Dances. They kept in touch as they attended separate colleges and remained good friends (still sweet on each other, admitting nothing.) They dated several different people but always keeping tabs on the other. One year, Eric and Daniel were here for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It stormed horribly and electricity went out. We played board games by candlelight into the wee hours of the night, falling off the couch laughing at Eric and Daniel. Eric spent many of his college holidays/weekends with us and Kelsey visited the Kenney’s in Alabama. Eric is quite the joker and can quote the best lines from ALL the movies he watches, verbatim; like some kind of sickness, he can’t help himself! At times it was like having Robin Williams or Cartman doing a stand-up routine in my house. Scott and I vacationed in Germany & London for Bruce’s retirement in 2010, and most recently hit the race track at Talladega last October.
Graduating from Oregon State in 2013, Eric was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Kelsey continued her studies at Oregon Tech; finishing her Senior externship at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Eric was attending a Tech school in Baltimore. I knew Eric and Kel had been in touch more after she moved to Pennsylvania. One day at work, I get a text from Eric, asking if he can date my daughter…I screamed rather loudly and scared the girls in the office! Giving my full approval, Joyce invited Kelsey to come for Thanksgiving and they started dating – for real! Yikes!!! Joyce and I always teased each other about our kids dating but never expected it to actually happen. Eric proposed to Kelsey last September and we are planning a wedding for this August. I know, I know, you are probably thinking, how on earth can this possibly work? Seriously, I don’t know what the future holds. I do know, our families are interchangeable. Eric is respectful of Kelsey’s job as a Vascular Ultrasound Tech and her on-call duties. They have a love for movies, books, trivia, adore board games, and started rock climbing. They competed in the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon this past December and are training for another in April. It makes me smile to think of the wonderful life they will share. Especially when that life will include the rest of the Kenney Family. I warned Kelsey that no matter what happens with them as a couple, I am keeping Eric and of course, I am keeping my best friend Joyce. Never in a million years, did I ever really think Joyce and I would be planning this wedding! Leslie