Jessica Helling and Jocelyn Lindsay couldn’t wait to tell me the news, even though our friendship was only a day old.
Both girls - seventh-graders at Lakes Middle School in Coeur d’Alene - had just learned their families were moving in the next few months.
Jessica offered her news as a simple announcement, without emotion or devastation. But Jocelyn widened her eyes to show her shock.
Jocelyn is as passionate about life as Jessica is tolerant. Both girls are 12. They want to be journalists and last month I was their mentor. They reminded me how tough it is sometimes to be a kid.
By the end of the mentorship, Jessica’s mother had changed her plans. The family didn’t have to move to Post Falls, which was lucky because maybe now Jessica will stay in one school long enough to get a report card.
“I’ve been in four schools in just seventh grade,” she wrote in a short essay for me. “Right when I like one place, someone tells me I am moving again.”
She’s a bright girl who keeps a mental map of each move. She figures she’s been uprooted 15 times in her mother’s search for stability. Jessica is sympathetic to her mother’s struggle. She’s also learned from it.
“The best thing about moving is that if I don’t like my last school I have a chance to start over in another school,” she wrote.
She seems immune to the pain of separation. Sadly, she’s used to it.
But Jocelyn isn’t. Her family will move to Seattle this summer after seven years in Coeur d’Alene. Unlike Jessica, Jocelyn has had time to become attached to her home.
“The first visit to the house I now live in is a day that I’ll never forget,” Jocelyn wrote in her essay. “When I saw the crooked white trellis with the chipped paint, the dead rose bushes and dry grass, I thought I was being punished.
“But now I love it. We all helped with the garden. And when we watered it, I would run between the rows, getting mud between my toes.”
Jocelyn’s wistfulness struck me as sweet and appropriate for a little girl. Jessica’s acceptance saddened me. She’s so young to be so resigned to life.
At least they know to write out their frustrations. It’s a good way to deal with life’s curves at any age.
Remember Katherine von Hagen, whose car plunged into Cave Lake during a snowstorm? She told her story so she could find her rescuers - and it worked.
Turns out her memory was a tad fuzzy. Coeur d’Alene’s Tom Troy and Ernie Pangallo pulled her from her car as water poured in. They’re loggers for Foss Maritime Co. Then, Greg Bergquist from St. Maries carried Katherine up the embankment and Greg Emerson, who works for Western Garnet in Coeur d’Alene took over.
Greg and his buddies called for help and sat with Katherine until help arrived. None of the men owned up to their heroics, but their wives and girlfriends told on them …
On the road again
Here’s another memory challenge. Remember Post Falls’ Kathy Spadt, who lost her car, job and home after expensive repairs were made to her car without her approval? Life looked pretty bleak until a few kind people offered help and the Spokane mechanic who had her car decided to release it to her.
Soon after Kathy got her car back, she found a job just as she said she would. A lot of people are wiser now about their car repairs, thanks to Kathy.
My daughter and I took our dog for a spring walk around Tubbs Hill on Easter, along with many other people and dogs. A few people let their dogs run unleashed, but leashed them when other dogs were near.
But one woman decided the hill belonged to her. She not only let her big dog run wild, she curtly refused to hold it while other dogs passed. “Why would I want to do that?” she said.
What rude encounters have you had? Gripe about them to Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814; fax to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@ spokesman.com.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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