No, I’m not pregnant.
One thing I love most about coming home to Kentucky is seeing familiar faces from long, long ago. Mom and I were in Sureway (that’s a grocery store in this area) yesterday and as I walked through the automatic sliding doors I heard a voice shout, “Oh my gosh, it’s Nicole Marie!” (Do you think it’s strange someone called me by my first and middle name? Personally, I did not find it shocking.) I turn around, but don’t see anybody. I look right, no one there. I look left, then down, and there’s Mrs. R., the secretary of my no-longer-existing elementary school! She gives me the biggest hug she can muster – she’s 4-foot-five and 100 pounds soaked.
According to Mrs. R, I haven’t changed a bit. (Neither has she!) Well, actually, I have. I’m nearly two feet taller and not only have I grown up, but I’ve grown around too. We do the 20-year-life-story-in-10-minutes and suddenly we’re caught up on each other’s lives in an instant. She still lives in the same house, with the same husband, a few old dogs and a couple new ones, plus a few new cats. I live in Texas, married a wonderful man, and teach middle school social studies in Fort Worth. She says I’m heroic for teaching 7th graders but “angelic” for being at a school with almost 1,400 students. Where I grew up and attended elementary school, there were 120 people in the school building — that included students, teachers, Mr. C the janitor/fixer-upper-man, the cooks in the kitchen, and Mrs. N, the principal. Very. Small. School. After I graduated from the sixth grade in 1996, Robards Elementary School was closed a few days later.