Lessons Learned, Part 2

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This is Reggies’s story…Part One is here.  

See that picture?  That’s what most people think of when they think of Virginia Beach.  And part of the Tidewater area does look like that touristy ocean scene, the statue of Neptune, the boardwalk.  At Christmas you can drive your car on the boardwalk and there’s miles and miles of lighted aquatic themed sculptures.  It’s gorgeous, even if fish and dolphins don’t scream Christmas for you.

But that’s not where I grew up.  Sure, I’ve been to the beach, especially when I was older.  But I grew up in Newport News — yeah, the same place where pit bull-owning, NFL quarterback Michael Vick grew up.   Near the shipyards because my dad was Navy and worked there.  That’s what my mom always said, though I didn’t know him because he never married my mom and he didn’t hang around long after I was born.  But most people don’t know where Newport News is anyway, so I just say I’m from Virginia Beach.

The only guy I ever called Dad was my mom’s first husband, Tom, and I think he married her when I was about two or three.  He was a nice guy and was good to me and mom, but he was Navy, too.  One day we stood at the docks waving goodbye to him and crying as he shipped out to the Middle East.  That was the last time I saw him, waving to us in his desert camos, because he never came back.   He never came back to me and mom because a sniper’s bullet took him out.  And that’s when my mom started having a drink or two just to get through the nights.  It wasn’t out of control or anything, she still worked and I still stayed with the nice old lady next door, Mrs. Boyd, while my mom was gone.

We were okay for awhile, but then I was about ten and old Mrs. Boyd moved away, I think in with one of her kids.  We couldn’t afford a sitter, so I was a latchkey kid.  I was getting off the bus and letting myself in, starting dinner, doing homework.  I was always kind of old for my age anyway.  So when mom got home and had a beer or two or three, it was fine cause I handled stuff.  And she was never really drunk, just happy instead of crying all the time.

When I was in middle school, she got a different job making more money and met a guy at work and she started dating.  And then they both were partying and drinking more and smoking some dope and I’m not really sure what all else.  He became stepdaddy number two.

If it weren’t for a few friends at school, I have a feeling I’d have ended up just like my mom.  But my best friend at school since fourth grade was Bobby Williams.  We were in the same class and he was smart and nice and asked if I could come over and hang out.  And from that moment on, we were just best friends.  Even though there were some other kids who hung out with us from time to time, Bobby was my best friend.  I spent a lot of time at his house and lots of times Mrs. Williams would ask if I could stay and have dinner with them.  I just thought she was nice, but later I figured out that she knew how my mom was and felt sorry for me, too.

Some of my best childhood memories are of hanging out on the Williams’ front porch, drinking sweet tea and catching fireflies in the summer when school was out.  We’d lay on our backs and look up at the moon and stars and just let ourselves dream.  Sometimes in the summer I stayed overnight and shared Bobby’s sister’s room.  I always had to call and ask my mom if she needed me to come home or if it was okay to stay.   It was always okay.  It got so I usually had pajamas and jeans and t-shirts at the Williams’ house anyway, so it was easy to stay.

All this went through my mind as I was sitting on the Southwest flight to Virginia Beach.  It’s less than a two hour flight from Chicago and I didn’t really feel like reading so I just sat and let the memories wash over me.  I must have drifted off a little, because the next thing I knew we were bumping down gently after circling over Chesapeake Bay and coming in for our landing.  I got my carry on bag down and made my way to baggage claim, turning my phone back on as I deplaned.  It vibrated a little and I saw Rhia Williams’ name come up. Rhiannon is Bobby’s sister and she and I are still friends after all this time.  Yeah, their parents really liked Fleetwood Mac.

I’m outside waiting.   Can’t wait to see you, Reggie!

Me, either,  I typed.  Are you in the garage or by the lot?

On the street by the lot.

Be there in a few.

🙂

My bag came up soon and I moved quickly through the airport, anxious to see Rhia.  It had been a few years since I’d been home.

~Diane D.                                                                 Photo credit: Pinterest

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40 responses

  1. A good write. Looking forward to see where this is going.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me, too! It plays in my head constantly now. Thank you, I’m glad you’re liking it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, please continue. Love that image too. I will have to make a trip down there to see it with Allie.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My sister has lived in VA Beach for years, we will go there this summer. Lots to do there!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will have to stop by one day. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good backstory. We’re all rooting for Reggie, now. Love the Fleetwood Mac reference! Anticipation is killing me! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, too much backstory?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, not at all. You moved through it quickly but gave us enough information to gauge the way her childhood has shaped the woman she’s become. Perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, I’m glad you liked it.

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  4. It’s great! I was totally caught up in it!

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    1. Thank you, so sweet of you to say!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like this and got lost in this! It is authentic and real!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally got lost in this episode and I really like it, I loved Jamie, but this is gripping and a different kind of story!!!!

        Like

      2. Good, I wanted to do something a little heavier. I’m so glad you liked it

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am glad you are doing something heavier I like it!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I go there all of the time…Didn’t read the story,but I will. The boys dance on Richmond Ballet and that’s where we go to decompress ❤ Makes me motivated to write my story…<3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sister has lived there for years, BIL is retired naval officer. We go at least every other year. We’ll visit this summer when their pool is open!

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      1. My husband’s uncle (RIP) was based out to there too. He was a marine. I think his aunt still lives there. We go there at least once a year on our anniversary in august. I love, love, love the life is good store and I always get a new tervis cup. We usually have dinner at the Ruth’s downtown in Virginia Beach…It really is a small world. I’ll put up some of my pics that I have from Virginia Beach.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fun! It’s a great vacation place and were lucky to have a base there. My sister’s place is like a 5 star hotel, lol, with an in ground salt water pool. We are so lucky. I tease them about it and now they put chocolates on our pillows!

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      3. Lucky you !!! We usually stay at the Hilton in a corner suite, right there by that statue you put up on your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like this segment of Reggie’s story. It is cool how she stayed friends with her childhood friend, Rhiannon. Nicely and realistically written. Her back story is compelling, Diane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robin. I’m hoping to have her story be a little grittier than Jamie’s. Glad you’re liking it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And always nice to have an “inside track” with a sister of someone who may become special someday!

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  8. Love this, another great story that I look forward to seeing what will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Joan, thanks so much! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You’ve created a good background. Waiting to see where you are taking it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jackie! I wish I had time to just sit and write, I’m enjoying the storywriting so much!

      Like

  10. I like the way we’re getting to know Reggie. You’re painting a vivid picture of her and she’s very likeable. Look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, wanted to try something a little different with her story. I’m glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] This is Reggies’s story…Part One is here, Part Two is here. […]

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  12. […] it’s been awhile since I added an installment to Reggie’s story!  You can find Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here if you’d like a […]

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  13. […] is Reggie’s story. You can find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 here if you’d like a […]

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  14. […] synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5  for the complete story  especially if you’re new to my […]

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  15. […] synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 6 and 7 for the complete story, especially if you’re new to my […]

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  16. […] synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 6, 7 and 8 for the complete story, especially if you’re new to my […]

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  17. […] you’ve missed any of Lessons Learned, you can read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 6, 7 and 8 for the complete story or find last week’s Part 9 […]

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  18. Oh, anticipation increases. I hope this trip is a good one for her.

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