Saturday, May 25, 2019


A week ago when I attended Marissa's graduation, I wasn't expecting the emotions to be so strong. Of course, she graduated from the same school, and in the same venue as Adam did 13 years ago. I remember Adam's graduation strongly (not Eli's and Cal's so much)- where we sat, the Val and Sal speeches, Justin dancing across the stage, finding Adam in the throng afterwards to get pictures, having the Tuttle and Vick grandparents there, Adam attending the after grad river boat cruise and excitedly telling us about the hypnotist who made his friend believe a one dollar bill was a hundred dollar bill the entire night.

So, as I sat by myself I was both in the moment, and back in the moment of watching my first graduate high school. It was okay, it really was. I did tear up, well flagrantly cry, when the choir sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which I did in 2006, 2011 and 2012 as well.

Friday, May 03, 2019


I have been lucky, not once, but twice in the Mother-in-law department. My first mother-in-law was Colleen (pronounced Coal-een, the Midwestern way). I was engaged then married to her oldest of four boys. I don't remember not feeling welcome and loved by Colleen, so it must have been at first sight. She may have made everyone feel this way, but I thought at the time I was special. And she certainly reinforced this over the years.

When the divorce happened, she never let that get in the way our relationship, or her relationship with her first grandson, Adam. In fact, she went out of her way to keep us all connected. We spent several weekends with the Tuttles after I built another family. Everyone was included in the Husker celebrations, and the door always open for travelers and guests whatever the occasion.

My memories of Colleen are that of a cyclone whipping through life, from early morning till late at night. Even her favored wine didn't really slow her down. She could accomplish more in a day than I could in a week or even a month. Cooking, cleaning up, shopping, driving, visiting; the schedule Colleen kept was dizzying. I found this lifestyle, along with not being afraid to drop a dollar or fifty, intoxicating. I grew up slow, frugal, rather lazy, so this Tuttle style was new to me. *one odd little foible I picked up from her was wiping down the counters with a dishtowel, and throwing it haphazardly in the wash. My own mother was very particular about only wiping one's hands on the dishtowel, and making them last for weeks without washing. Her use of a dishtowel seemed downright reckless.

Colleen pursued her passions viciously. Going back to college, being a foster parent, starting a business (Trypps), starting another business (tanning spa), helping Gary with his business, selling balls that replaced dryer sheets, Hy-vee tester, and finally the Red Cross. I'm sure I missed a dozen other ventures in there. Every new undertaking was the "best" "most incredible, important" work. It was hard not to believe in it, too.

Colleen took me on girly outings she couldn't do with her boys. I felt like she was showing me off, in fact, to her friends and everyone in the town of Norfolk. After the divorce, she continued to send gifts and remember my birthday. I have so many memories of Colleen, but most of all the way she made feel like the most special girl in her life.