Reflecting back on my life’s journey, from Southern California to Oregon to Northern California to Oregon to Ohio to Florida to Oregon to Las Vegas to Florida to Oregon to California… well, the common thread in all of this is Oregon. It was that first leg, San Francisco to Oregon, that began the journey of truth. But truly the journey began before then. To understand the journey, it’s important to reflect back on that very first move to Oregon when I was sixteen.
I’d just spent a fabulous year in high school. It was a brand new high school and the sophomores would be the first graduating class and, therefore, have opportunities other people didn’t have. My class would always be the upperclassmen.
I was the first editor-in-chief of the yearbook. I named the yearbook The Reflector. I acquired many skills I would use later in my publishing career. I also learned business skills when soliciting advertising for the yearbook. I learned leadership and teamwork skills as I bore most of the work but worked together with the few supporters I had.
I was placed in advanced classes in English and History and bonded with those classmates who would later advance to UCI, a school known back then for admitting the brightest students. I auditioned for a solo part in the spring program Oliver, and got it. I auditioned for the concert choir and the girl’s choir for the next year and was accepted. Yes, I had many opportunities at a younger age than most. I had so much to look forward to and my future started then. Boyfriends, college, marriage, and future kids.
Then my family moved to Oregon. But it wasn’t just a move from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest that changed my life forever. The weather and culture was a big enough shock. But we also became active in my grandmother’s religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses. That changed everything!
No more singing in choirs – not allowed to sing Christmas songs. There would be no more Christmas. No more birthdays. No Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day. No more college plans. No dating–only in the context of a future marriage to another Jehovah’s Witness. Btw, women far outnumber men in the JWs so good luck with that – lol! Oh, and no saying “good luck” or “bless you” or “darn” – etc.
To jump ahead, when I left the JWs, I had much to catch up on – that first birthday, that first Christmas, college courses, etc. All of that was so triumphant but I’ll get to more of that later.
But back then, when my SoCal friends called me on my sixteenth birthday right after we arrived in Oregon and as much as I loved hearing from them, I cried afterwards. I was so depressed that I was in Oregon for such a milestone. That led to a recurring battle with depression, especially in dark climates and maybe why I love Las Vegas.
In the next few posts, I’m going to share what it was like to be a Jehovah’s Witness back then especially in rainy Oregon. Looking back, that move changed my life forever in a depressing way. But it also gave me the self-discipline to pursue a spiritual path. It was the seed planted that led me to my soul mate, my relationship with God, and the journey we would take together.
“All things work together for good” – Romans 8:28.
Next: Orange County to Oregon.