2012.01.04 No, she's more like me

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

My wife and I have been fighting over the soul of our youngest daughter, Maddie. Colleen claims there’s more of her in Maddie’s recent life; I know that it’s much more of me.

Maddie has branched out in life since leaving high school here. She’s gone in directions we never would have expected. I watch them with great amusement and I see glimpses of myself in her actions.

Wait a minute! says Colleen. She sees the connections with her life.

For me, I think it started with Maddie’s summer of 2009 when she decided to earn some science credits in Wyoming. She took a geology class in the Rockies, near the Grand Tetons. Colleen doesn’t give a darn about geology, but for me, that’s important stuff.

Hold on. Colleen is reciting the kinds of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic. She’s claiming that earth science was her favorite class in junior high. Maybe so, but she’s never read John McPhee’s “Annals of a Former World.” I even own the book.

Maddie’s summer away from home reminded me of when I escaped Morenci and went north to work as a dishwasher in Bay View north of Petoskey.

Maddie returned to the geology camp this past summer to work for a few weeks and she even washed some dishes.

Colleen will talk about the summers she went north from New York City to work on farms. That’s true, but it was high school. She gets some points for that connection, but not quite as many as I earn. Maddie was still a home-body in high school.

Maddie made some friends at the camp that she still has strong connections with and that’s what happened to me up north. Some life-long friends came from my dishwashing days. I don’t think Colleen has ever visited her farm associates.

All three of us can meet in a common space on this point: We all earned somewhat worthless college degrees. I was a psychology major. Colleen went with an multidisciplinary social science major. Maddie has a bachelor’s in non-science based environmental studies.

You can see where this got her parents, for better or for worse. As someone once pointed out, between the newspaper and the library, we’ve cornered the market on the flow of information in this city.

Colleen can’t match this one. For additional science credits, Maddie signed up for a course in coastal studies. It was mostly six weeks of snorkeling off the coast of Cambodia and Thailand. Toughest 12 credits she ever earned.

Come to think of it, I can’t match that one, either. However, it’s her most recent venture where I claim kinship. She finished college, worked over the summer, and embarked on her West Coast Tour. She just went away for a few weeks, to parts sort of unknown. In my mind, this equates to the summer of 1975 when I set off for parts unknown on a bicycle.

Things have changed since then. We probably had contact with Maddie every day of her travels. And my poor parents? I think I called home twice that summer. There were no cell phones then. I was mostly in Canada and long-distance phone calls were expensive.

Maddie’s next experience involves a one-way ticket to New Zealand. It’s not that she plans to stay; she just doesn’t have a firm return date. 

She’s going to see the country through the WWOOF program. You work on an organic farm for a couple of weeks, then perhaps move on to another. Free room and board in exchange for your labor. 

Colleen is making the claim here because of her two farm summers. Sure, but I did that, too, only it was all in my head. When I wanted to do the rural hippie thing, I couldn’t leave my job, so I just read about it and lived it in my imagination.

Among our many similarities, I’ve thought all along that I have one experience that Colleen never had and Maddie will never get: hitchhiking. Maddie scared us well enough by arranging rides down the West Coast via Craig’s List, but I know I have her topped with my extensive hitchhiking.

Then came an e-mail from her. Friendly New Zealand is a great place to hitchhike. She’s got me there; I’m never going to be able to match that girl. Colleen and I can just call a truce and fret about the next few months together.

My summer of bicycling through Canada? My many days of standing alongside the road? Sorry about that, Mom and Day. I think it’s time for some parental payback.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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