A small flame

A small flame

Down Memory Lane - Ninth & Tenth Grade

This is the eleventh post in a series of 12 posts scheduled by Mommy's Piggy Tales, which encourages women to record stories from their childhood for future generations to enjoy.


I'm not sure how I've come this far in my story without writing about Serah. My story isn't complete without her!

Serah and I became friends {well, as much as was possible for toddlers, I suppose} when I was three and she was four. That was when she and her family moved from a village way up in the mountains to our little coastal town so her papa could become the pastor of the church my parents worked with in Madang.

{Through the years my Dad has never really pastored a specific church, always striving instead to train and install national men as pastors while he served in more of an overseer role for around 20 churches.}

Aanyway . . . Serah.

the first picture I have of Serah and me

Serah and I were friends from my earliest memories. We sat together in church, played together after church or while our mamas were busy teaching ladies meetings on Saturday afternoons. I had her over for sleep overs as often as our parents would allow, and she was a necessary part of each of my birthday celebrations. She is in nearly every birthday picture I have, except of course for the birthdays when I was on furlough. In high school, our favorite birthday activity was to have an Anne of Green Gables marathon and watch all 7 hours in one sitting.

my eighth birthday

out for dinner at a fancy restaurant for my 13th birthday

my 18th birthday

She funny & loyal and, in a world where people sometimes wanted to be my 'friend' just for what they thought I could give them, she blessed me with the gift of true friendship.

One of my favorite funny memories of Serah happened sometime during my high school years. We were in the kitchen, baking, when she cracked an egg to add to the mix and, somehow, the egg missed the bowl and slipped onto the counter. As we tried to grab it, it slithered between our fingers and onto the floor. Serah looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said '
Oh brothah!' That purely American phrase coming from her lips tickled us both so much we could hardly clean up the mess for laughing. . . . I guess maybe you just had to be there ;o)

in matching meri blaus and laplap sets - the national costume of PNG

I have lost contact with her now, as I have with everyone else I knew and loved in my first life. I often think of her and hope she is well & happy.

shortly before I left PNG


The year I was a sophomore in high school was another furlough year for us. It's funny to think that furloughs make up only 3 of my growing up years - they seemed like a much greater part of my life than just 3 years.

I've gotta say that I had a love-hate relationship with furloughs. Thinking about it now, I guess furloughs were hard because they highlighted the fact that I didn't actually 'belong' anywhere. When we were in Papua New Guinea, I was one of the only {few} white faces in the crowd. And, as familiar as I was with the culture and surroundings, I was still too foreign - too American - to fully belong.

When we came to the U.S. on furlough, I no longer stood out visually, but I discovered that I was too foreign to belong in America. I didn't know the 'in' music or movies, had no idea about the latest fads and fashions, and was singled out in every church we visited as the 'real life missionary kid'. These people meant well, I'm sure, but sometimes I wished I could be ordinary enough to not draw any special attention.

Furlough wasn't all bad, though. The year I was a sophomore our furlough travels included visits to lots of famous sight-seeing destinations.

explored San Fransisco,

stood beside Niagara Falls,

climbed all 354 steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty,

ate free chocolate samples at the Hershey factory,

visited Valley Forge,

Philadelphia's Independence Hall

and the Liberty Bell,

and explored Washington D.C.

We walked on the beach at Kitty Hawk,

spent time at the Kennedy Space Center,

Epcot Center
& the Magic Kingdom.

We marveled at the huge figures
carved into Stone Mountain in Georgia,

and even got up at in the wee hours of one morning
to watch the space shuttle Atlantis blast into space.

that really is me ;o)

Then, we went 'back to Normal' {Illinois, that is} and settled down in a house my parents had rented near our sending church. I had nightmares about making the leap from home-school in PNG to a 'real' high school in America, but my fears were largely unfounded. Although that whole year was a bit of a struggle internally for me, the Lord provided a couple of girls who became good friends. I soaked up the experiences of being in a vocal choir and chime choir that went all the way to national competitions. Our chime choir even placed first at nationals!

the night I was inducted into the Honor Society

I did very well academically too, becoming part of the honor society and getting my name in 'Who's Who Among American High School Students'. . . but enough braggin' ;O)

It was a whirlwind year and before I knew it we were packing up, saying goodbyes {again!} and boarding a series of planes back to PNG. This home-coming felt different to me though since I knew that I only had 2 years left before I would be returning to the U.S. for college.


Becky said...

What wonderful memories! And it's always hard to cope when you feel "out of place" - especially as a teenager - but it looks like you did great. Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Very interesting post with the documentation photos with your dear friend for years. Lovely.

You certainly did have some good family travels to landmarks.

I'm glad you were able to have positive experiences in "Normal" Ill.

Beth (Elizabeth) LaMie said...

That is so terrific that you have both the photos and the stories about your dear friend. It has been interesting getting to know you thru your posts.