August 17, 1997 – Sunday – 2:00 p.m.

I have turned 21-years-old.  For me, the summer ends today.  RD training is over.  RA training is beginning.  I have moved to the McAlister RD apartment.  I have unpacked.  All I need to do now is decorate my walls.

Over the past week, I have had three different letters written to me from three different girls:

“Jacob, I just wanted to thank you for being my friend and welcoming me so kindly.  Without you I would have spent these past three weeks all alone in my room.  You are a very sweet guy and I’m going to miss you.  I wish I could stay longer.  Time sure does fly!  I wish this summer didn’t have to end, but I guess all good things have to end eventually.  I will always remember these three weeks as the highlight of my summer.  Thank you for giving me a chance to become your friend.  You will never be forgotten!  Love, Jeanine”

“Hey Jacob, that’s really cool about your deer encounter.  I want to go up there and meet it.  Yes, I’m going to accept the RA job.  I’m already thinking about what programs I want to do.  Did I tell you about my wedding?  No, it’s not anytime soon, I don’t have a guy, I just decided where I want it to be.  Cannonball Mesa!  It’s this cool place out in the middle of nowhere.  I rode out on my bike to the end of the mesa and looked out at the landscape.  The wind was blowing.  I’m going to get married there when the sun rises to symbolize new beginnings and it will be beautiful.  Guess what??  I was thinking today and I decided to rewrite my rules of dating.  I decided it was unrealistic to say that I would only date a guy I would marry because I don’t know what kind of guy I want to marry.  Also, I’ve only been involved with two guys in my life and neither of them had any kind of respect for me.  I don’t even know what a good relationship is.  Love, Jessica”

“Jacob, let me start by saying I love you and end it with thanking you for helping me find my missing part and as we speak it’s being filled with God’s love.  I am so thankful for your awesome friendship and how much you have helped me realize that God is a major part of my life and he will help me through everything!  If it wasn’t for your love and willingness to help, I would never have been so close to the Lord and Jesus.  Thank you so much!  I love you with all my heart and really appreciate everything that you have helped me with this summer.  Thanks for everything.  This has been the best summer of my life and it wouldn’t be complete without you and the wonderful Lord.  Jacob, I feel so much better now that I’ve found him.  I am almost going to cry because I feel so free, just like you and your eagles.  I’m going to miss you so much.  Please write me all the time and send me e-mail too.  I know I will write you all the time!  When the summer comes again, I hope you will be here and definitely Thanksgiving because I’m coming up then.  I can’t wait to see you if you’ll be up here.  If I don’t get to see you over the summer, please keep writing and give me your address to where you are and I will always write to you…my future husband!  Thanks for our perfect friendship!  Please keep in touch.  Happy 21st birthday!  Love, Marisa.”

Jeanine has gone back to Concord.

Jessica will be here a week from Tuesday.

Marisa left for Florida today.

Take care of them Lord.

August 12, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:40 p.m.

All of the summer theater people are gone.  The season is over.  That story is finished.

Lindy and I in the box office.  Marisa and I talking until two in the morning.  Jeanine and I walking in the darkness of Hemlock Hill.  These are the girls that summer theater brought me.  And with each one I shared Jesus.

One girl who came along, but not because of summer theater, is Sherlive.  And I pray I am never without her friendship.

Allen has also kissed Crystal.  He does not anticipate or plan these things.  Girls are just all over him these days.  Neither of us know why.

RD training is going well.  I am now CPR and first-aid certified.  I move into McAlister by the end of the week.  New Freshman arrive a week later.  Jessica, Abigail, Josh, and all are returning.

But Curtis will not be.

Hello.

Goodbye.

July 20, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

On Saturday, I worked a lot on my screenplay.  Did I mention that I bought a word processor on the fourth of July?  I’m really enjoying it.

New summer theater people moved in today.  There are kids on my hall from ages 12 to 18, two guys and two girls.  And a new girl from Sanford moved in downstairs.

Church was great today, both the morning and evening services.  I’m really enjoying Brent’s teaching.  This evening Sharon and Paul had a cookout.  All of us guys went over and so did Sherlive.  She is such a cool girl.  There are times when I see her and I don’t think she is that pretty, but then she smiles and I find her so amazingly beautiful.  Bless her God.

Life is moving along.

Marisa is back.  She came and saw me first thing; she knows who cares.  She sees that her well being is important to me.  I hope she sees God in me and longs to be around Him.

Love never fails.

I’m looking forward to Jessica coming back.  As well as Amber and Monica.  My final year  at Lees-McRae is approaching quickly.  This room in Tennessee Dorm will only be my home for a little more than three weeks.

I’m excited about the leaves changing in three months.  As well as the snow coming afterwards.

1998.

How quickly my college years have flown by.

And how quickly the rest of my life will too.

June 15, 1997 – Sunday – 9:15 a.m.

Yesterday was one of the best days of the summer so far.

I was allowed to eat breakfast in the cafeteria that morning since I worked Orientation.  I ate with two different families.  They asked me questions about the school and about me.  It was fun talking to them.

For the rest of the morning I sat at a desk and checked people out of their rooms.  I helped a mother measure her daughter’s room to she could hang curtains for her, then we ate lunch together.  There was a drawing for a $200 scholarship.  I drew the name and it was Monica from Houston, Texas.  She was happy and thanked me.

After lunch, I drove her and Amber to Johnson City, TN.  I had such a wonderful time.  Our drive was really nice.  We talked the whole hour and a half drive.  Amber is engaged and Monica has a crooked chin like me.  I felt so comfortable with them.  We had a nice time to spare, so we went to the mall.  Monica bought some CDs and we looked at some tennis dresses.  Some were hanging up high and we couldn’t reach them, so Monica bent down on one knee and I tried to jump up off her other knee, but I missed and knocked a whole bunch of other clothes down.  We all had a great laugh.

We ate lunch in the mall and had 11 cent ice cream cones.  Amber and Monica were amazed at how nice people were here.  They were impressed with how nice I was.  They really seem to love the simplicity of the land.

We put a quarter in the little machine that would tell us if we were underweight or overweight.  They were within their ideal weight, but I was 21 pounds underweight.

I dropped them off at the airport after the mall.  My drive home was so nice.  I put the radio on a Christian radio station and just relaxed.  The mountains were so big and green.  Small rain drops decorated my windshield.  Knowing I just made two new friends, replaying in my mind what we did that day: throwing a Nerf football in the toy store, watching them as they modeled a bunch tennis dresses for me (they looked amazing in each one), and me getting toilet paper for Amber from the guys’ bathroom at a run down gas station.

I really had no idea how to get home.  I was a little lost, but finally found my way through the Eastern Tennessee country side.  As I was driving into North Carolina, I kept thinking of Sharon and her girls and how Hannah begged for me to come over last Sunday, but I was busy.  So, I thought I would surprise them.

They were having a cookout for Father’s Day and for Sharon’s dad’s birthday.  They invited me to stay.  The food was delicious.  After dinner, Hannah and I went for a walk down to the Snowflake Inn.  I hadn’t been there since Vince was looking at Melissa, I was looking at Laura, and Hannah, well she was leading the way.

But this time it was just Hannah and I.  How beautiful that little cabin is.  I long for it to be my home.  Hannah and I opened a window and looked inside.  And all I could think was, “Jessica sure would like this place.”

We took a longer walk back and Hannah kept trying to push me in all the mud puddles.  I kept trying to jump out of the way.  We couldn’t stop laughing.  Just an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old as free as they could be.

I left their house at 8:15 p.m. on June 14, 1997.  I came home and fell asleep, but Samarah called me asked me if I could stay with Mangus.  I did.  I slept over there and awoke to the tall oriental cat licking the sleep out of my eyes.

Father’s day of 1997!  What a lovely life I’m living.

June 14, 1997 – Saturday – 1:00 a.m.

Orientation was today.  I met some soon to be new students; two beautiful tennis players from Texas named Monica and Amber.  I will drive them to the airport tomorrow.  I also met a new Performing Arts major named Sarah.

I spent some time with Kim, she’s part of the orientation committee.  We talked and laughed a lot together.  She complemented me on my hair.  And I worked with Lindy in the box office.  We have such a good time, just hours of laughter.  I later watched the NBA championship with Samarah, played with Mangus, Allison and Craig’s cat, and visited with Tracey, Jeni, and Ann-Marie.

And now I’m in my bed in the middle of the night.  I just mentioned nine different girls.  I wonder if any of them are Her?  Right now the closest thing feels to be the Durango postcard on my wall.  There’s a foot and four inches between us, but we often seem to be on the same level.  I went and took a picture of her favorite tree the other day.

I like it when I miss people.  Reminds me that they really do matter.  You can’t miss someone unless you first genuinely share your life with them.

June 11, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:15 p.m.

Life is good.  I go running every morning and I sleep in the peace of Jesus every night.  I pray and read his word every day.  I talk with friends in the afternoon at the box office and get paid for it.  I spent Sunday evening with Dawn until about 11:00 p.m.  She and Derek aren’t together anymore.  Derek wants to date other people.  I’ve seen all this happen before.

I’ve been trying to witness to Samarah, she is the RA in Canon this summer.  We went shopping the other night and had fun.  She feel so far from God at the moment.  Lindy and I have been talking about God and my faith a little.  I can’t help but talk about Jesus these days.

Rachel has been emailing me.  She wants me to go to a Chrysalis weekend in Virginia.  I’m going to try to go.  Its the first weekend in August.

Orientation is this weekend.  I’m going to help check people in and then on Saturday I’m driving two girls back to the airport.  Next week is Vacation Bible School.  I’m playing the main character of a play I wrote for the week.

The summer seems to be flying by so fast.  June is nearly half over.

Jessica still might get to be an RA.  One girl got a full scholarship and doesn’t need the job anymore.  I was so happy when I found that news out.

 

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 4:35 p.m.

A was awakened this morning by an amazing thunderstorm.  It was so loud.  Lightning was all around.

Then, I checked my mail and discovered a postcard from Jessica:

“Jacob, this is a funny story.  I went to church on Wednesday, to the Bible Missionary Church.  I didn’t know what it was, but they had a nice log cabin.  It turned out to be the Gideons, I think.  I walked in 10 minutes late with wet hair, shirt untucked, hiking boots, and all the women and girls had their hair in buns and braids, dressed really conservatively.  They were staring at me.  They were really nice though; I think I’ll go back. You never know, I may turn out to be a decent wife someday.  And I’ve been cleaning all week!

Love,

Little Jessica Homemaker.”

Her postcard was so beautiful.  Man, I miss that little girl.