We had both been through a lot... . We drove over two thousand miles to get to DFW. We were both tired, and although we were both very sad about leaving Ohio... we both knew we needed to somehow start our new life.
The divorce had been very hard for me. Eighteen years... the girl next door married the boy next door. We were scared, but we were in love... and we had dreamed about it since the middle of high school. And now... it had all come to an end. A very sad, very tearful end.
My daughter was more the brave one than I was. The TV show "Dallas" was very big in Cleveland. We watched it every Friday night... my daughter and I. It all looked so "new." And... it all looked so warm. I had done some market studies, some cost-of-living studies, and some studies on all the local school districts in DFW... all from two thousand miles away.
I made one trip... a scouting trip... very early in 1982. I had picked out Plano... mainly because of the schools. I had read so many wonderful things about the Plano schools... and the most important thing for me to be sure of... in deciding where we would relocate to... was the schools.
On my scouting trip I visited just about every elementary school in Plano, and after touring the school with the Principal, and talking with several of the teachers, and quite a few of the students there... I finally found a school I was happy with. I finally found a school I felt comfortable sending my fifth grade daughter to.
The last thing I did on my scouting trip was rent a duplex. The present tenants were moving out at the end of February, 2002. Perfect. We arrived at the duplex very early that Friday morning in March. I wasn't going to send my daughter to school for only a partial day that day. I thought we could get settled over the weekend, but she wanted to go... so that's what we did. I drove her straight to school. We both sat there and watched the empty school yard... all the kids were inside. As my"baby" started to get out of the car... she turned to me and tried to talk, although her sniffly nose and tearfilled eyes could barely get the words out.
Please, please, please... she said. "Promise me you'll be here on time to pick me up after school. I don't want to get lost trying to walk home." I promised her... I'll be here better than on time... I'll be here early.
So later that day... about ten minutes before school was out... there I sat... early... waiting for my "little lost baby" to come walking out of her new school. I strained and strained my eyes... waiting for this one, single girl to come walking towards my car. Then, finally... I spotted her. But... she wasn't alone. There she was... with three other girls... walking towards my car. I quickly rolled down the window as she came up to the car and said to me...
I know you're here to pick me up... but can I please walk home with my friends ?
As I watched her walk away with her three new friends... my eyes filled with tears. For the first time in months... I said to myself... "I think we're really going to be... OK !