American Past Time - $15.00

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American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Nicole is 22

Happy Birthday Nicole!

Nicole, our middle child, was supposed to arrive before Thanksgiving. When she hadn’t shown up by Pearl Harbor day, the Doctor decided to schedule an induced delivery on the 14th. Personally, I found that a very civilized approach – no plans interrupted, no having to race off to the hospital at three a.m., no long emotion-draining labor. It had been three years since Stephen’s birth, and I was a little rusty on all those Lamaze breathing techniques, but it all happened so quickly they weren’t really needed.

Nicole was not a smiley baby. She wasn’t fussy, but she didn’t smile much for those first few months. I think she was annoyed that she hadn’t been the first-born. Nicole liked to be first. Her brother had been a starter baby. Starter babies are a promotional item to encourage population growth. It’s like a drug dealer who gives out free samples. We figured we had discovered the magic formula for childrearing so we decided to have another kid and then we immediately discovered you have to start from scratch with each kid.

None of our clever manipulative tricks worked on Nicole. Threats were useless. She would just lock her jaw and stare at her plate and refuse to eat those goddamn peas no matter how much I ranted. Looking back now, I have to admire her determination. At the time my admiration was somewhat muted.

Ever since she could talk, maybe even before, Nicole wanted a dog. Suzanne was working two hundred hours a week, I was commuting back and forth from Phoenix and we had three little kids, one of whom was Nicole, so I said: never, out of the question, you’re too small, not this year, when you get older, when I sell my business, when all the hamsters die, when you're in high school, when… okay I give up. It took her ten years, but we got Sammy, The Wonder Dog. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made...

Nicole liked sports and she is a very good athlete. A good team player. She was on her high school’s volleyball and soccer teams. I loved watching her play. It was fun to see all that determination focused elsewhere.

Now she is in her 4th year at the School of the Art Institute. Her concentration is in fashion accessories. I could spend many blog pages bragging, but I know that would embarrass her, so I will just post pictures of some of her creations:

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