“I quit college and found a job in a public relations office. It was the first time I’d been on my own. I had my own place and a kitty. Life was good.”
I had quit college. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to be a teacher and I was floundering. I had family in Kansas City, Missouri and one of my cousins happened to be in town and he was driving back. I thought, “I’m going to go and see what happens.” I went and found a job in a public relations office. It was the first time I’d been on my own. I had my own place and a kitty. Life was good. My dad was working in the mill at the time, so he had 16 weeks of vacation. He would come out and stay six or seven weeks with me. That was really cool because we could hang around and do all kinds of things.
At some point I thought, “I need to get affiliated with a church.” I joined a Lutheran church in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. I was teaching Sunday school and my dad came to visit. My dad’s a mason and wears his Masonic pin very proudly. Being young and not very savvy about church stuff, I did not realize that I had joined a Missouri Synod Church. My dad, knowing that it was Missouri Synod, knew what response that pin might generate. That was in 1973. The people were very gracious, kind, and welcoming to him, and I never heard anyone say anything to me like, “Well, you’re not one of us.” It was a great place to be and I’m happy I stayed grounded with the church, even though I wasn’t living at home.