Stories of Nineteen

August 14, 2014

I have one more post from the Charleston/Florida trip coming but for today, I want to write on a different topic.) 

It’s almost time for another changing of the seasons in the Smith house as Sarah will be starting college this coming Monday.


Did I just type “Sarah” and “college” in the same sentence? Tell me it ain’t so!

I’ve been noticing some milestones this summer that have been steadily leading us ever closer to the Upcoming Momentous College Moment.

Here are a few of them:

Last week, Sarah wrote her first check from her very own checkbook.  (It was to Verizon for the monthly payment on her new phone.)

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She and I went and got groceries together and since she had to buy a few things for an event she was going to, she used her own cart. (And paid with her own debit card–another milestone.)

I looked at her pushing the cart across the parking lot and mentally fast forwarded to her doing the grocery shopping as a single woman, as a new wife, as a young mother. It will all be here before I know it.

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I did my big weekly shopping trip at the store where she works and of course I made sure to go through her line.

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What a joy to see my girl hard at work and doing such a good job.

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I watched her with her beloved brother and new nephew and heard the turning of the pages as roles changed and love expanded.

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And to top off the job, the checking account, and the beginning of college?

Sarah will turn nineteen on August 23.

I think of her turning nineteen and then I think of the birthdays from the past.

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And I think, “How did we get to nineteen? How did we get to this?”


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I can’t wait to see what stories of nineteen this year will bring.


What about you?

Think back to when you were around nineteen years old.

Where were YOU at in life?  Were you married? Working a full-time job?  Headed to college? Living at home? Living for the first time by yourself in a big city?  

We would all love to hear your stories of nineteen.






28 responses to Stories of Nineteen

  1. After I graduated from High School, I decided to ‘take a year off’ and work before going to college. That year turned into many, but that’s another story! =) Anyway, I took a job as a nanny. I loved this job! The family was just as nice and caring as could be! The father worked for Micron and the mother was an author. She worked from home, but many days she ran errands, went to meetings, worked at a different location, etc. They had 2 boys, ages 2 and 4 when I started. Through the years, I became part of the family. Those ‘boys’ are 22 and 20 now (yikes!) and I still keep in touch!
    I lived in an apartment with a roommate. I drove a ’92 Geo Storm. It was yellow with a black ‘bra’. And I lived in Boise.

    • Krista,

      How cool that you became such an important part of that family’s life and to still stay in touch. It must have meant the world to them to have such a caring, compassionate person to take of their sweet boys. And a yellow Geo Storm sounds like a pretty fun car! 🙂 (Anything yellow has got to be fun!)

  2. My 19th birthday was the best one. My family organized a surprise party and it was a real success, with me never suspecting a thing! In fact, when I arrived home and saw all those cars in our driveway (which was huge back then), I didn’t even think for one second that it would be for me! When I stepped into the house, the most significant people of my life were there. They applauded and sang happy birthday and I started to cry and cry and cry, from pure happiness (and surprise!). It was the last birthday I was celebrating home, as I was moving out of town to start medschool just a couple of months later. My entire 19th year was definitely one of the coolest of my life. And I’m wishing Sarah all the same!

    • Renee,

      I think it’s hilarious that you saw all those cars in your driveway (right ON your birthday) and never connected it to a surprise birthday party. 🙂

      What a sweet, wonderful memory to be surrounded by people who loved you on a such a special day!

  3. It’s still amazing to me that the little girl I sent a Pocahontas tape to is starting college! That time certainly has gone by in a flash, seems like I just did that yesterday. Sarah is certainly growing into a wonderful young woman and I am so glad to see her not only beat NB but leading the life that she chooses.

    • Anna,

      Yes, that Pocahontas tape was a very, very long time ago! 🙂 What a sweet thing that was to do.

      Thanks for the sweet words about Sarah–we’re excited to see where the rest of her life leads.

  4. Hmmm….19. It was the summer of 1978. I had just finished my freshman year in college for nursing. My mom was a single mom, we only had one car and I had used that to commute to the college the entire year. It became apparent that that setup couldn’t continue, that I needed my own car. So the only solution was to take a year off from school, work full-time and buy a car.
    So that’s what I did. A neighbor was a family doctor, I babysat their kids and worked in his office as an assistant. I commuted to the office with him, since I didn’t have a car yet. His wife was a nurse at the office.They were very helpful. He taught me how to draw blood and I helped him with his patients. It was very interesting. The college had tried very hard to dissuade me from taking a year off, saying that most people do not return. But I was a good student with straight A’s and knew I would return. And I did. One year later.
    I did not live at college until my senior year(my choice). And that senior year I actually did enjoy, I wasn’t sure I would but wanted to give it a try.

    OK, back to your pictures, I love the check writing one where one can just see Steve on the other side of Sarah, watching as she writes. 🙂

    • Leslie,

      What a great story! I applaud you for your stick-to-it-iveness!

      It would have been so easy to have quit and to have said it was just too hard but you kept on going. How great that you were able to work for a doctor and nurse and learn on the job stuff from them that you would also be studying at school–a perfect fit.

      Your story inspired me today.

      • Thank you Becky!

        • Leslie, your story inspired me too. What stands out to me is that you didn’t buy the vehicle on credit but took a whole year of your life off to earn the money needed for it, and that you were then able to return to school the following year. That shows determination and you are not afraid of hard work!

  5. Sarah is so grown up! I am sure she will do great in college. Let’s see.. 19 ?? I was taking classes at a community college trying to figure out what I wanted to ,while working 2 part time jobs. Later that year I went away to a different college and began my nursing classes.I was also dating the guy who became my husband 4 yrs later.. we just celebrated our 29th anniversary!

    • Michele,

      I love your 197?? The years kind of mush together, don’t they? 🙂

      Working two part-time jobs while going to school was a whole lot to juggle. And then changing colleges and meeting your husband and studying to be a nurse was a lot to add to it. Congrats on 29 years of marriage!

  6. Ooof… 19 was a rough year for me. I turned 19 a few weeks after finishing my freshman year of college, and just three weeks later, my father left. It was a year full of anger, tears, recriminations and a struggle to focus on school throughout it all.

    As I doubt Sarah needs to worry about that particular set of circumstances (*smile*), I wish her a great year full of fun and exciting firsts!

    • Kristina,

      Thanks so much for sharing a tough part of your life with us. Trying to concentrate on college in the midst of all those emotions you listed would be a terribly difficult load to carry in every sense of the word. You did well to hang on when such an important part of your life and your identity was falling apart.

      Thanks too, for your gracious good wishes for Sarah. It’ll be quite the adventure!

  7. I had finished my freshman year at NC Wesleyan and transferred to Campbell College (now University). The summer between I worked with the Head Start Program as a teacher’s aid and really enjoyed it. The teacher I worked with was a senior at Campbell so I got to learn about the school from her before getting there in Sept. Congrats to Sarah! College is great and you will do well. Proud of you.

    • Ann,

      How cool that the teacher you were with had gone to the same school you were headed for. Nothing like getting good advice from someone who had already ‘been there, done that!” And I can sure see you making a great Head Start aid. The kids would love you!

  8. I turned 19 the summer after my first year at college. I had started at Missouri University but transferred to Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) after the first year. That summer I worked as a cook in the morning at the local Methodist Church camp just outside my home town. In the afternoon, I threw two paper routes in my home town (KC Star and Springfield News-Leader). A busy summer but was making money to go back to school.
    Good luck to Sarah and her first year of college!

    • Phyllis,

      Throwing a paper route is not easy work–I did it, too! And of course, working as a cook is not a job for the faint of heart, either. I bet you slept well at the end of those work-packed summer days.

      It’s interesting that there are several commenters who have mentioned changing colleges after the first year or two.

      Thanks for your story!

  9. When I was 19 I was in college. When I graduated, my dear mother encouraged me to work on my own for a few year before getting married. She told me it was really important that I learn how to support myself, pay my own bills,have my own apartment, etc. So happy she gave me that advice. passing it on to my own kids. They joke that our family says you can’t get married util you are 27 (which is not really the rule but the age I got married hope Sarah spreads her wings! Such a beautiful young lady.

    • Lauren,

      Sounds like your mother was not only dear but also wise. That was good advice!

      Thanks for the sweet words of encouragement for Sarah.

  10. I was 19 when went off to college too. So long ago for me 🙂

  11. first year of college for me, too. loved being in NY (about 35 miles from nyc), but didn’t take a good advantage of all the great places to see in nyc. we were REALLY restricted in our overnights… thinking about four in our freshman year…. and we had to sign out whenever we left campus. One time, I actually collided with the glass on the phone booth, and had to go to the hospital for stitches, and even though the director of student development was driving me to the hospital, I had to go to the front desk to sign out. rather amusing now, but it wasn’t then.

    • Mrs. Pam,

      Yeah, that is definitely stringent to make a student sign out on the way to the hospital while being accompanied by director of student development! As you said, funny now! 🙂 It IS a shame you weren’t allowed to tour NYC more. What a place!

  12. Happy Birthday to Sarah! She is a beautiful young lady with so much promise and potential . I can’t wait to read the stories to come in the coming years about all the neat things she gets to do and experience and all the ways God continues to bless her and lead her life.

    Nineteen was a really hard year for me in many ways because it was the year my health issues began and it changed dramatically the course of my life and brought a lot of pain. But in the final month of my 19th year I met my husband. We met when we both joined a drama club at his church (I was invited by a friend)- the club would go around to different places and do Christian miming and choreographed dance etc. It is pretty funny that we met in a drama club since both of us are completely non-dramatic. Neither of us are very coordinated or having any acting abilities whatsoever, and it’s not like we are theatre buffs or have ever since been involved in drama in any way. So it is especially funny we met in a drama troupe!

    Also the graduation notice arrived in the mail- thanks!!

    • Jenna,

      So glad the card arrived safely!

      Loved the story of how you met your husband–two non-dramatic people in a drama club. Too funny! 🙂

      I’m glad you had that happiness to balance out the stress of the onset of your health problems. Nineteen is so young to have to deal with so much. It’s wonderful that your husband came into your life at just the time you especially needed someone to help lift your load.

  13. 19?? Ummmm well we got kicked out of our apartment in Pine level and our family had to go separate ways. So I went to live with Margy and Larry Haft. That Steve had arranged. It was the best of times it was the worst of times. But I managed. Sure do miss those two…. Happy early birthday Sarah!!

    • Catherine,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I had forgotten you had lived with the Hafts for awhile. They were truly some dear people!