The most beautiful and inviting place in the world begins when you reach the pine trees...the Piney Woods of East Texas. Long history, beautiful lakes and the most polite people you'll ever meet. When people ask where I'm from, I never hesitate to say Palestine, TX.
Growing up in the small town of 18,000 people in the 80's and 90's really was magical. Before cell phones and computers, my life was spent in the great outdoors - hunting, fishing, water sports and my main mode of transportation in the summertime, my bicycle.
Most days in the Summer, I was typically out the door around 10am, and off to visit all of my people. Whether they were just down the street or out of our little street to another neighborhood, there was always someone to see that usually had a sweet treat waiting.
Other summer days, I was at Meadowbrook Country Club at the pool and tennis lessons, or at gymnastics. The weekends were the most special, because we all went to Crystal Lake - our whole family and extended family, and all of our other friends.
My very fondest memories of childhood are at Crystal Lake. There is where I learned to water-ski, play with others, hold on for dear life tubing and making sure my ears were covered during skeet shoots. Everyone there was family.
Palestine High School...
High School was a blast...I got to cheer with my best friends and had the most wonderful teachers. Field parties, house parties, 90's rap and R&B, my budding love for JC Chasez from N' Sync and admiration for Britney Spears, me being terrified at school dances, striking out with the cute boys...all of the things. I can't really pick out much that was negative, I had the ideal High School experience - at least that I remember!
All in all, high school was just good ole' fashioned fun. Being 5' 11", it did make it take a little longer to grow into myself. I was lanky and gawky for many years, but luckily my friends (guys and gals) loved me anyway.
I was a competitive gymnast at "Gymnasts of Palestine" for many years on Team, but in Jr. High, I transitioned into cheer (school cheer, not competitive), and found my niche. I was able to take the tumbling and technique that my gymnastics coaches taught me, and apply it to my performance in cheer. I easily made the team each year thru my Sr. Year. While there was always the fear of not "making it", I really put all of my efforts and love into that sport. My friends and I had so much fun together, we laughed, cried, fought, got catty...but always made up, and still love each other today.
The Many Crushes, and Being in the Friend-Zone...
I did play soccer for 1-year on the JV team, and it was the first year at PHS that they were allowing girls to play soccer! I do have to admit that the only reason I wanted to really play was because I had a major crush on my best friend's friend. Nothing ever came of that, but I did have a fun 1-year stint on the soccer team.
Another fun thing I did was that I was the "Manager" for the girls softball team. I literally had never even thought about playing softball, and didn't care at all about the sport...except that I (again) had a major crush...on the coach! I'll call him "Roy". Again, nothing happened here, but he sure was fun to be around and innocently flirt with. Roy, as a 27 year old man, did have some holes in his game, but made my Sr. Year a little more fun.
I also had a major crush on a childhood friend. He had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen, was a football player (at a neighboring high school) and was IMPOSSIBLE for me to get thru to. I imagine that the challenge was the main draw of attraction to him.
Then there was the foreign exchange student from Brazil...again, definitely in the "friend-zone" here. We still keep in touch thru LinkedIn every once in a while.
All of those "crushes" that I had were never a deterrent to having fun, and enjoying their friendship.
My Best Friends:
I am going to list them out here, because I love them so much (in no particular order)!!!!