Homeowner. Life insurance salesman. Family man. What more could I ask for?. Life was full. Except that nothing was going exactly as I had envisioned. In fact, life was just getting too damn full.
We joined First Baptist Church and became active in a young couples group. Bob Wallace was pastor then and Lance and Nancy Ternasky were key members of the group. Bob and his then wife Donna were quite familiar with the ICA, Bob having taken a couple of our training courses which were an important influence on his preaching and teaching. Donna, who was blind by the time we met, was an enthusiastic ICA supporter and volunteer. The Ternasky family had just returned from spending part of a year at one of our ICA village projects in India, until their very young son, Chad became so ill they had to return to the States. Our families became close for the next several years.
My job at Northwestern Mutual Life led to a couple of other friendships. Tom Fort and Vance Johnson were beginning their agent training along with me. Our families socialized on occasion. Vance was a young black man who had considered entering the ministry but ended up in the insurance business where he still is today. He and I were both struggling agents and formed a partnership for a year or so before I left the business. Or should I say before the business left me.
Linda’s job at Whitehead provided a few acquaintances and family dinner invitations but no close or lasting friendships. When her boss, Wayne Martindale, left and Robin Pratt took over his position, Linda was offered a job with the School of Theology at Arrowhead Springs, then headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ, where she stayed for a year or so, after which she returned to the U of R as assistant to Al Thompson, Admissions Director for Whitehead Center. This turned out to be good fortune for me, as it led to my getting hired as an adjunct faculty instructor when my insurance career was in its last gasp.
Our family time was filled mostly with work projects involving our fixer-upper three bedroom home on Center Street.
The Summer Gardening Project: Prolific Pumpkins and not-so corn
Actually it was a two bedroom that had a sun porch added on to the back which became our bedroom, mainly because it had a tiny bathroom, which meant we did not have to walk through the second bedroom to get to the main bath. Eric and his pet rabbit Emily occupied that room until we discovered how difficult it was to potty-train a bunny. Robb had the front bedroom until he left us, and then Troy who had been going to school in Iowa and living with his grandparents, came to live with us.
Linda, Troy, Eric and sister Sandra with Mom & Dad Turner visiting at 540 Center
Our other family member, Winston, was a handsome Dalmatian/Australian Shepherd mixture who joined us when Eric and Robb returned with this cute puppy from an errand to Gerard’s Market. Winston entertained the family with his exuberant antics and was Eric’s constant companion, but he had the habit of making a dash out the door to freedom whenever the door was opened. One day he made his escape and saw another dog across the street. We heard the screech of the brakes. By the time we reached him he was lying in shock unable to move his back legs. As we took the long trip to the vet with Troy holding him on his lap sobbing, we all said our goodbyes to Winston, one of those memorable pets who you are privileged to share life with for a time.