Doris Jean Gaines Rapp, PhD (Grandma Rapp)
What is my most significant life event and why did I chose it?
There are so many to choose from, before and after this event, but it is a key. God has been very good to me. For this assignment, I’ll chose the time, when I was about twelve years old and I walked home from the movies.
My cousin Claudia had come to visit for the weekend and my usual Saturday activity was to take the public bus from the suburbs to nearly downtown Dayton. The National Cash Register Company had their huge cluster of factory buildings and the world headquarters just past Oakwood, almost to the city. The Montgomery Country Fair Grounds was on the northern boundary of the NCR on the west side of the street.
Every Saturday, the NCR offered a free movie and a candy bar to any kids in the greater Dayton area who could get to the 2000 seat auditorium. Claudia and I went. We walked to the corner and took the bus.
After the movie, we walked the two blocks up to the bus stop and got there just as our bus pulled away. We no such thing as a cell phone; I couldn’t call my mom to tell her we’d be on the next bus. So, I suggested that we walk home. I knew the way. I had ridden the bus every Saturday for several years. We’d simply follow the bus route. Now, this is not like a New York City bus where the driver drives up and down Fifth Avenue all day. Dayton city buses wound round and round through neighborhood streets, providing transportation for the whole area.
Claudia and I walked for many miles, maybe fifteen and we were tired and thirsty. Daddy drove up beside us just as we were walking past WHIO-TV. Now, as an adult, I know he must have been frantic. But, he rolled down the window and asked in his soft southern accent, “Where’re ya goin’?” I said, “We missed the bus and decided to walk.”
“Oh,” he said casually, “you both must be tired by now. Why don’t I take you the rest of the way home?”
Claudia and I eagerly agreed and hopped in the car.
Why did I choose this memory? Both Mother and Daddy taught my sister and me to be independent, and getting around all over Dayton was part of that. He didn’t reveal his fear when we hadn’t come home on the bus—that would have made us fearful of trusting ourselves to make decisions and fearful of the world around us—both necessary in independence building. This is just one trait they taught me that was preparation for being an independent person.
I met Grandpa when I was 18; we married when I was 19; had our first three birth-children; moved to New Mexico to finish our undergrad degrees; taught school for six years; went to graduate school where I earned my Master’s Degree and Doctorate. I directed the Counseling Centers at two universities and now write full time. I have five novels in print and will be finished with a sixth in another month. I could not have done any of that if I had not been independent. Life lessons are just that: learned when you are young and continue to support you throughout your live. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, psychologist, former college professor, and author. All of these are possible because one day, Claudia and I walked home from the movies.