Susanville, CA

Susanville will always hold a special place in my heart. We lived here when I was young 1-5 years of age and I do remember bits and pieces of that but it is not for that reason that it is so endeared to me. It was years later: the summer after eighth grade when it all started.
The activities and educational offerings of a junior college was the big draw. Cambridge was beautiful in the summer but it was limited on educational opportunities and summer teen activities. I had a cousin close to my age that I adored and an aunt who was like a second mother to me here in Susanville so starting after eighth grade graduation it was my yearly summer plans to voyage to California, live with my aunt, attend Lassen Community College and work. I’m sure that having another teenage girl around all summer every summer was not easy on anyone. Aunt Susan had an extra charge, Liz had to share her time, space and often things with me. Clifford put me to work doing odd jobs and making me work on my birthday which I thought at the time was practically child abuse but it was good for me and taught me responsibility. Four summers in a row Susanville was my home. New summer traditions were made and I feel like I was made to grow up and be responsible for myself and make sure that I was as little of a burden as possible and as big of help as possible. The summer I turned 16 Aunt Susan and Elizabeth each in their different ways went out of their way to show their love to me. I already had my drivers license because in Idaho at the time you got your license at 15 but you can’t drive at night until you were 16. Aunt Susan woke me up at Midnight on my 16th birthday saying she needed me to run to the store for bread. She came with me, we ran to the store and then to Denny’s ordering a hot chocolate for me and orange juice for her just so we could celebrate that I was old enough to drive at night. Later after a day of school work and painting for Clifford, Elizabeth came home from her Safeway job with 16 roses just for me. They made me feel special, like part of the family.
The last summer, the one after high school graduation I pitched a tent in the pasture out back and lived there for the whole summer. With my battery operated alarm clock I woke up early, trekked to the house showered and went to work. That summer I worked as a CNA at a nursing home in town. The laundry list of responsibilities that rested on my shoulders and the trust that they had in me to get myself up and to work were invaluable growing opportunities I feel like those experiences and being treated like and expected to act like an adult have affected greatly who I am today. Being here with Susan and Clifford, Boyd, Rae, and the girls reminds me of the many memories made over those four summers so long ago that I am so thankful for and how much I love this portion of my family and appreciate all they have done for me.

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