Me, with all the hair. And what happens when the American Dream isn't quite so dreamy.

Anchorwoman


So here she is. Anchor Angie. After I took this photo I went out to lunch with Ron Burgundy.

All kidding and ozone-depleting hairspray helmets aside, my eyes tell the truth. Something was off. How could that be? I wondered. I was the morning anchor at the number one television station in my hometown. A newlywed. Working at the same station with my college sweetheart-turned-husband.

House


We'd just bought our first house. This photo makes me wistful. Because the timing was off. I wanted a place to call home. Some place that made me feel content. Secure. Safe. I loved the screened porch around back. I'd sit out there and watch ducks crash land into the man-made pond. It's where I went to think.

I was trying to wrap my life into a bow. But a good job and a pretty house and a wedding band don't necessarily heal the pain. I'd thought those things would fix it. I'll turn my life into a big success, and we all can stand back and say, "Wow. Look at Angie. She did well for herself." And then I'll be happy.

But I wasn't. Not really.

When my agent called with a job prospect in Memphis (more money and the promise of the stepping stone that gets you where you want to go) I couldn't stop thinking about how I was supposed to say yes. They flew me out first class. A signal that means, "We're serious."

I'm supposed to say yes, but I want to say no. 

I went to church the Sunday after I got back from the interview. The pastor challenged us to be like the fisherman who dropped their nets to follow Jesus. What are your nets? he asked. Identify them and let them go.

A hardball question. Lobbed at the congregation for effect. It worked. It made me think. I turned down the job.

Okay, now what? 

I didn't know where I—where we—were supposed to go. And I didn't know what I was supposed to do when I got there.

One day the phone the rang. The caller ID said KOIN-TV. I saw the "K" and the "TV" and felt the split-second rush of excitement. Ks are good! Ks mean west of the Mississippi. Shawn and I had kicked around the idea of moving to California. Wouldn't San Diego be awesome? But why is a television station with a K calling me, and not my agent?

I picked up the phone and answered with a breezy hello.

"Hello," a woman said. "Is Shawn there?"

(The story continues here)

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This post is part a series inspired by mementos found inside an old trunk. To start at the beginning, click here