If you’re new here, this is not a typical post, but this is the perfect post for you. Don’t Let The Days Go By is an episodic continuing story about a university student figuring out life. I am currently on hiatus after finishing writing about Year 2. Sometime later this spring I will start writing and posting about Year 3.
This week I will be recapping and summarizing Year 2. Last week, I did the same for Year 1. Many of my current readers have not been with the story since the beginning, so this is an opportunity to catch up. I will also include links to some, but not all, of the episodes, so you can read an abridged version of the story more detailed than this recap. As always, you can start from the first episode (here) and keep clicking Next if you want to read the entire story, 88 episodes so far. If this is your first time here, and you do not want to read all 88 episodes, you may want to read the recap of Year 1 first.
I went home to Plumdale for the summer and worked in a small bookstore. I got the job through the connection that one of the two other employees was a family friend. Mom volunteered me for the job without asking me, and while I hate when she does that, this time I did not mind because I needed something to do, and getting paid would be nice. I thought at first that working in a bookstore would be fun, but the store was very slow, and not exactly my clientele.
June 22, 1995. The first day on the job.
I had lost touch with most of my high school friends, although I saw a few of them. I watched a roller hockey game with Rachel, and I saw Catherine and Renee and some of Catherine’s friends from Austria in a choir and orchestra performance that she put together. I kept in touch with a number of Jeromeville friends, mostly through writing letters, although a few of them had access to email during the summer. My cousins Rick and Miranda came to visit for a week, and I went with them, my mother, and my brother Mark to Jeromeville for a day, to show everyone around. I got to see Taylor and another guy from my freshman dorm on that day.
July 18, 1995. The day we went to Jeromeville with Rick and Miranda.
I turned 19 in August. The lease for my apartment began September 1, and I moved back to Jeromeville the first weekend of September. Classes did not start until the end of September, but I preferred being bored in Jeromeville to being bored in Plumdale. I spent that September going on lots of bike rides and talking to lots of girls on Internet Relay Chat. As the school year approached, I was encouraged as I started seeing familiar faces around campus and town. Megan, the resident advisor from a nearby building whom I had gotten to know (and like) the previous year, was now an RA in a building in the North Area, and she invited me to have lunch with her at the dining commons.
September 26, 1995. My lunch date with Megan.
I had plenty of new experiences that fall. I got a job tutoring calculus for the tutoring center on campus. Also, Danielle, my friend from last year who also went to Mass at the Newman Center, finally talked me into singing in the choir at church. Another student in the choir, Heather, lived near me, so we usually carpooled to choir practice and to Mass.
Liz, another friend from last year, had invited me a few times to Jeromeville Christian Fellowship. I was hesitant , since I was Catholic and I knew that other Christians did things differently and sometimes looked down on Catholics. I was not sure that JCF would be the first place for me. But I finally decided to take her up on her invitation that fall; since I was living alone, I knew that I needed to do all I could to stay close with my friends. I quickly decided that JCF was a wonderful place for me. In addition to already having several friends who attended there, I started making new friends, and in addition to learning more about the Bible, I also started socializing with JCF people.
November 17, 1995. What’s a but stop?
I started a new creative project that fall: a novel, about an 18-year-old who is not ready for high school to be over. He goes away to live with relatives and pretends to be younger so he can go through high school again and get a second chance at having a social life. I got the idea because I felt that way sometimes. As the winter went on, my classes continued, I worked on the novel, and the holidays came. I spent Thanksgiving with my family visiting the relatives in Bidwell. I spent Christmas back home in Plumdale with my family, where Mom volunteered me for something yet again without asking me. We made a last minute trip to Disneyland for the New Year, and on that trip we decided on a whim to drive by the house of an infamous celebrity.
December 30, 1995 – January 1, 1996. A family vacation that did not involve boring relatives.
I had still never had a girlfriend, and things never seemed to work out for me. It seemed like every girl I met always seemed to have a boyfriend. I was disappointed when Megan, the older girl who was an RA, mentioned at one point that she was dating someone. I found out something later that made me realize that Megan and I never would have worked out anyway.
January 19-20, 1996. A dangerous glance.
While many positive things had happened so far that year, I still got discouraged and had bad days sometimes. One of those bad days happened on a Friday, the night that JCF met. As everyone trickled out of the room, I sat alone by myself. Two guys, Eddie and Xander, came over to talk to me and invited me to hang out with them afterward, along with Haley, Kristina, and Kelly, three girls who lived down the street from them. I made new friends that night, some of whom I am still friends with today.
January 26, 1996. Pieces falling into place.
The winter quarter was not easy academically. My classes all had their midterms on the same day. Then, a few days later, some jerk decided to steal my clothes out of the laundry. Just when despair was starting to get to me, I saw one of the JCF staff on campus; she told me exactly what it means to follow Jesus, how he died for our sins to bring us eternal life with God. I made a decision that day to follow Jesus.
February 15-16, 1996. And hope does not disappoint us.
With this new outlook on life, I started attending Bible study. I was learning more about my faith, really paying attention to God’s Word for the first time. My friend Melissa from high school told me in an email that she went bowling and got a score of 178, her best ever. This was exactly the same as my best bowling score ever, from the fall when I took bowling class. Melissa and I agreed to meet over spring break to see who was truly the better bowler, and that one game was legendary.
March 28, 1996. At the bowling alley and coffee shop during spring break.
In April, the University of Jeromeville got a new ID card system. We all had to take new pictures, and mine was the worst ID card picture I have ever taken in my life. The following week, I got invited along on a road trip to Bay City with a mix of old friends, including Sarah and Caroline, and new friends, including Eddie, Xander, and Haley. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, walked uphill to an amazing view, and then drove down the coast to Moonlight Cove and slept illegally on the beach.
April 12-13, 1996. The road trip to Bay City and Moonlight Cove.
Finding a place to live in Jeromeville is a very stressful endeavor. I heard Pete and Charlie say that they needed a third roommate for next year, but Mike Knepper came along and took that spot just as I about ready to commit. I asked for prayer about it at Bible study a couple weeks later. Shawn, the senior who co-led the study, almost immediately mentioned that he and his current roommate Brian were staying in Jeromeville another year with no place to live yet. God answered the first part of my prayer pretty quickly, giving me roommates for next year. I had trouble finding a house to rent, since we waited so long, but I found a nice apartment on the northern edge of Jeromeville, about two miles from the campus core.
May 1996. Looking for a place to live.
I went to the Spring Picnic again, and I saw the band Lawsuit play. I also worked the Math Club table for a while, which took away from my time to wander around and have fun, so I learned that day never to volunteer during the Spring Picnic. I saw the Olympic torch pass through Jeromeville on its way to Atlanta. I saw Sarah and a few other students from JCF get baptized. And Haley had become my newest love interest, so of course I had plenty of awkward moments in front of her, as well as in front of other girls.
May 11-16, 1996. A montage of awkward moments.
I was still doing very well in classes. Being a math major, I was now taking two math classes every quarter, and started taking upper division math classes in the middle of that year. Dr. Gabby Thomas was my favorite math professor so far; she spoke clear English and felt like a normal human being more than many of my other professors. As the year ended, I participated in the Man of Steel competition, a decade-old tradition among the men of JCF involving disc golf, a hamburger eating contest, and a game of poker. I did not do too well. Fortunately, my finals went better than the Man of Steel competition, and I ended the year on a positive note, at a huge graduation party hosted by my new friends who were graduating, Brian and Shawn.
June 15, 1996. The graduation party at the Valdez Street house.
Here is the playlist of songs I used in year 2. As always, please leave comments or suggestions or questions for me. I love hearing from all of you. I’m not sure what, if anything, I’ll be doing next week; I will continue the story into Year 3 soon, but in real life, things are going to be a little crazy over the next month or two, so I might need some more time off.