A Long, Long Time Ago, and Very Far Away..

Like in New Jersey…

There lived a girl who could one day frankly say, “If it wasn’t for Star Wars, I wouldn’t have a family. Not this family.

I think about it a lot, during these changing seasons. I think about the changing seasons of my life. How I got from there to here, but it wasn’t just this straight line. It was this whole “Connect the Dots” puzzle, or maze, and there were always other ways to turn or connect, but would I still be where I am today? That’s what fascinates me SO MUCH! A left turn instead of a right. A postponed trip. Saying “no” instead of “yes.” Saying “yes” instead of “no.” The first thing I said “yes” to, after college graduation and Phi Beta Kappa, baby, and after graduating with honors (baby), and after going on a road trip in an ice storm to Key West (baby, baby) without an inkling of planning, or even knowing I was going to do something like that..THIS:

I said “yes” to a job fair at a Rutgers Dining Hall. I’m sorry – a “career” fair. I wore my best business casual and put together a crappy resume. I walked in and surely headed right for the food, because it had only been a year earlier – cheese sauce eggs and cocoa krispies. First period classes. Then I turned right instead of left, because.. job fair and all. The Breakfast of Champions can wait. I remember everything that everybody and everybody’s mother said about a firm handshake and eye contact, but don’t you know that when you hold someone’s eyes too intensely, you stop blinking and you just look crazed.

I talked to a lot of people that day. I can best remember a young company with peppy representatives. Software House International. (SHI) I’ll have whatever they’re having! Clearly, it’s cheese sauce eggs and cocoa krispies. I’ll grab a business card, thanks. Here’s my resume. It’s crappy. I’m not crappy. Sorry about the eye contact. Call me! Here’s an extra resume!

Do you think they called me? Of course they didn’t call me. They saw hundreds of job applicants that day, with less crappy resumes and less crazed eye contact. Maybe they favored people who ate healthier breakfasts. Who can say? I moved into the haunted apartment of my parent’s farm and I watched a lot of Degrassi while planning my next move. In life. For breakfast.

(Cake for breakfast?)

I started temping at a juice distribution warehouse, naturally. I had two bosses – one female and one male. I knew they both really liked me, but I cried at my desk once because my parents had moved from our childhood home to the farm with the haunted apartment, and our dog had died, and both of my father’s parents too, and I was a right mess. I was trying to grasp at anything. My aunt offered me a place to live to study to be a Disney World photographer, but that was just running away. And living in Florida in the summer. (no way in hell) And dealing with crowds. (no way in hell) I remember telling the Vice President of the company about my FL offer. (who does that?? 20-somethings do) He told me that sometimes in life, you have to jump without a parachute. Or maybe jump without a net. Either way it stuck with me. Jumping. Flying. Falling? Dizzy.

So while I sat crying at my desk to my boss, and telling the Vice President I had wordly and important dreams, they were taking a gamble on me. They wanted me to go from temp to permanent. As they were ordering me my desk, it hit me. It had been 30 days of rain. I lived in a haunted apartment. I cried every day. I told them to give their generous offerings of a desk, and a permanent position, to someone who might actually stay. I visited a temp agency in central NJ that very next day and she said, “Oh boy, do I have something for you.” And remember that happy, peppy company I had seen at the Rutgers job fair months earlier? SHI. They were hiring! I walked in and got the job the next day. I looked for an apartment near Rutgers and found a listing with an SHI email address. It all sort of worked. FAST. I work very fast when I’m desperate, or on the verge..

..of something. Of everything.

(on the verge of – from left to right – Cassidy, George Lucas, good friend Mike)

I’ll give you a hint. George Lucas’ companies were my clients, but not right away, and that’s a story for another day.

Star Wars. It’s responsible for all of this.. It could have been a million things, but this is what it is:

And some of this..

Definitely this..

Always suspicious pigs..

Suspicious sheep too.

Disgruntled chicks!

See, this is the prequel of the 20 part story. I always thought it began with SHI, but it actually began with how I got a job at SHI, and if we’re being honest, it began with my birth. That’s life for you. Twists and turns and cocoa krispies.

If you’re so inclined, it’s a 20 part love story I wrote while pregnant with Des. I dug up hundreds of old emails and texts to make it accurate and magical, because that’s what it was and is. It begins where this one leaves off. Story links, HERE.

A little late, but May the 4th be with you. And you. And you. And you, and you, and you. But not you. (what?)

Linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “A long, long time ago, and very far away, there lived..” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


A Long, Long Time Ago, and Very Far Away.. — 79 Comments

  1. I totally fell in love with those pigs, until I saw the sheep, then the sheep totally stole my heart. It’s amazing how life works itself out into the most glorious arrangements. Did you ever play Boggle? You shake the dice up – scattered with letters – randomly. Once the die settle, you can find the most beautiful and surprising words.

    • Suspicious sheep indeed! The pigs were hilarious. I found that there was always one with an unimpressed eye trained on me!
      I have played Boggle.. once. And I loved it. Not surprised!!!

  2. Yeah, time and place and their effects on our lives. Your writing is wonderful, Tamara, and your story is magical, and best of all, my story plays in my mind as a distant duet. What you do with your gift is certainly appreciated.

    • Ah, I love this! I had to be more awake to respond to it because I read it last night and it meant a LOT. I wrote this yesterday, and not under the best circumstances, so it’s always wonderful to reach even one person when you’re not feeling the love of the week.
      (It’s been cold and rainy here for six days and another six are on the forecast)

  3. Hi Tamara, following your instincts is always the way to go, after all we a just advances mammals that no longer listen to that inner voice. Your life would have been so different if you didn’t have the balls to say no to that permanent job.

    Love the photos as ever, and a Disney World Photographer? Who knew such a job title existed?Bet it’s a fab job away from the crowds.


    • I’m so glad I said “no.” I rarely do! They were so nice.. but juice distribution in northern NJ? No!
      As for Disney World, it’s right in the crowds! And the heat! Their photographers are incredibly well-trained and awesome, but boy, I couldn’t do it daily. It’s all about upselling photos for families. I’ve been on the receiving end of it! And.. I liked it. But only as a customer.

  4. I am always fascinated by thinking about the choices I made, and the ones I didn’t, and how they have led me here. Even with whatever else might have been, I am still happy where I am. Also, the pigs and sheep made me “Awww!”

    • Same here. It’s a peaceful feeling, really, but sometimes I’ve been known to drive myself crazy wondering, “BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?”

  5. I have been completely MIA in the blogging world because I finally published my ROMANCE novel! (bells and whistles). And it looks like you did too. These are my very favourite stories – you told this so magically, just the way you aimed to do.

    And I laugh-snorted at May the 4th be with you. I don’t get out much.

  6. Life is such a fascinating journey, isn’t it? Rarely do we plan and execute a plan from start to finish. I love how God steps in and nudges or turns us, opens a door, directs our path… and one little change in direction really does have huge implications. Often, we can’t see the value of our experiences until afterwards, which is why the elderly population is so wise!

    • I feel the same way. I read a cool quote today about accepting life as it is, and not what you thought it would be. And that is the definition of peace.
      I do love the elderly viewpoints!

    • That means the world! Sometimes it only takes one photo, or a few words. I’m not great with brevity which is probably why I love photography. I’m wordy enough with writing.

  7. It’s funny how life works and the steps involed that lead us to meeting our spouses. I had been in Arkansas for the whole summer, but I didn’t meet my husband until the very end of the summer. Even though we had been working at the same place all summer. We ended up going on our first date one week before I left to go back to school in Georgia and we have been together since. That was 15 years ago πŸ™‚

  8. Amazing! Life is definitely a roller coaster ride, full of twist and turns and adventure. This makes me think of my own adventure and how the current one started with a doomed marriage and led to an amazing marriage for me, with 2 more beautiful children to add to the adventure! Hope you have an amazing Mother’s day weekend!

    • I remember bits and pieces of your own story and it’s a GOOD ones! Some things are just meant to be, even if they’re not ready to be there in the beginning.

  9. I so often think about those little twists and turns of life. Things would be so different for me if just one person had said no….or yes. It’s pretty magical. And overwhelming. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

  10. You nailed it, sweet thang. I love love love how you did this post and life’s twists and turns giving you (and me) the exact family you (and me) have. The photos are amazing as always and now I really really want some cocoa krispies. Thanks for linking up!! <3

    • Maybe you dreamed it! I checked my spam filter just in case, but it was just somebody trying to strike up a video partnership with me from Israel. Hmm…

  11. This post here, yes, this one, this is your magical writing. Well, at least in my opinion. I could be a little bit Star Wars biased though, but that’s totally o.k., right?! πŸ™‚
    Somehow I have missed the 20 parts, but I will come back for them.

    • That means a lot. This past week was cold and rainy and my mental health suffered from it! If I can still write magically, then that must mean anything is possible!
      I wrote the 20 part story ages ago, so it’s ok that you missed it!

  12. Love this twist on the Star Wars theme, and had it relates so much to your beautiful family. And that series — I will always associate (in a very good way) with early motherhood. I think I may need to read it again the next time I have a baby and I’m up late nursing, especially now that I know you so much more than I did back then πŸ˜‰

  13. I read your series when I first found your blog & loved it! I have often wondered about those turns we take and where the other direction would have led, but when you’re happy where you are you don’t think about that too much πŸ™‚

  14. Wow, George Lucas!! Awesome. My husband is a huge Star Wars fan and would be so jealous of Cassidy for getting to work on the movies. And yes, isn’t it crazy how little decisions we make have a huge impact down the line? I think about how different my life would be if I didn’t go to a certain college, or if I didn’t go out on a certain night and meet my husband. It’s a trip to think about!

  15. I love the sheep photos! Also, jumping without a parachute sounds like me. LOL. As you know I’ve read your 20-part story and love it. Your story will always be magical and of course with Star Wars involved, is even more amazing!

  16. You were right, you really do have some pretty cool work stories. I look forward to reading your love story as well – I promise!

  17. That George Lucas picture always cracks me up. He couldn’t even smile, huh? Well at least he stood there πŸ™‚ Your boss gave you good advice. I am always amazed at the results of jumps like that. Mostly it turns out good. I remember getting married almost 18 years ago (gasp), with no idea how it all would turn out, but it all felt right. It’s been hard, amazing and totally the right jump. Gotta love a happy ending that keeps going right?

    • He definitely couldn’t smile! He seems rather charmless in person to me, but I know that can’t be true. Maybe he just holds his cards close to his chest. Or maybe Cassidy was so tall that he was like, “Ugh. I have to pose next to this guy and look short.”

      Also, the happy ending that keeps going is my favorite thought of the day. Congrats to you! You deserve a prize.

  18. I admire that you have such strong recollection of your history, even with supporting documentation. I have not ever gone back through old emails or diaries. I love that you could completely tell your story in 20 parts! LOL. It’s a lot, but there’s probably still more to tell. I love hte suspicious pigs and sheep.

  19. Oh those little pigs are so cute!! You are such a good author at telling your story and I love listening to it! I was never comfortable at job fairs! Cool photo and can’t wait to hear the story of George Lucas.

    • George Lucas! I “met” him twice in my “career.”
      Job fairs are ridiculous and I really hope I never have to go to another one! Unless they have one for my weird niche.

  20. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I love the way you write–it’s so captivating πŸ™‚ also I love this star wars connection and theme you have in your family and in life. Also pigs, want one so badly. Goodness, they’re cute. Your friend in the picture with George Lucas looks strangely familiar!

    • Well. Thank YOU! I was feeling all sorts of out of it when I wrote this, so people liking it is kinda amazing me.
      As for the friend in the photo, his name is Mike P! He’s from New England.

  21. The way you always unfold your story, it feels like such an incredible fairy tale. You TAUNT me with your gorgeous words and captivating images to boot!

    I SWEAR I am going to READ THE STORY. *Shakes head and hangs it down in shame and ugly despair*

    • There is no ugly despair! I think it’s cool that you want to read it, but haven’t. I mean, that’s cool! Something to look forward to, at your leisure. I will be so happy when it happens but I can wait!

  22. I still have all your stories on my Kindle without a clue as to how I got them there. Some kind of blog to Kindle thing I was playing with. And I’ve told you seemingly a million times now that I’m going to finish it but I was in the broken heart part and even though I knew that you guys are married now with kids I was still pouting. LOL! I love the way you wrote this because even though I know part of the story, I didn’t see THIS story coming with your intro so I nearly cried when you got to the George Lucas client stuff. πŸ˜‰

    Side note even though I like to be planned at i’s dotted etc – I work fast, hard and desperately when I’m on the verge of something too!

    • Wow, Kindle! I have arrived!
      I love that. And I love that I still have more to say because I didn’t see this story coming either, but obviously it’s here. And there are more!

  23. Star Wars AND a Doctor Who reference. What could be more perfect for the geekiest day on the fourth rock from the sun? (And those animals do look suspicious…had you given them reason to be suspicious?)

  24. …like in New Jersey hahah!!
    And you watched Degrassi?! OMG I loved that show? That was the best show ever. Probably not if I started watching it again. It was probably really cheesy with bad acting. Wait are you talking about the original Canadian Degrassi that started it all in the 80’s? That’s the best one.

    • It was awful and incredible! I watched the original. The new generation is also Canadian, of course, and it starts with Emma – Spike and Snake’s high school love child!!!!!

      Whoa. I need to chill.

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