Once Joe was born, I only remember my mom saying, “Jeanie, you’re in charge…”
Now I am sure my mom’s admonition to me, born first of 5 kids, was just a simple thing like, “You’re in charge of carrying the diaper bag or baby Joe’s bottle.” But all I heard was that I was in charge…the rest becomes hazy and glittery and fades into rainbows and blue skies like a dream… :)
So, from my earliest recollections, I always just wanted to run things: create very involved events for my siblings and neighborhood friends. Be. in. charge.
This was Nancy’s house, but oh, I can see the scheming and planning going on in my head during this little tea-party soiree. I had just turned 7. Nancy was 8.
I organized the neighbor kids
When the big Drake Relays were going on, an annual gigantic track and field competition in Des Moines at Drake University, I spent hours and hours over the course of a week creating ribbons for the winners and clipboard sign-ups for a Drake Relay event on my own block. Each neighborhood kid could sign up for three, but only three events – to encourage them to really excel at their chosen category. Then I required they attend practices to improve their skills before the actual event. Much jealousy ensued and everyone wanted first-place ribbons. Kids in the 1960s, I tell ya.
I innately understood that funds were necessary
When my best-friend-across-the-alley, Nancy, told me about how her Catholic school was doing a paper drive to get money, a lightbulb: What? You can collect old newspapers and magazines and get money for them? Well, then – we MUST have our own club and collect for our purposes. I wheeled the lunky 1950s baby buggy my mom had used with all 5 of us – not new when she started (back when there weren’t second cars in families so you might actually have to walk a ways to a store and needed a living-room sized “vehicle” to transport your Gerber-food fat baby) out of the garage and off we went.
We actually found neighbors with a whole basement full of Look and Life magazines (think Twiggy on the front!) and newspapers and they said we could have them. We figured it would be about 50 buggies’ worth to get them all. Our plan was foiled, though, when I approached the house with my very first full buggy and my mom incredulously asked “Where do you plan to keep those?!” She then forbade me to go back and the buggy had to be put away. I hadn’t really thought about needing a permit from the governing authorities (my parents).
Event leading is a process. *sigh.
I always had an idea up my sleeve
Fundraising was always in my sights, though. After a trip to the Des Moines River to “fish,” (the one and only time my dad ever took me because he was so perturbed that I had no interest in the pole or the bait, the fish or sitting quietly as long as there were shells and sparkly rocks to collect and woods to investigate), as soon as I got home, the across-the-alley neighbor girl and I carefully displayed all the natural treasures I’d found at the river in an egg carton and sold them door-to-door for 10-cents each. We quickly gave up sales, which can be very trying on little girls, when the really old lady in the tiny house across the way said she had all the shells and sparkly rocks she needed for now, but had been hoping we’d stop by because she had a couple of 50-cent pieces she couldn’t use and had wanted to give us each one. Off to the candy store we went.
Penny candy was already inflated to 2-cents each by this time and I am sure I was telling my friend how she should spend her 50-cent piece for best value, so I still want credit for running something.
There was a backyard circus
I organized various shows, over time, once a backyard circus (which vexed me when my dog refused to jump through my hula-hoop and I hadn’t even lit the flames yet). Also, the neighbor kids balked at having to pay 10-cents per ticket (I had purchased a partial roll of red raffle tickets at a yard sale nearby and they were as valuable to my scheming mind as gold) just because they were performing in the circus in one act or another. but still, I put my all into it.
I felt called to lead a choir
I led “Jeanie Moslander and the Voices of Praise,” wearing an Indian-print blanket as a choir robe, based very closely on Nancy Harmon and the Victory Voices, with one slight difference: I didn’t actually have a choir. I was the choir. I was loud enough to be heard two blocks down as I “played” my headboard as if it were a Hammond Organ – and oh, how I made that thing sing! I bet if any of the York Street neighbors in Des Moines are still alive, they haven’t yet gotten over the sound of a stick-skinny 8-year old preacher’s daughter singing “He washed My Eyes with Tears that I Might See” at the top of her lungs with her Hammond Organ fills and runs just permeating the neighborhood air. No sir, that is not something you can really ever forget.
I never strayed from my first love: running church services
Besides early altar calls for sinful neighbor kids on the cellar door in the backyard when I was 4, on many occasions, I am proud to say – I organized very lively and revivalistic services for all of the church kids in our basement while our parents visited upstairs. We actually had donated theater seating and an antique pulpit down there. Many great testimonies came from those holiness-Pentecostal meetings, not to mention the shouting and devil-rebuking. We were a very demonstrative bunch.
They have that?
This is why, I am pretty sure, when The Love Boat series started airing when I was in high school, I was in awe: there really are jobs where you can plan what everyone else should be doing while you get to carry a clipboard around! Julie McCoy was an activities director on a cruise line and it seemed oh-so-glam! I was just sure it was my life’s call…for at least a year or two.
As I try to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life (I hope I still get to try lots of new things), I knowwwww I
(1) want to be in charge;
(2) will need a clipboard (or an iPad, whichever);
(3) will desperately need and follow after the Holy Spirit;
(4) am hoping I can sing sometimes, with a microphone and a choir, please (organ optional);
(5) want to
make help people have a great (organized) time doing something worthwhile/purposeful/eternal and memorable!
Let’s have some fun, doggonit! Line up here…