My name is Stephanie Carignan. I have worked for Private Home Care, Inc. for three years. I was asked to write a blog of about myself, something significant in my life, how I became me. As I reflected on this my mind traveled to my life long best friend. I met my husband in 1975 on the first day of seventh grade.
Mike was goofing off with another kid in the front row of the classroom and was not taking seventh grade seriously at all. Mrs. Potter was a brand-new teacher and she had to speak to Mike about his behavior. I thought he was terribly immature. I was twelve.
In seventh grade I was head and shoulders taller than Mike, but even so he kept telling me stupid jokes that I tried not to laugh at.
In eighth grade he asked me to the eighth grade dance, I turned him down. We went with other people but Mike and I became friends through this experience. Mike started to grow taller during eighth grade, he was on the football team and the coach had to reissue his pads three times that year. By Christmas his pants were all high water. He slimmed down and soon passed me in height. He still told stupid jokes and made me laugh.
I use to set him up on dates in freshmen year with my friends at Thornton Academy. We were in some classes together and we were both band geeks. During that following summer, Mike worked the split shift at Burger King. He rode his bike to work, then 5 miles to the beach and then back to Burger King. He swam and biked the whole summer. On Sunday nights he had the night off, and he would come by my house on his bike of course, and we would talk and talk for a two or three hours on my front porch. We shared everything about each other growing up, we talked about school, the other kids, and our families. I started looking at him, really looking at him. He was 6 foot 1 inch tall, tanned, and kind. By August we would end our Sunday night visit on the front porch with a kiss.
Sophomore year we continued on our Sunday night visits. One Saturday in November, Mike asked me to go see a movie. We saw “Oh God” with George Burns. We walked to Michael’s Pizza in Pepperell Square afterwards and talked over pepperoni pizza. Mike’s Dad drove us home because Mike did not have a license yet, we were fifteen. After that we only dated each other. I didn’t tell my friends anything had shifted. One day that spring at school, Mike touched the side of my head and I smiled at him. Laurie Dumont had witnessed this sign of affection, stood with her mouth gaped open and hands on her hips and said, “Are you two dating?” Mike and I looked at each other, shrugged, and both said in unison, “Yes!” The gossip was a flying around the school that day.
Junior year and senior year is a blur. We became involved in every activity, along with band and drama. We shared our lunches together and then ran off to the next class or activity. In between we got to know each other’s family. We cross country skied together, walked the seven-mile beach in Saco and Old Orchard, and saw an occasional movie, laughing the whole time. We graduated and marched in together and then had one party back at my home for us both with both families.
Off to college in two different states, we remained close and wrote letters to each other most every night. After we graduated we both worked a bit and married on March 19, 1983. It was the happiest day of our lives. Our children were born, Ben in 1985, Kate in 1990 and Tom in 1992. Mike is fantastic father. I fell in love with him even more in those early years, he worked so hard but always found time to show how he loved the children and me. I was so proud of the man he had become.
Even after 34 years we are still laughing. I still light up when Mike walks through the door. We grew up together, we are best friends and because of this relationship I learned the depth of love two people can have. This helps me to serve my clients better I think, because I have empathy, compassion and respect for peoples’ long term relationships and memories. When my clients share their love stories and their lives with me I accept the gift with gratitude and honor.
Stephanie Carignan, Coordinator