Today’s #ExcerptWeek Guest has done something most of us can only dream about. Imagine traveling to ALL fifty states! How marvelous! And she’s done one better. She’s written a memoir about her travels. I know you’ll enjoy reading and sharing this one. Welcome, Lori! The floor is all yours!
Miles of Memories:
One Woman’s Journey to All 50 States
by Lori Spangler
Several years before I turned eighteen, the voting age changed from 21 to 18. After a lot of debate at my high school, the policy for absence notes changed. Once a student turned 18 she could write her own excuse for being absent from school. Since I turned 18 at beginning of the school year, I was one of the lucky few. I felt grown-up to not need a parent’s signature. Since I never cut classes, and had to be seriously ill for my parents to allow me stay home from school, there was little chance I would abuse my excuse-writing responsibilities.
I wrote my first absence note because I planned to miss school for a college visit. I wanted to go to a college that offered a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. As a freshman, for a social studies assignment I wrote a paper about a career that interested me. All the other girls wrote about being a nurse, secretary or teacher, except one girl who wrote about being a dog groomer. I wanted to do something different, so I decided on a policewoman. My paper focused on a career in law enforcement, and being a detective on a police force. In essence I probably wanted to be Nancy Drew and solve mysteries, but get paid for it.
My goal of being in law enforcement stayed with me as I shopped for a college. I looked for schools with degrees in Criminal Justice. The University of North Dakota (UND) in Fargo offered this curriculum. Fargo is across the border from Moorhead, a city in northwestern Minnesota.
I arranged with Mom and Dad to miss two days of school, take the Greyhound bus to Moorhead, stay overnight with my sister in her dorm room at Moorhead State University, tour UND, and later get a ride home with her.
When I wrote the absence note, I gave it to the school secretary the day before I planned to be gone. Classes ended at 3:32 p.m. each day, but about 3:20 the principal came to my classroom and asked to speak to me. It was a big deal to get called out of class by the principal. The other kids said “Oh. Oh. What did Lori do now?” and “Busted!” as I walked out of the room. The principal asked me about my note, wanted to ensure my parents knew about my trip, confirmed I had notified my teachers, and that I was considering UND. Yes, yes and yes.
During high school I tried not to have much contact with the principal because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but he inadvertently became a part of my senior goal. I don’t know how or why, but I decided I wanted to pull a fire alarm. Early in the school year I told my goal to the principal, and asked if I could pull it sometime when we had a practice drill. I mentioned it to him once. By the last week of school, since nothing happened, I assumed he had forgotten about it, but I was happily wrong. With two days of school left, he pulled me out of class. And like earlier in the year, everyone in the classroom said, “Oh. Oh. What did Lori do now?” and “Busted!” But this time he walked me to the other side of the school, without talking. I thought I was in trouble too, until he stopped outside his office and pointed to the red fire alarm. I got to pull the lever setting off the alarm. What a feeling of power to make such a loud noise and be able to stop it again. It felt great to meet a goal. Mission accomplished.
Lori Spangler is a native Minnesotan with a zest for living. Kids and dogs appreciate her infectious laugh, witty sense of humor, and positive outlook. When not indulging in her passion for travel, she can be found reading, biking, eating ice cream or teaching others the finer points of public speaking. Miles of Memories: One Woman’s Journey to all 50 States is her first published book.
Contact Lori Here:
Facebook page: Miles of Memories Book