Life in Chapters and Stories


Cars, beep, beep they pass us by and then it’s time to get down to business. ~ Big Time Rush quotes

The college years! What fulfilling memories I have from 1971 to 1975. The story I recounted a few days ago on All Things Fulfilling, about my notable car in college is just one of the many memories that I like to look back on. If you missed the blog, here is a link to it.

Not only did I build friendships of a lifetime during my four years at Johnson State College it was the first time throughout my education that I felt I could establish meaningful student-teacher relationships. Our college town was tiny. We ran into our professors off campus on a daily basis – in the grocery store, at the local ski areas and yes, in bars. Understand that this was decades before the days of Facebook and other social media and that is how we “networked” – face to face. There were only so many public places to meet-up in a remote area.

During the college years I felt as footloose and fancy-free as any other time in my life. It’s a beautiful feeling and the college years are a great time for young adults to discover who they are, what their passions are and what they want to do in life. I wish every individual could have an opportunity to experience living on a campus but with the cost of college sometimes it is prohibitive. So many life lessons are learned when a student lives away from home and in a dormitory with others.

In my memoir I recount a college experience that changed my life forever, abruptly. With that came huge realizations about life. I wrote about this event in Chapter 32 An Awakening. This chapter is an example of why memoir writing is so important. As Karen Armstrong, author of The Spiral Staircase once said, “We should probably all pause to confront our past from time to time, because it changes its meaning as our circumstances alter.” Click for Info on Karen Armstrong books.

Life, like cars, passes by quickly. Sometimes we make stops in our journeys through our different experiences. After the college years came the responsibilities of career, marriage and child rearing. And with those events came more stories!

JSC photo

Dibden Center for the Arts, Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of A Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  For more information on my publication, click here Sue’s memoir.

Coping Skills and Economy

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Entitlement is the opposite of enchantment.” ~ Guy Kawaski

Yesterday after I wrote about my college escapades in my  hand-me-down car, I began thinking of how different life is now for students compared to when I was in college in the early 1970s. My sister and I were very fortunate to even have had a vehicle to share in college because the majority didn’t. We were thrilled to death to have inherited the old “jalopy.”

When the budget was low and we ran low on gas money, we pooled our funds with our girlfriends. Back then, giving credit cards to college students was unheard of – most families operated on a cash only basis. If you had built a good reputation or were good friends with the shopkeeper, sometimes they did extend credit in emergency situations. gas rationing

Back in 1973 it didn’t matter who you were or what kind of car you drove, you were not entitled to having a full tank of gas at anytime of day or night. It was the days of gas rationing. My sister and I had to plan our 500 mile treks home from school vacations very carefully. We could only purchase gas on certain days and at some gas stations there was a 10 gallon limit.

To take things even further – we had to wait in line to use the pay telephone if we wanted to call our parents. And forget calling  on a whim – every telephone call cost dearly.There were no package plans! On Sunday evenings, every two weeks, we called home. And the time allotment had two be split between two talking heads, mine and my sisters.

Do you think young adults in today’s society have the same kind of coping skills as in previous generations? I’d like to hear from you.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected Sue’s memoir

Hand-Me-Down Memories

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Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Andersen

I don’t think there is a person alive who doesn’t attach memories to the cars they’ve owned. The car my twin sister and I had in college was a hand-me-down from our parents. They thought the Plymouth wagon had seen it’s better days, but we proved them wrong, big time.

Our college friends nicknamed the vehicle the “The Batmobile.” My maiden name is Batton, hence, the moniker made sense! It was one of the most recognizable cars on campus because it was as long and wide as a barge, and our friends could see us coming down the pike from far distances. For me, just seeing over the steering wheel was a challenge.

We carted around as many fellow students as we possibly could, with all their gear, to Stowe and Smugglers Notch Ski Areas and places way beyond. We’d pack  ’em in like sardines, because seat belts were unheard of in those days. Off we’d head for another day on the slopes. The Batmobile could slurp the gas alright, almost as quickly as it was filled up. And when the fuel gauge finally gave up the ghost we had to keep an emergency gas fund just in case. After all we were only poor college students with limited budgets.

One fall weekend, my twin and I and our girlfriends decided to go hiking on the Long Trail (an extension of the Appalachian Trail ). Being typical college students we…. ummmm….sometimes got hair brained ideas. We decided we’d be trail blazers and take the lazy louts approach to hiking. We drove as far as we possibly could up the Long Trail and parked it. The next day when we returned to our car after spending the night on the trail in the cabins, here is a photo of what we were faced with. One of our housemates had gotten wind of our plans, and decided to play a prank. BATMOBILE It was all in good fun, and one of my most dear memories from Johnson State College This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Click for Info & Ordering