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Driving: A History

Our Doses of Relief: Gas Card Edition is underway and we are so thankful to be able to provide #Relief with gas cards donated by Kwik Trip (read the Ode to Kwik Trip post here). The simple switch from swiping a credit card at the pump to a gift card provides a little boost. One less bill to pay on top of medical *stuff.* We've used the 8 cards donated from Kwik trip along with 4 additional in SE Wisconsin and 4 in the Boston area! In August, we will be providing 20 cards to Caregivers who check out of Kathy's House (hospital guest house) and have to drive more than an hour home.

My family drove a LOT during the years my Dad had brain surgeries and eventually cancer treatment. I love Peshtigo. But it is NOT close to much of anything. We are fortunate in SE Wisconsin to be close to many medical facilities, but we do also have #Caregivers who drive to Madison and Illinois. And when they are doing it day after day and week after week it adds up. We are looking forward to providing more gas card "Doses" to these deserving Caregivers.

My personal history with driving is just fascinating ;) So many people ask me how I ended up in the Milwaukee area when I grew up in such a small town. The answer: a lot of driving LOL and a job offer to a 22 year old college grad with just enough curiosity to make the leap. Would I like the big city atmosphere?! Turns out...yup.

Even Ripon where I went to college was small. It was 2 hour door to door to my house in Peshtigo. That didn't feel bad because before that the main place I drove was Madison which was 3 hours. My parents grew up there and alllll our family still lives there. Both sets of grandparents and aunts/uncles. So holiday weekends were often spent there when my sister and I were kids. I will always remember waiting at the top of the stairs at my Grandma Gail's house Christmas morning. Playing dress up with the high heels in my Grandma Carole's closet. The walks around both of their neighborhoods. My goofy uncles.

Our favorite stop between Peshtigo and Madison was in infamous Rosendale, known for the heavy police presence ;) SLOW down when you drive thru their one stop light! We got ice cream at the gas station there almost every time we drove through.

Madison also happened to be where most of my Dad's doctors were located. Later in his life he switched many to Green Bay because, well, he was sick of driving to Madison after all those years. We'd combine medical appointment trips with time with family. It really did help to not make it seem so hard. Family always helps! And a "free" place to stay. We were so lucky to not have to spend money on a hotel like many patients and their families have to do.

I'm not know for being the best of drivers (bit of a lead foot). There, I said it! I recall on a trip from West Allis (where my first teaching job was) to Madison after my Dad's last brain surgery. It was the week of Thanksgiving and the sun was setting early. I left school close to 4 and was driving directly into the setting sun trying to get on the highway. I couldn't see the car in front of me stop abruptly and accidently tapped their bumper. NOT what I wanted to have to deal with on the way to see my Dad post surgery. Luckily basically 0 damage and the other driver didn't care. Phew! Continued on my way. Dad was not really awake that night since surgery was a big one and it had only been 24 hours. I remember him being in pain and trying to move/pull on wires/cords. It was a short visit since I had one day left to teach that week before the holiday. Drove back in the dark. It's almost 90 minutes between Madison and Milwaukee. Finished teaching, then drove back to Madison until Thanksgiving. This was the famous Thanksgiving mentioned in this post.

I'm also known for totally 1.5 cars ;) one being my brand new (to me) red ford fusion turning out of a Target parking lot in Madison. I was supposed to be headed a few hours north that afternoon to my friend Leah's bachelorette party so got way delayed obviously. Have no fear, trusty Edna to the rescue. My family had the habit of naming cars (like Professor Plum or purple mini van). Edna was a sea green Saturn station wagon. I'd been driving it before purchasing Rosie (the Fusion) and thankfully I grabbed it from my sister who was living on UW campus at the time. It also could have been Connie (my Dad's blue Ford Contour); my memory is a bit fuzzy on when Edna went to car heaven because it was LONG overdue by the time she did.

Rosie ended up being fixed and I drove her for several more years until I really totaled her (not my fault this time) on my way to school in Franklin, WI. What a fun way to start the day of teaching 25 1st graders. Sterling, the silver Fusion was next in line. Oh Sterling. I loved him!

Besides speeding tickets/warnings (which unfortunately there have been a few of), no issues with Sterling until it was time to upgrade to a bigger SUV after having kiddo number 2. Now I drive Rogue-y (black Nissan) who I adore. Roguey has done TONS and TONS of miles delivering Right Relief meals, visiting Peshtigo & Madison among other adventures.

Lastly, I want to thank our Relief Squad Driving Fleet! Rory, Ken, Jen, Todd, Sue, Bill, Julie, Jan, Maali & Teri: we couldn't do it without you!!

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