While getting to acquainted online, I learned from Duane’s profile that he had three children – teenagers! My own children had friends who were expert in the art of sabatoge. One young lady ruined the girlfriend’s laundry and keyed her car, among other devious acts designed to break up her dad’s budding relationship.
Duane was raising his son and daughters and seemed like a great dad, but I really had no idea what his children would be like. I only had my second-hand experience and imagination as a guide. Then he sent me this picture, with his commentary found on page 61 of our book.
“Do these kids look too good to belong to a guy like me or what? Don’t let their good looks fool you; they’re quite rotten. I have promised them that because of their evil ways I’ll marry a wicked stepmother. You don’t know any wicked, single women I could *hook up with that happen to be LDS, do ya?”
When I met Emily, Mallory and JR, I got to know another wonderful thing about their dad. They were bright and funny and happy, not at all like the teen terrors we hear about all too often. And they welcomed me into their lives without reservation.
As a step-mother who never had occasion to help raise them, I have the deepest respect for Duane and the wonderful job he did as a single father. It’s amazing to me even today, that not one of those teens was ever disrespectful or unkind to me in any way. As adults, they are still really cool, fun and incredibly caring and thoughtful. All step-parents should be so lucky.
After a stint in the Air Force and some time in Utah, JR is back in Virginia, working and being a devoted dad. Mallory is in Kansas, married to a helicopter pilot and makes being a stay at home mom to two little boys look easy. Emily graduated from college with two degrees and lives and works in Washington state with her husband and their golden lab.
*Hooking up back then did not mean what it means today!!
~Selena Pannell, co-author of 3,000 Miles To Eternity: A True Internet Love Story