Load up the Trailer! It’s Pipelining Time!!

I went to five schools when I was in the second grade. My dad was/is a pipeliner, my grandfather was a pipeliner, my step-dad was/is a pipeliner and now my brother is a pipeliner too. The life of a pipelining family is unsettling. My dad would work all day at the local sawmill then come home and sit by the phone on the wall, willing the call to come in for that next big job. He would spend hours on the phone on Sundays calling everyone he knew, trying to find out what jobs were coming up and did they need a dozer operator, a foreman, a laborer, anything at all. When the call finally came, it was load up the trailer, truck and car, and be in Wyoming in three days ready to work. No matter where my dad went, we went too. So, what that meant for me and my brother is leaving our home town school and starting over and over, year after year. Some jobs were only a couple of months and some were a year.

Second grade was a particularly hard year on me. At five towns spread out through Texas, the teacher would smile on Monday mornings and say “Class, please welcome our new student Angel. She is from Tennessee.” Kids were no different than they are today. The bullying wasn’t what it is now, but the cliques and social rankings were in place wherever I went from Kindergarten on. I don’t have a lot of memories of each of those schools that year, because I didn’t have very many friends. I kept to myself and had lunch with my older brother if he was at the same school that time. I do specifically remember one sweet girl from India who asked me to be her friend. Just like that…”would you like to be my friend?” Her dad ran an old motel outside of town and my mom would drop me off on Saturdays and we had a blast cleaning rooms with her mom. I have no idea to this day why I thought that was fun, but it was.

In another town, when I was about 12, I was invited to a pool party by a super duper cute and peppy cheerleader. I was in that really awkward, crooked teeth, hair parted down the middle with barrettes on each side, stone washed jeans too short, stage. Google dork or goober and you’ll get the picture. Anyways, I was beside myself with excitement. I BEGGED my mom to PLEASE take me and drop me off for the day. Because she didn’t know the parents and we were new in town, we settled on two hours. When I arrived, I was thrilled to see a sea of tan, long legged blondes in two piece bikinis sipping on Sunkist and Dr Pepper. I briefly second guessed my one piece, but that wasn’t going to ruin my big day. All the girls were introducing themselves and “Ooooh, welcome Angel,” blah, blah and “tell us ALL about Tennessee” and so on. About 20 mins into it, the girl who was hosting the party walks up to me and says, “You do realize that the only reason we invited you was to make fun of your accent.” Honestly, I laughed at first because I thought she was just joking, but then it dawned on me that they invited me just to make an ass out of me. These were the days of no cell phones. So here I sit and wait in the corner another hour and a half for my mom to come get me. I’m not trying to be pathetic here, but it was a long wait.

So, what is the point of all this? You could assume that I am making a point that kids are cruel to each other, or geez your parents were assholes to drag you kids all over the country, or why on earth does everyone in your entire family work in that god-awful business? The point though is, you are who you are in life and you end up as an adult, exactly where you were meant to be. I am exactly where I was meant to be in life because of the choices and experiences that have shaped me along the way. Good or bad, my personality and qualities have been shaped by living life on the run. A childhood built on meeting new people all over the country has resulted in my being very open and welcoming to new friends, eager to travel all over the world without fear of the unknown, and to NOT COMPLAIN about my life today. Trust me, I do not want to go back to living in a trailer. There are so many people I meet who I refer to as “Double Debbie Downers.” You know who these people are. They come in to work on Monday whining and crying about their weekend, their spouse, their kids, their gout. If you hear me whine and cry, at any time, please punch me in the face because I deserve it.

I have a friend and colleague who tells her employees and peers all the time to “put on your big girl panties.” She says this to both guys and girls actually. I know you have heard this phrase before, but I have literally heard her say this over and over for about 8 years. And, she is absolutely right. Put on your big girl panties. If you don’t like the cards you have been dealt, then change them.


21 thoughts on “Load up the Trailer! It’s Pipelining Time!!

  1. I even have the license plate to prove it: BGRLPNT. Put them on and deal with it!!

  2. Leisa Evans says:

    Angel thank you for sharing this personal story. I truly believe all things happen for a reason. This reason is sometimes unknown at the time then later you say oh yes now I see!
    In my professional world i have to wear big girl panties a lot, but on occasion I get to slip on those thongs!

  3. Courtney Pack says:

    Angel,I agree with you 100%.We are all shaped by our past whether it was good or bad. Sometimes what we think was bad really makes us stronger.I have enjoyed reading your blog! Loved the pipeline story!

  4. Nice share Angel. Your story reminds me a bit of Glass Castle. 🙂

  5. Shana says:

    I agree!! Every choice we make each day sends us on a certain path for the future!!! Love the blog! Growing up as an Army Brat you do learn to adapt to change!! You got me beat on the 5 teachers in second grade!! 🙂

    • angelknorr says:

      Thanks for reading Mama. Army brats and pipeline kids are the same. Maybe that’s why we love getting the heck out of dodge together and getting in some trouble! xoxo

  6. Kay Cotham says:

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I went to 7 different schools in the first grade and don’t recall it being a hardship. I loved traveling and your grandmother made sure that we got to see any landmarks that were close to us. How many other people can say they lived at the edge of the Badlands and slid down them on a piece of cardboard like sliding down a snow covered hill? Been to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Carlsbad Caverns, etc all because of that ” god-awful business”. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.

    • angelknorr says:

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your perspective. You have also lived life on the run which makes for some great stories and experiences, which I hope you will continue to share with all of us! I agree that I would never choose to live my life in another pair of shoes, but that’s a whole other blog..

  7. Ann Evans says:

    Reminds me of being raised up in a preacher’s home, moving often and being forced into meeting new friends. While I hated it at the time, it became a part of who I am today. No whining, no excuses!

  8. April Williams says:

    This has to be my favorite blog entry yet! I couldn’t agree with you more about our experiences as a child molding us into who we are as adults and can definitely identify with that awkward stage where other kids are fascinated with that lovely Tennessee Twang and lack of fashion sense.(and them not being friendly about it by any means) How awesome does it feel to know you can proudly think in the back of your mind “Who’s laughing now?”.
    Growing up with a blue collar Daddy myself I also have high respect for “No whining!” and I welcome you to do the same if you ever hear me whining about what I call “First World problems” haha!

  9. Melanie hankinson says:

    I’m really enjoying your blog!!

  10. Amy Emmerling says:

    Angel, I cannot even imagine moving around as much as you did as a child! I was born in a small town (♪♫ can you hear John Cougar Mellencamp music?! ♪♫) and now live a few miles from where I was raised. My husband and I have known each other since High School and most of my family still live nearby. It is true that our life shapes us, although unlike you my awkward stage seems to be perpetual. I have literally lived in the same area my whole life. Small towns where everyone knows EVERYTHING about you and your family can be difficult too. Recently, my choice to move to RM has opened new doors and I am seeing more and trying new things which I LOVE!! Keep writing– I love your blog!

    • angelknorr says:

      Thank you Amy for your comments about growing up in a small town. I know that can be tough too because when we weren’t pipelining, we were at our home base which is a town of 2,000! But there’s something special about knowing everyone in town and being with family every day. I miss that 😦 Thank you for supporting my blog!!!

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