February 5, 2014: Raspberry Beret

Freshman year of college with my roommate, Julie
Today I woke up in a foul mood. I hate to admit this, but nonetheless; it's the truth. I was crabby for reasons I will avoid pointing out. Just trust me that if you knew the story, you would give me a bye.

With sleepy boys and a snow day, I decided it was time to conquer the snow-covered streets of Omaha at 8:00 a.m. Still frowning while pulling out of my neighborhood, the best thing to conquer a bad attitude occurred. A favorite song, full of teenage memories, came through my Sirius radio. The "80's on 8" station rarely lets me down.

"I was working part time in a five-and-dime. My boss was Mr. McGee. He told me several times that he didn't like my kind. Cause I was a bit too leisurely. Seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing. But different from the day before. That's when I saw her, ooh, I saw her. She walked in through the out door, out door. She wore a raspberry beret. The kind you find in a second hand store...."

After breaking out in an impromptu dance in the driver's seat, my mind filled with visions of a beret I owned at age eighteen. I was a new college student.

The college of note was Westmar and it was not my choice. My dad, in his wisdom, guided my immature secondary education perspectives in that direction. I reluctantly applied and signed up for classes. My biggest reservation was that it was too close to home.

From the moment I stepped unto campus for registration, I quickly learned that the college was its own community; distinct from my little town a short drive away. Being among a sea of eighteen to twenty year-old's was exhilarating. An adult identity separate from anything acquired through my grade school and high school years began.

My wardrobe choice for the big registration day was a Guess faded denim mini-skirt with a collared white shirt. And carefully placed on my french-braided sun-kissed hair was a white beret. With tanned legs showing out the bottom, my tanned face with youthful smooth skin stuck out below my little accent piece. I was pleased.

I made my way in my blue Nova to the Westmar campus and was stopped by a train outside of town. I sat, waiting patiently, as Prince blared from the radio his thoughts of a girl in a raspberry beret. The memory is vivid. My response was to dance in the driver's seat. I couldn't help but admire my own beret in the rear view mirror.

Minutes later I confidently walked up to the college registration desk in the line marked "W - Z"

"Wagner, Sandy Wagner, W-A-G-N-E-R," I told the handsome man who greeted me.

With a smile, he introduced himself as Russ Lane. Most know the rest of this story. As Russ and his wife, Robbie, are still two of my dearest friends.

Another college ambassador working registration that day later told me Russ' comment as I approached the packet pick-up.

"Who is the cute girl in the Jewish hat?"

Thank-you for that, Russ. I have always taken this as a compliment. And second-hand compliments are the best.

"She wore a Raspberry beret....." Today really wasn't so bad after all.


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