I began work at Arkansas State Police in August of 1987. I wasn't really a secretary, starting out, I was in what they called The "Typing Pool". I was 17, the youngest they'd ever had there. I actually took a cut in pay until I turned 18, which was ok by me; it was the job that rescued me from the iron grip of my mother. Everyone there either "adopted" me with love or they hated me.
At the interview:
I was scared to death of messing up. I had failed high school typing, and now this was going to be my job. I had prayed the entire 11 miles from home to headquarters that I'd pass that damn typing test, then I failed. A sweet woman named Marvis saw the tears in my eyes and gave me another chance. I prayed again, this time harder. I took the test again. Passed it with flying colors with no mistakes. Believe me... God was there. You will see why in a minute.
After that, I interviewed with a high ranker behind closed doors, and passed in there, I found Marvis and thanked her- I had the job and it was because of her kindness.
I was incredibly timid and shy. I was overwhelmed. After a few months I summoned the courage to ask where the bathroom was. Previously, I just "held it" until I could go home for lunch.
When I finally made a friend, Jackie, she gave me a tour and an education of everyone's dirty secrets. She knew everything about everyone, everywhere, and everyone knew it, so no one, I mean no one, messed with Jackie. I don't know why she chose me to be her friend or "homie", but I was grateful! When the other girls made fun of me or my attire, she jumped right up their asses, no holds barred. She was my friend, advisor, navigator, confidante, and protector. She also introduced me to liquid lunch, and we had some really great lunches! If you know what I mean. ;)
I got promoted to Administration Company Secretary, got my own desk, shared the office with a bunch of undercovers, or plain clothes officers. I wasn't in Jackie's office space anymore but we still had lunch and breaks together, that is when we were actually working. We tended to finish our work super fast so we had lots of time to play.
My Captain one day interrupted a very important conversation between us to tell me that he needed me to go to that Colonel's office to answer phones while the secretary was lunching. I froze. I didn't know anybody's names, so how was I to know if they were there or not??? In fact, Jackie was more suited... She knew everyone! But no! My Captain said they requested me. Deep breath. I was so scared.
I gingerly walked into the Colonel's office and sat in the secretary's chair. A grumpy 50 year old man came out from his office, glasses down on his nose, looking really mean, and said to me, "I don't know who you are or where you came from, but you need to go back there because you are not wanted in here!"
I walked out, crying, straight to my Captain's office and said, "I don't know who that son-of-a-bitch is, but I am NOT going back in there.
A year or so later, they were making a State Police Annual so we all had to have our photos taken. I stood in line with Jackie, I was wearing my tightest white jeans and my coolest shirt, I had my hair and make up perfect, even to the standards of my own vanity. Jackie, social butterfly that she was, was working the line. It was October of 1991.
She came back to me laughing uncontrollably. She said, "Stace that old man wants to get with you." Yes, the one who made me cry, the mean one. She begged me to go out with him. I agreed but there was a condition - she had to go too. Our first date: me, Jackie, and John. Pizza Hut.
John and I were inseparable from then on. We still are. We married in April of 1992, Jackie was a bridesmaid. John was 51 and I was 21.
Now to Marvis, the sweet lady who gave me that job. In the 70's, she had done the same thing I did, really messed up her interview, and someone gave HER a second chance. It was John.
Doesn't God work in mysterious ways?
I never doubt or question that I am where I should be. God has always answered my prayers, He just sometimes takes the scenic route to our answers.
As for now... I am grateful for many things, but I am especially grateful for my old Captain Charlie Bolls (God rest his soul), Marvis, and of course my Jackie. And John, he is my own personal angel, whom I love more than life itself. I just NEVER want to work with or for him ;)