Ever since my camp friend, (the other Nancy!) turned my maiden name, Schmidt, into Schmidty, over thirty years ago, the name has stuck. After my last summer at camp, I met a chemistry major, Kyme, at a Delta Tau Delta party in Bloomington, IN. His black curly hair was shorter than most, (though still long by today’s standards). His perfect posture placed him a head above the crowd, and his manners made him seem older. His bearing drew me toward him like a port in a storm. Call it love at first sight, a soul finding its destiny, or the force of angels, but before I could question it, I was introducing myself to him. Later that evening, I learned he was attending Indiana University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship.
I have always felt the pull of two warring personalities. Who hasn’t, at some point or other? (It’s a common thread running through “Memory Lake“.) I suspect many of you have settled down by now, but being an ambidextrous Gemini, I still feel the pull. I thrive on the struggle and Kyme helps me find the middle.
At that Delta Tau Delta party, Kyme was a junior and I was a freshman, a young freshman, since I’d graduated high school at sixteen, (turning seventeen days later). He lived with three clearly focused, intelligent, and brutally honest roommates. All of them, Kyme especially, challenged me to find my middle. Opinions needed to be well articulated and backed by facts because nearly every discussion turned into a debate. Since facts could not be had at the flick of a finger, some debates never ended. Others turned on the last, best liar. Craving gravitas, I left the field of linguistics for the Kelley School of Business, and chose accounting as a major. I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. I began following politics. When they graduated after my sophomore year, despite the great company of my fun, elegant roommate, (Janet of Newton, MA), I missed them. I missed Kyme.
He had headed off to California for navigator training. My mom said, “He is starting a new life without you. You can finish your degree anywhere.” Therefore, at the end of my junior year, after passing both semesters of Intermediate Accounting, the weeding out course which sent many students to finance or marketing, I married Kyme. He really wanted me to have that degree from IU’s Kelley School of Business, and would have waited, but my warring personalities would have drowned in a large corporation, which is where that degree would have landed me. Besides, California sounded way more fun.
I am frequently amazed by all I have accomplished at Kyme’s side over three decades. He is that steady beach walker who takes the high ground and steers clear of erratic waves and uneven footing. He plods parallel to shore, walking on firm sand, aiming unwavering for his navigated target. I dodge the waves, laughing at every near miss, following a zigzag path, usually running to catch up to him. If I fall behind, he waits. If I’m about to walk into a fishing line, his deep voice calls, “Schmidty”. When I take Kyme’s hand, I can walk in the middle with my eyes on the sparkling water and the great, vast horizon beyond, confident in my footing.