Daughter #1, the eldest at age 31 is currently the most settled by virtue of (1) her pre-pandemic marriage to longtime boyfriend (though shorter time fiancé) in October 2019 and (2) their purchase this year of a home in Portage, a suburb and “bedroom community” on the south side of Kalamazoo. Prior to this recent full attainment of adulthood, I (and some other family members) thought of her as a Mini-Me. I guess our main commonalties were our shared love of and interest in (American) history, the close relationship enjoyed and/or endured with our mothers, and our general straight arrow Girl Scout based behaviors and attitudes displayed and developed over our formative adolescent years.
She met her hubby, whom I have affectionally referred to as The Evil Genius since about halfway into their relationship of approximately 10 years now. They were both digging up stuff, in an archaeological manner, in St. Louis. His parents and her parents both were living in East Tennessee at the time – his in Chattanooga, hers in Oak Ridge. This was a fortuitous coincidence, especially in light of the many interim stops they had separately and together before their current happy incarnation as Michiganders. I bestowed the title of Evil Genius on my now son-in-law (SIL) based mostly and initially on his appearance.
As the years passed after he met my wonderful daughter, SIL evolved into a bit of an evil genius intellectually, too. To paraphrase part of his mom’s wedding toast, his parents wondered what he would do with his anthropology degree, which again was coincidentally the same degree Mini-Me obtained in nearly the same year. (Another amazing coincidence between them was that both had been uprooted from their childhood homes as high school juniors.)
After their “meet cute” on a dirty dig site, their career interests started to diverge. He got a second bachelor’s degree in Psychology from a private university in Peoria, IL, while she got her Master’s Degree in Archaeology from a public university near where they lived in Bloomington/Normal IL. Like her mom, Mini-Me settled on her career choice sooner rather than later.
After she got her second degree, he decided to pursue his third degree, this time in Human Factors (sounds to me like a good field of study for a budding Evil Genius) at a public research university in Dayton, OH. Over the three years he was working on getting his Masters (which he got for free through acceptance in a PhD program, a degree level neither of them wanted to achieve), they put a lot of miles on their vehicles traveling back and forth between Dayton and Mini-Me’s professional though short-term and/or itinerant positions in Virginia and back again in St. Louis, among other places.
They finally ended up, together, in Kalamazoo in 2019. He had a summer internship there the year before that took longer than it should have to turn into a real permanent job. Both families, and this was post-engagement, were overjoyed! Now the Evil Genius analyzes and evaluates competitor products, usability studies and anthropometric data to provide dimension guidelines to the cross-functional industrial design and studio engineering teams. Sounds evil to me!
Mini-Me, was happy, too, though it was tempered a bit since it then became incumbent upon her to find an equally good and equally permanent job there. That took a while though not too long a while, in the grand scheme of things and certainly not within the timeline of their relationship. Just prior to the wedding, she was hired under contract to work in the archives and records department of Kellogg’s of Battle Creek.
They told her at the time she’d been hired because she already had some management experience and that she also had the requisite education and experience to replace their company archivist when she retired. The latter was really the carrot by which she was drawn in and the icing on the cake (do you love my food metaphors?) was that the archivist did actually retire!
This is how I learned the location