I told the story of “Hall Ball”. Half of the dormitory floor was boys and the other half was girls. The boy half was, of course, rowdy. Mostly freshman and sophomore boys who didn’t have mommy around anymore to keep them in check. They were constantly giving me a hard time as I was their resident advisor (read authority) and therefore the enemy. Hall Ball was a full contact sport they had invented. It was a mixture of football, basketball, rugby, wrestling and soccer…if you can imagine that. They were inventive, if nothing else. The problem: every week the exit signs got broken. The building director, of course, saw this as my problem, since these shenanigans would occur on my floor. So….I tried my very best to instill the fear of God into those boys. I found all the crazy I could find inside (that wasn’t hard, I was college Tori) and read them whatever riot act I thought would work. They laughed at me. I went home 100% sure that I would come back from the weekend to a broken exit sign.

I was wrong. Apparently they weren’t entirely careless and barbaric. They were so excited to show me just how clever they could be with this very effective exit sign protector that worked wonders.

As I wrapped up the story of Hall Ball someone said “You have happy memories, Tori”.
“Yes, I do” I answered.

My memories are happy because I choose for them to be happy.

Two summers ago on a super hot day in July I put Violet in her tutu bathing suit. We went out into the small and narrow backyard at Suzy’s old house, which is where we were living. She sat in the little wading pool and smiled while she splashed. We soaked up the Vitamin D. I forced myself to push all of the negative out of my mind and just enjoy my baby. That is a beautiful memory from the darkest summer of my life.


I went to a wedding this past weekend and had a blast with some of my favorite people in the world. Most of which I haven’t seen in years. High school is never an easy time, particularly if you’ve always embraced your inner dork, like me. I remember the hard parts of high school, but my *memories* are of bowling, taking pictures of Porsches, getting carnations on Valentines day and visits in college from the friends who will always be friends, even if we don’t see each other for a decade.


We had a purple notebook in middle school. Boy would I LOVE to find one of those. We just wrote notes back and forth until the notebook was full and then we’d get a new one and start all over. We’d write about crushes, sports, our dreams of getting married and having kids. We worked on projects together, went trick or treating together, rang in the new year together. And life happens and high school happens and things happen. And then things like Facebook happen and it’s given all of us a chance to see how it’s all worked out and be friends on a different level. I don’t remember why we went our separate ways, but I do know that this chick is a kick as mommy in a loving marriage. She’s been through some sad times and some amazing times, and I’m pretty sure her dreams came true. Pretty awesome.


I moved off campus with a whole group of awesome ladies. We had all kinds of fun. From just sitting on the porch, to old school Wednesdays at the Pub. We even partied with Chunk from the Goonies *see photo*. These memories are some of my favorite, even though I haven’t talked to most of the 259 ladies since graduation. The details of that story belong in a whole separate blog post about growing up and making mistakes and finding who you are and then seeing things in hindsight and dealing with the disappointment in yourself. Non-the-less…the memories are amazing and funny and everything I’d ever hoped they’d be. I’ll always love these girls.


We were the “Spirit Queens”. We planned pep rallies, and dated football players. We went to senior week together, and since we were so innocent back then we watched “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” and had Old Time Photos taken while our classmates got trashed. She went one way and I went another. Then I realized that my way was the wrong way and found her. I’m so thankful for all of my memories of this beautiful lady because she is proof that everything happens for a reason. I get to watch her family grow and hold on to the truth that there is true happiness out there, even after heartbreak.


We shared a short, Italian Best Friend. While she learned lessons of her own with a man who was all wrong for her we had no choice but to spend lots of time together. “Had no choice” is the wrong way to put it, because I cherish every single second of that time. Memories of this amazing man are all that my short Italian Best Friend and I have left. Along with the hundreds of others who were touched by him. Maybe he learned all of the lessons he was supposed to learn, maybe he will come back in another life and so will we and we we will be together then. Maybe he is in heaven waiting for us. Whatever helps each of us get to the place where we can deal with permanent loss. What I do know: he deserves a smile on my face when I think of him. He deserves for us to tell stories of him and laugh more than we cry…*we deserve that too*. The happy memories in the midst of the sad.


We all had a blast that night. It was a true girls night out and I was truly happy then. I was in love and getting married. Every thing that has happened since then has been instrumental in shaping the woman I’ve become, so even though this memory references my biggest lapse of judgement in myself and in another…I will always remember it fondly.


The moral of my happy memories? I could find something negative or sad or horrible or embarrassing or disappointing about each of these memories. I’d have to think long and hard for some of them…and it’s just right below the surface for others. Every day when you wake up you decide what kind of day you have. You decide how the actions of others will affect you. You decide to hold on to the positive or the negative in the memories that you make. So yes: I have Happy Memories. And no: it isn’t because I’ve had an easy life. I am exactly who I’ve decided to be, and that is a Happy Girl.