|Posted by johnnieraz on February 23, 2025 at 12:15 AM|
By John Rezell
It's funny how life unfolds before you, more often than not attempting to convey that great lesson offered by The Rolling Stones.
"You can't always get what you want,
but if you try sometime, you find,
you get what you need ..."
I remember living rather contently as an adolescent in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin never thinking much of any future beyond state lines.
Wisconsin offered four very distinctive seasons.
Stunningly beautiful nature in the Kettle Moraine and beyond.
Great sports teams in the Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, Lew Alcindor's Milwaukee Bucks, Al McGuire's Marquette Warriors and Bambi's Bombers/Harvey's Wallbanging Brewers.
Then one day my Dad came home from his job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and announced that he could pretty much be transferred to any department in the US of A.
He just returned from a conference in Colorado, and although we did travel a decent amount throughout my childhood throughout the Midwest and South, I remember that day my wanderlust exploding from within as he spoke about Colorado, its majestic mountains lifting my spirits.
For the next few weeks I'm certain he wished he had never opened his mouth.
Even though I grew up a diehard Marquette basketball fan and pegged it as my dream school, I campaigned heavily for a move to California. Anywhere in California, to get residency, and matriculate to UCLA. My Dad dismissed California immediately, but wasn't quite yet ready to abandon the idea of Colorado.
The anticipation ended when I overheard my parents having a discussion at the kitchen table, my Mom asking if he was really serious about contemplating a move.
That's when I heard him say that our whole family is here, in Wisconsin. My older sister with her kids, my older brother with his. My Dad's mother and his sister. My Mom's sister. No, he couldn't move away from all of that.
This was my freshman year of high school, and I pretty much decided that my future would be a mix of writing and music. Probably a double major in college, Journalism and Music, en route to become a teacher. Then my high school band director destroyed my love of music in one short semester. You find you get what you need.
With Journalism reigning as my calling and every adviser warning, "You better love it because you won't get rich doing it" the number crunching for college quickly dismissed Marquette as a choice.
I found the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to have a great J-school, and as I graduated my plan was concrete. Two years at Whitewater, then a transfer to the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Two years into my Whitewater experience, my roots were forged deep into the school and my future in newspapers. Lucky for me, heading to Madison didn't even cross my mind.
As my junior year began as sports editor of the student newspaper, unbeknownst to me, my soulmate wandered into my life.
Even though Debbie grew to be my closest friend, the thought of marriage couldn't be further from my mind. Even as I graduated, if you asked me, I'd tell you any chance at marriage to anyone would be 10 or more years ahead. Career first. I had the world to see.
Of course, two years later we were married. Two eager Journalists, one print and one broadcast, ready to climb the ladder. One thing we did know: Children were not in our plans. Not soon, maybe, not ever.
That, too, eventually changed after 14 years of marriage as we ended a string of fantastic adventurous vacations — each year surpassing the previous experience, simply blowing our minds. At the end of that vacation in the mountains of Idaho at the pristine Lake Alturus, it hit me. The only way to make the next vacation better was to share it with someone. We decided right then to start a family.
My oldest daughter just graduated from college. My youngest in her junior year. I'm not sure what awaits beyond the horizon. I'm just comforted knowing I'll get what I need.