Denise is a good friend who introduced Greg and me to each other back at summer camp in 1985 when we were 13. Denise works at the Seattle Humane Society and she’s participating in the Walk for the Animals on October 2. EuroLux donates every year to support her.
She is a huge animal lover just like us. She and her husband Ken have a zoo too, as you can see from the holiday picture on the right. They have 5 dogs plus they often foster babies from the shelter.
Although I was very precocious as a child, by the time I hit middle school I had become extremely shy. My parents felt I needed a push to get over my lack of confidence so when I brought home a flyer about the Cullowhee Experience summer camp at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, for the summer before ninth grade, they thought it was a fantastic idea. They signed me up even though it was a long trip from my home in Florida.
The first day of summer camp was painful. I didn’t know anyone and was too shy to start conversations. We were all gathered together to go to a dance in the gymnasium on the first night and I was delighted when a bubbly strawberry blonde from Tennessee smiled widely at me and introduced herself as Denise in her charming Southern accent. She was so friendly and kind and I immediately tagged along with her.
When we arrived at the gymnasium, she said she’d introduce me to all her friends, as she had been there the previous summer.
She bounced us over to a cute guy with blondish-brown hair and a mouth full of braces and introduced him as her friend, Greg from South Carolina. That is when I remember meeting Greg. However, I must have been such a wallflower that I didn’t make much of an impression because Greg doesn’t remember that at all.
Greg remembers meeting me a few days later when we were all taken to a local carnival for the afternoon. I was standing at the bottom of the Ferris wheel when Greg walked up to me and asked if I wanted to ride. That was a pretty smooth line for a 13-year-old! I agreed, but he said I had to promise not to rock it because he didn’t really like heights. Of course, I swore that I would definitely not rock it and gave him a big smile. He really must have thought I was pretty cute, because in hindsight, I now know that Greg is terrified of heights. (Remember our Antiquing and Ziplining in Asheville post?)
Although I was shy, I have always loved to play practical jokes. While I swore I would not rock the Ferris wheel, I had absolutely no intention of keeping that promise. Amazingly, Denise snapped a photo of us on the Ferris wheel on the way up to the top. When we reached the very tippy-top, I began kicking my legs with all my might and really got the bench swinging – I found it hilarious that Greg just hung on with white knuckles, telling me to knock it off. And that is how Greg remembers meeting me – I really made an impression on that day! He still swears he will never ride a Ferris wheel with me again.
That Cullowhee Experience summer was so magical. We lived in the dorms, ate at the cafeteria, attended classes and activities, and roamed around the campus. We played truth or dare in the cemetery at night, scaring each other and laughing non-stop. It was my first taste of true independence and I loved it. We all counted down the days until the next summer.
We went back the next two years and Denise was my roommate and best camp friend. After camp was over, Greg, Denise and I all kept in touch with letters. Ten years later, Greg and I reconnected and you know how that turned out.
Twenty-five years after Denise introduced me to Greg, we all got a chance to see each other in person again in 2010. Greg and I made a large delivery to a new bed and breakfast in Walla Walla, Washington and stopped to see Denise.
She had recently met Ken, moved to Seattle, and started working at the Seattle Animal Shelter. She is a huge animal lover.
Besides all the great work the Seattle Animal Shelter does on a regular basis, they hold an annual Walk for the Animals, and we support Denise during her walk.
If you would like to contribute, click here to donate to Walk for the Animals.
EuroLuxHome.com also supports our local no-kill shelter, Pets, Inc. with a portion of each sale. You can donate too to Pets. Inc here.
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.