Just Juniors Journal
For fifteen-year-olds of all ages.
"Do we make a difference? The trick is not to look at the big picture. We're a small group of people. We're never gonna stop abuse; it's always been with us. We can't possibly save the world; it's way too big....So. Do we make a difference? Ask the little girl asleep in the back of the van."
-Lou to BiPagan, January 14, 2001
NORTH TO ANDOVER
Editor's Note: This is another one of those articles that everybody decided to do. So, we split it up chronologically, and each kid took a slice. This is the whole weekend, one kid at a time. -L.
From Vesta Jones: On January 12, 2001 AD, Lost Solace and the LS Kids took an adventurous trip to see Claymore and Angel, the LS Leaders, in Andover, New York. BiPagan and her fiancee, Ed, rented a van to help with the trip. Nick, a member of the team brought his new Cougar. Me, Staci Wyland, Brenda Geyer, Debbie Benfield, and Lou also made the trip.
We headed out around four-thirty PM. After a few bathroom breaks and a couple of missed exits, we finally made it there by seven-thirty that night. After a few hugs, "Nice to see you"s, and "Missed you"s, Angel arrived with Jedi, who had shown up incognito as an elf.
When we all got acquainted, we took off for Pizza Hut. I've never eaten so much in my life. We all alughed, cracked jokes, and recited poems over dinner. After we were all stuffed, and waddled ourselves out to the vehicles, we went back to the farm, and I went straight to the sofa bed.
I got a good night's sleep, and when we woke up, we ate a feast for breakfast. Pancakes with sour cream (It's good; you should try it), eggs with cheese, and grits. We got dressed and went to an animal rehabilitation place. The rest of the trip is reported below.
From Staci Wyland: On January 13, 2001 AD, we all woke up in Andover, New York. After breakfast, we all went out on a road trip. We ended up at the home of Carol Butler, the owner of Country Critters, Inc, an animal sanctuary and liscenced wildlife rehabilitation center.
It was a very interesting place. They had many animals, from your basic house pets to farm animals. Let's just say,"You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals."
The most interesting thing about this place was that everything was run with wind and solar power. Carol had absolutely no power lines going into her house.
From Debbie Benfield: Our trip to New York was awesome for various reasons. It was my first time out of state, I got to meet new people, and I had a lot of fun.
Saturday afternoon and night, we all talked and laughed. Angel got her truck stuck in a ditch, and Brenda ate it trying to shove it out. Several of the team members went for walks. Angel cooked us dinner. Her food was great.
That night, we went to Claymore's parents' house. His whole family must like cats, because Claymore and Angel have about ten, and his parents have three or four. Claymore's brother is cute. Everyone thought he looks like Bryan of the Backstreet Boys.
That night, we watched a movie. After everyone was out except for me, Claymore, and Angel, Lou and Jedi got a little more acquainted.
TIME AFTER TIME
(Part Two of this storyline can be found in the January CarePage. Part Four will conclude in the February CarePage.)
Two years ago this month, Claymore started the Lost Solace adult group. At first, it was just his own personal web page. Then he invited BiPagan to join, because he had gotten the idea from her site.
The third of the current members to join was Lou. Lou is the one who is in charge of the LS Kids group. He brought the kids into the team in January of 2000.
So, it's a double anniversary: Two years for Lost Solace, and one year for the LS Kids.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Two years back, on a day in February, I met Lou. It was a boring Sunday afternoon, and Erica [Elliott] called. "Wanna go with me?"
"Where?" I asked, wondering what she had in mind.
"To a meeting," she replied. "Trust me, you'll like it."
So Erica picked me up, and off we went, into Lock Haven. As we walked into the meeting, I was intorduced to Lou.
A couple of meetings later, we talked like we were friends. And now two years later, we are friends. Good thing Erica called me up on that boring Sunday afternoon. Otherwise, I wouldn't be where I am now. Attending meeting with my friends and Lou. Life just couldn't be better.
WHITE FLAG OVER: Claymore
During my interview with Claymore, I couldn't help but be impressed. Actually, I was impressed before I ever met him. Through the whole thing, you have to realize who this is. This is Him. This is The Guy Who Started It All.
Claymore began Lost Solace in 1999. He had, at the time, been learning the Internet, and wrestling with personal problems. He was developing his own page, which later metamorphosed into the Lost Solace page.
After seeing BiPagan's page, he had ideas of forming the group, and he invited BiPagan to join. "I wanted a place where people could write their own thoughts," he said,"I wanted a place where people could share. And as each member of the team joined, it formed a new piece, all together, of an incredible landscape."
Claymore works with computers, and in his spare time, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms. He owns a farm in New York, and spends a lot of time working on it.
Some of his favorite incidents? "Hard to narrow it down. There have been so many good times....The first CarePage, and the responses back. when you actually see it on the page, and know people have contributed. The first time I was able to help someone, and they thanked me. Every time, I'm so glad to be there."
Upon reflection, though, there was one time that does stand out as his favorite.
"There was this one moment....We were talking about a topic that was controversial." (This was the legendary "Abortion Talk".) "It lasted a while, but nobody fought, even though some disagreed. We got through that, and I knew I'd put together a widely diverse group. But we could handle a variety of controversial topics, and treat each other with trust and love."
The Just Juniors Journal Is:
President, Ethical Advisor: Vesta Jones
Vice-President: Brenda Geyer
Secretary: Staci Wyland
Staff: Debbie Benfield, Ginger White
Now it's 1996.
I am on a plane, heading from Utah back to Lock Haven. I am twenty-six. In my hand is a piece of paper, that once I thought represented my future.
I have been engaged for a year, to a religious girl. This piece of paper is a prophecy she made me get, from one of the leaders of her church. They believe that can happen---This guy stands with his hands on your head, and tells you your future. I admit to being somewhat skeptical, but it meant a lot to her, so I did it. Mine said that I would be "Married in the Temple, and my children would be many."
My fiancee....Ex-fiancee, now....Did go through the marraige ceremony of her faith with me, in the temple in Salt Lake. But when things got difficult, she bailed. The first problem we had, she folded like lawn furniture. I'm not a believer like she is, and for all her big talk about acceptance, she can not cope with that. We are no longer together, and she told me I'm going to Hell.
"I'm already in Hell," I told her. "People can create evil well enough on their own, without any help from some fictional devil. We each create our own Hell for each other, every day, without realizing it."
She has left me, and I'm alone and miserable. If the plane goes down on the way back to Pennsylvania, I'll be the only person on it who doesn't particularly care.
Once again, my life was good for a while. And once again, the rug got pulled out from under me with no warning. So I'm headed back to Lock Haven, to pick up the scraps remaining from what was once my life.
I look again at this "prophecy". Married in the temple, with many children. As if I needed any more confirmation that this religion is false. It's not going to happen now, is it?
But, though I don't know it at the time, there is hope left in my future. Soon after my engagement breaks up, I meet a group of kids looking for a real leader. They want to do community service, anything good, and they need a responsible adult for that. I'll do.
Not really meaning to, I get involved with this bunch. They're a pretty good group of kids, really. And I get closer to them than I originally wanted. For four years, we spend time together, the kids and I. Meetings, projects, trips, until finally, they are the LS kids, and I cannot imagine my life without them.
These kids and I, we are so much a part of one another's lives, words don't say it. We have stayed together through all sorts of storms and problems, helped one another and been supportive, and formed out own small, tight, weird sort of family.
And as much as I hate to admit it, the prophecy did come true.
I did marry my ex in the temple....Nobody ever said it would last. And nobody promised they'd be hers....But I did end up with many children.
It's livable. In fact, it's a good life.
The kids come over all the time, and we talk. We have soda and pizza together, and we laugh a lot. Where my fiancee once was, I now have a dozen juvenile delinquents. And I couldn't possibly be happier.
I still believe that we make our own Hell.
Maybe, just maybe, we make our own Heaven, too.
-Race you back to the CarePage