Twenty-five years ago, the Barstow High School Class of 1984 marched across the stage to receive their high school diplomas and launch out into life. We were full of dreams and hopes not knowing what lie ahead, but ready to leave BHS behind. I remember thinking how, like almost every student, I looked forward to leaving the campus behind and enjoying what I would do with my life. I wrote in my senior plans, “I plan to stick around Barstow for a year and then go down to San Diego State.” I was going to study Broadcast Journalism and become a television news reporter. Things didn’t exactly work out that way.
Two weeks after graduation, I was on a Greyhound bus bound for San Jose, CA. My best friend was living in a transient hotel and had a job lined up for me. I went to work for Bentz Tool in Campbell, CA as a Grinder’s apprentice. I was laid off after two weeks and eventually landed a job at a plating company in Santa Clara, CA doing shipping/receiving. I eventually moved back home to live rent free and worked mowing lawns/trimming trees around Barstow. I got tired of that, visited the recruiter and signed up for the Army to get out of Barstow.
I would eventually be stationed in Alaska where I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Reassigned to a post in Texas, I left the Army and married my wife. Our journey took us to Bible school in Dallas, youth pastors outside Ft. Worth, back to school in Tulsa, on to more school in Kentucky, before returning back to California.
I never figured, 25 years after graduation, I would be working back in Barstow and living in the desert again. I am not complaining as I have a great job and actually enjoy being in the desert. The town I desperately wanted to leave at graduation is now the place I provide for my family. I go to restaurants I loved growing up and see people I have known since grade school. I enjoy the smell of rain and work helping people understand the desert. Who knows what the next 25 years will bring? I have enjoyed the last 25 and trust the Lord to direct my steps in the next 25.