Darlene & her Mom – looking great! Great that they’ve become so close
Same pose, years later – Logan has grown I’d say!
Early family photo
These photos speak for themselves…
You can listen to the audio here:
Attached is a copy of the transcript if you prefer to read the source interview.
- Okay…raise your hand if you’re surprised I spent two hours talking on the phone with Darlene Powell? I didn’t think so. Darlene was high on my original list because she’s always been an amazing conversationalist. I knew she could carry this blog entry without any assistance from me.
- The first thing you’ll realize if you haven’t spoken to Darlene in a while is that she sounds so different. This was a curve ball; so many of the people I’ve spoken with sound exactly the same. She still has her Kim Carnes-ish sounding voice; it’s just the pace of her speech finally sounds so…Texan. When we were younger, Darlene was so energetic and expressive in her communication – she could easily have passed as someone from the Northeast. She’s changed. More relaxed. She says more comfortable in her own skin. More on that later.
- It’s not surprising that Darlene is in a customer facing role in her career. She’s spent most of her career in insurance (did she own insurance agency). She could likely sell me anything. One of my favorite takeaways was how a friend suggested she might have spent her career in an alternative universe…as a radio DJ.
- Based on my post-election “politics on FB” experience, I should have had Darlene even higher. I have made my feelings about Donald Trump and his administration known. That has led to some admittedly unproductive exchanges with former classmates. Those same conversations often lead to the people I’ve known in adulthood interacting with the people I knew in my youth. Worlds colliding! Here’s the funny thing about Darlene. On several occasions, Darlene has waded into these FB encounters and made cyber friends with people on the other side of the argument.
- Think about that for a second. Social media is a place where even close friends can misjudge what you’re saying because there is no tone to your voice, no pace, no body language. Jokes are risky. Darlene communicates in a way that gets past all of that. Even people who disagree with her stance online like and respect her. It’s like magic…That has been amazing to watch.
- I always liked Darlene Powell. It’s funny how much I remember liking her considering how little I interacted with her. I knew that I wasn’t close to Darlene, but I was around her and listened to her talk enough in school and church that I felt like I knew her. Nope! I have to wonder if Darlene experiences that often. So…we spent most of the time on the call with me getting to know the younger Darlene better.
- I knew that Darlene’s father had been in law enforcement and politics. I knew that she was a Daddy’s girl. I didn’t know that her parents divorced when she was 3-4 years old and that her father had mostly raised her. Think about that…this was the 70’s and 80’s. Her Dad worked as an ironworker, then in his 30’s went back to school, began doing police work then held a series of elected positions, including village marshall and constable. He must have been quite a man.
- Didn’t realize that Darlene was an athlete. I never associated her with softball or soccer.
- I didn’t know Darlene started her freshman year at a military school in MS, only to transfer back to a private school in Houston. She then spent her sophomore year at Clear Creek, only to return to Dickinson to finish out HS.
- Listening to Darlene talk about her younger self was eye opening. Her viewpoint is that people didn’t like her because she was too forthright, too loud, and tried too hard. It’s not like I am some perfect barometer for how people are perceived by peers, but I don’t remember anybody ever saying anything negative about Darlene. I only remember her as fun to be around and having an infectious laugh. As I’ve learned through the course of this project, many of my classmates had antagonists and real struggles of which I never knew of.
- Darlene lives in Dickinson, but she’s also lived in Austin and then later in South Florida. I love that she’s moved back to Dickinson and works at McRee Ford.
- The driver behind her move back to Dickinson is bittersweet. Her Dad was sick and needed her help. He already suffered from Parkinson’s when he found out he had cancer. The decline was a slow and painful three years. The story of her Dad, his illness, his reaction to the meds, and the impact it had on his behavior is the hardest portion of our conversation. I will say that the idea of burying the man who raised you two days before your son turns one and have a petting zoo scheduled for the party makes for a memorable story. I would start around min. 50 so you can hear how her life was heading until family responsibility intervened.
- If you’re not following Darlene on FB, get on the bandwagon. It’s worth it if for no other reason than her enthusiasm for martial arts (through her son) and the people in that community. I look forward to the updates on Logan.
- If you already follow Darlene, then you know she subtly changed her name. She acknowledged that, after 17 years of marriage, she recently divorced. She was very complimentary of her ex, but I can relate to how she seems to be experiencing the divorce…relief.
- Darlene still keeps close contact with Nanette Tucker Waegner and Tara Tedder Miller. A shoutout to those two!
- Another of my favorite things about Darlene is her public service announcements on FB about local traffic, construction, etc…She’s very civic-minded. Probably a legacy trait of her Dad’s. I wish I had someone up here who did the same kind of thing.
- The other item that Darlene and I go back and forth on social media about is the current opioid crisis and addiction. We didn’t dive into her specific experiences re: addiction, but she’s pretty open about it. She’s emerged a stronger woman. If I had a friend or family member with a problem, Darlene is the first person I’d call or try to put them in touch with.
- I enjoy listening to Darlene talk about her son. I know…moms love their kids. When she starts talking about Logan, you can hear the change in her voice. The enthusiasm. The energy. That said, the funniest aspect of the conversation is listening to the two of us talk about our two sons. She the social butterfly, with an introverted son. Me…the introvert, with the social butterfly son. Raising kids just wouldn’t be any fun if it were easy, right?
- The Darlene conversation is ongoing…stay tuned.