Debbie Hays of Damascus, OR

Picture of winner's bracelet.

My mother and Father met in Taiwan. He was an MSgt in the Air Force and was stationed in Ching Chuan Kang Airbase. After his assignment they moved to Norton AFB in California. Only in the states for a year, my mother was 8 months pregnant with me when a drunk driver hit her car. She was ejected from the car and suffered severe injuries. She luckily survived that accident and was rushed to the ER where a few hours later, I was born. 1 month early but completely unharmed. I would choose (Charm # 8350-August)to represent my mother, and me in her protected womb. When I was 4 years old, my grandfather in Taiwan became seriously ill so we moved back there to take care of him. It was there in Taiwan I can still remember us being one big happy family. (Charm # 4032 – Chinese happiness). After my grandfathers passing, we moved back to the states. A year later, my father had a massive heart attack and passed away. I was only 8 years old but I can still remember running around the air bases from plane to plane with him. I would choose (Charm # 0632 – Airplane) to represent my father. My mother taught me independence, hard work, and determination. She used to tell me that if she, a single mother in a strange country can make it, so can I. We moved to Oregon to be closer to my father’s family. It was there that I learned to love ice skating.  As High School came to a close, I didn’t know how I was going to afford college until an opportunity of a lifetime presented itself to me. I could join Disney on Ice, travel, get paid and save money. (Charm # 3056- Ice skate) I traveled with them for 3-1/2 years, we went all over the world and I saved enough to start college. My mother, while I was gone, moved back to California. After I stopped touring with Disney, I moved in with her so I could make my college savings stretch. (Charm # 3294- California) After I finished college six years later, I moved back up to Oregon. I did the majority of my growing up here. I figured this would be a good place to start my life. The very same weekend I moved back into town, my friends were having a party. It was that day that I met my husband. He was a Marine (Charm # 6564 – Dog Tag- Engraved USMC) stationed in Okinawa and he was home on leave. Since my travels on Disney had taken me to Japan, we had a lot to talk about that evening. For the next month we were inseparable. We spent as much time together as we could before he had to leave. His last night in Oregon he seemed so distant. When I asked him what was wrong he said  “we need to talk”. Thinking only the worst, I felt a sinking in the pit of my stomach. What he said next surprised me. He told me that he was a good person, and that he didn’t want to hurt me, but he also didn’t know how to tell me, that…well…that he had a daughter. I literally laughed out loud. I looked at him and said… “is that all”. Thinking I would leave him knowing that he had baggage scared him more than leaving me for 3 more months. His daughter lived in Wilmington, NC (Charm # 3523) and she was 2 years old. Well, 5 years later that little girl walked me down the aisle when I married her father. (Charm # 1135 – Chinese love) 2 years after that, my beautiful stepdaughter (Charm # - 2734 – June) has a beautiful little brother that she adores (Charm #2734 – Feb)…and one more sibling on the way.

Debbie Hays
Damascus, OR
Story of Your Life
December, 2012

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