Learning is Growing and Growing is Learning
I was nineteen and Erica was sixteen when we first met. The one-day training session in Milpitas for about twenty new employees hired by several Lucky’s grocery stores in the area is where I first saw her. Turns out that we were both hired by the same store and started on the same day but I was seeing someone at the time so I didn’t make any effort to pursue her at first. We started working in late October 1996 but I never hung out with her outside of work until the following February when we were both single again.
It took a few months of dating and hanging out for the mutual commitment to begin, so by her birthday in June we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend. Living less than two miles from each other and working together allowed a lot of time together. This made it really easy to get to know each other’s friends and families, who were very supportive of our new and young relationship. Our mothers were both going through a divorce but my mom had met someone and was already moving in with her soon to be fiancé. My mom moved out and left the house for me to rent so Erica and some roommates moved in. Her mom didn’t mind as long as she was able to balance work and school, plus we only lived a few minutes away. Just after a year of working for Lucky’s I went from being single and living at home with my mom to sharing the house with roommates and my girlfriend. This was my first independent experience and I was glad I wasn’t alone. Living with Erica solidified the seriousness of our youthful relationship and brought us very close very fast.
Working at Lucky’s wasn’t enough for me to pay my rent and whatever bills I had so I quit working at the store and found another job with some old friends working the graveyard shift as an insulator for a company that made these laser coolers, I really wasn’t sure how they worked but it was fun. I didn’t mind the manual labor because my wages were higher but...