April Jeppson: The Windy City and catching up with a friend

Published 8:45 pm Friday, November 17, 2023

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I’m writing to you from Chicago. When they refer to it as “the Windy City,” they are 100%, absolutely correct. It’s been in the low 60s for the entirety of my stay (which is unseasonably warm for this time of year), and although I would traditionally leave my jacket at home, here, I need to bring it everywhere. I’m pretty sure this town coined the phrase, “it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the wind.”

April Jeppson

Whenever I’m in a larger city like this, I find myself admiring the architecture. The height of the buildings simply amazes me. I’ve always enjoyed looking at the art that has been painstakingly carved into the older buildings. Perhaps there’s a machine that cuts out the renaissance images, but I like to imagine someone in a candle-lit workshop from hundreds of years ago chipping away at the stone. If I’m wrong, there’s no need to correct me, sometimes I prefer to live in my imagination.

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Where I’m staying has some gorgeous modern buildings as well. Lots of windows and clean lines. When you look inside you see a wide open room with some strategically placed bright-colored furniture. It reminds me of the doll house my daughter has, almost like the room is cut in half. For her, it makes playing much easier, and for these buildings, I feel like I’m getting a secret glimpse inside their lives. Have you ever seen the movie “The Truman Show”? It reminds me of that, except the people I’m walking past actually know that I can see them.

I also had the pleasure of meeting up with a long lost friend. She said the last time we saw each other I was pregnant with Hans, which was almost 16 years ago. She was a student of mine when I used to teach cosmetology in Iowa. I probably had 200 students come through my classroom while I was there, and to be honest, I don’t remember all of them. However, I remember the first time Alicia raised her hand to speak — it was during orientation before school had even started.

She was different. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions, I could tell that she had no interest in whether or not the other students wanted to hang out with her and she was serious about her education. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she would have preferred that her classmates liked her, but she had enough perspective to understand that that wasn’t the purpose of her being there.

Have you ever met someone and just knew that whatever they decided to do in life that they would be successful? Well that’s the way I felt about her. Over the years we would exchange the occasional message to see what the other had been up to. Virtually I had been following her career of opening up and running a successful salon in Chicago (her dream) and now being an educator for a top hair care brand. Although I had nothing to do with her success, I still felt like a proud momma watching her achievements.

Aside from the occasional message, we hadn’t spoken since her graduation and yet we chatted nonstop for almost four hours over dinner that night. We barely know each other, yet we understand each other on a level that I’ve only experienced a handful of times.

I didn’t have to monitor my posture, the words I chose or even the speed at which I spoke. I was as open as those glass-encased buildings, and I had no fear of what she saw inside. It was refreshing to be in the company of someone who gets me, and I’m thankful to have these people in my life.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.