Personal-Everyday ChaosPivotal Moments

Pivotal Moments-where I come from

By June 3, 2010 20 Comments

I thought about HOW I wanted to write this one, I actually typed a few sentences, deleted them, started over three or four times. I was thinking way toooo much about it, so I decided, I’m not going to try to sound philosophical, I’m just going to tell it like it is!! LOL I tend to loose my train of thought so forgive me if this is “all over the place”. I want to start a series of blog posts that I’m going to try to do once a week/maybe once every few weeks about Pivotal Moments. Those moments where you can remember so vividly because in some strange way they would forever change how you lived your life.

I think often times when people read this blog, they see the fun carefree side of me- trust me it’s really what I’m about…but it’s not what I’m ALLL about. As hard as it is to imagine me not joking around or laughing at my own jokes, I do have my serious moments. I’ve been doing some real soul searching lately-both business and personal. I’m not sure many of you know my journey of HOW I got to where I am in my business nor the experiences that have made me ME. I will never forget where I came from but I also will never forget how hard I worked to get to where I am now. I’m told we all have pivotal moments in our lives that stick with us and shape/mold us into who we are. I have SO many. Both good and bad. I guess lately I’ve been thinking more about them after looking through some old photographs…imagine that…ME looking through PHOTOGRAPHS!! It’s not always easy to put yourself out there, but I do if often. I mean if it wasn’t for me “putting myself out there” I probably wouldn’t be where I am today with my business nor would I have grown into the person I am.

On my way to work almost every morning I pass a trailer that sits fairly close to the new highway. I can’t help but think back to my childhood every time I pass it. Why? I lived there all those years ago, it was just one of the several places I would live over the course of my life (we moved a lot). I must have been maybe 2 or 3 when we lived there, hell maybe even younger than that, but I can remember so vividly the layout of the trailer. I remember where my bedroom was located and how my furniture was jammed into such a small room, how the pool table sat where the dining room table should have been, I remember sitting on the counter near the kitchen sink where  my mom would bath me after playing outside. I remember my dog was killed on the road behind the trailer. I remember riding my bicycle down the sidewalk. I’m not sure how I can remember these or why, but I do know I think about them every day. My mom, almost 16 years old, my dad maybe 18 trying to make ends meet after I was born. I remember my parents tearing apart carburetors on the kitchen table just to get the little bit of scrap so they could turn it in for extra cash. I remember the grease under my dad’s fingernails and the smell of the soap they used to wash it off–or used to TRY to wash it off.

This is a photo taken with my cell phone. THIS is the trailer that makes me think so often about where I came from. Someone still lives there, the flags were actually waving in the wind when I pulled over to take the photo, I teared up and wondered what “their” story was……It looks pretty much exactly how I remember it.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, I don’t come from a line of “business men”, I didn’t take over my Grandfathers/Mothers/Fathers business, I certainly was never given a handout. I come from hard-working people, the kind of people who are often overlooked because they didn’t quite fit into the middle class. I always dreamed of breaking the cycle….and here I am, small town business owner who took a few REALLY SCARY leaps of faith, all in the hopes to break that cycle. I learned all my lessons the hard way-trial and error. I never let my circumstances affect my future and I never felt sorry for myself. I could either take my circumstances and feel bad for myself and cynical of those who “had it better” or I could funnel all of my efforts and keep my eye on where I wanted to be. I visualized what I wanted my life to be like, and although I still have a ways more to go-I like to dream big……the moment I pulled over to take a photo of a place I came from, it made me so very thankful to everyone who ever believed that I would do great things. I hope I’ve made you proud 🙂

I will never forget where I come from…..I am a small town girl, who comes from hard-working, struggling, blue-collar people, who was afraid to go after a dream -but did anyway.  I wouldn’t change it for the world. <3


the house that built me

The above photo was just one of the many places we lived while I grew up. It wasn’t until I was about 5 or 6 that we moved into the trailer I would call home from elementary school up through high school. (pictured below) This photo was taken right before demolition.

I can’t remember ever going “without” although today as I look back at my childhood (especially the younger years) I realize just how hard my parents struggled.  I know this is hard to explain, but even then being so small, I remember thinking, I don’t want to struggle when I grow up. I thank my lucky stars every day I look at my daughter that my mom and dad stepped up to the plate and kept me through so many other opportunities were presented to them. There was adoption, abortion …but my mom said she never thought twice about it. Now being a Mom myself, I have soo much respect for both of my parents and thus I give you pivotal moment #1.





  • chris says:

    beautiful post, jen. thanks for sharing – you’re an inspiration.

  • Jen Palmer says:

    Jen, you’re awesome! I love it when people are capable of having roots & wings!

  • Sara says:

    Jen… You are an inspiration to all of us who have came from something unfamilar and that we cant understand when were younger. We all can accomplish anything we want in life, and you show that to all of us!!! 🙂

  • […] outlook on life, on each other and on their business. When growing up, I use to sit inside the walls of my trailer and think to myself, “Statistics say that children born to teenage parents are bound to be […]

  • Pam says:

    Hits straight thru the heart. Proud, respectful, understanding, love, sadness, what a rush of emotions! A true artist comes from the heart first, and that is definitely what you did!

  • Great read, Jen! I too grew up in a similar situation, never thinking I would get out of the “hole” that was our life. What I appreciate most about being poor and having nothing, was it gave me the strength, determine and ever so strong will to move beyond my circumstances and make something of myself. An education, one husband, 4 kids (soon to be 5!), and a booming business later, I certainly found that my childhood shaped the hard-working woman that I am today and I couldn’t be more grateful. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  • Renee' says:

    Jen I understand this so much. I believe it is so important to remember where we come from and how far our journey has brought us to who we are today. You are a beautiful, creative, and talented woman and I am sure that your parents are very proud of you as you should be of yourself as well!

  • Janet says:

    Thank you for this post Jen. It really hit home. So many parents these days are so busy trying to give their kids all the “things” that they didn’t have themselves, that they forget to give their kids the stuff that they did have, respect, determination, imagination, and most of all….gratitude.

  • Crystal Montgomery says:

    Great story, Jen! I’ve moved a lot, too. I also find myself imagining what other people’s stories are, what their daily life is like. Thanks for the inspiration once again 🙂

  • Mary says:

    Jen- you are a courageous lady. Thanks so much for posting this. It’s amazing that you can look back and see all the good in how hard your folks worked. Sounds like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in terms of courage, hard work and commitment.

    Rejoicing in the day,

  • Tara says:

    Jen, thank you for a heartfelt post. You have come far in life, with the help of your parents, and your own indomitable spirit. Of course, talent is there in abundance. Sharing your personal story does indeed give depth to the photographer we see on the internet, and hopefully your success will inspire others to reach for their dreams, too.

    Continued happiness to you!

  • Awesome awesome post. Its easy to put on the “Ive got it all together” face but really we are all a mess inside and are just trying to get thru life. Thats one of the reasons I LOVE being a photographer…people’s stories. I LOVE hearing how people got to where they are today. I have mad respect for you being brave enough to share. You give people hope. Rock on girl!

  • melaniek says:

    what a great post….thanks for sharing

  • Tracy Loger says:

    LOVE this. I, also, grew up in a double wide trailer but in the “holler” in Southern Ohio, where I lived with my Granny and Popi, and my mom part of the time. My mom was a single mom, who had me at 15 years old, so she depended a lot on my great-grandparents to help with my sister and me. They were our saving grace. I cherish the memories I have there. I also remember the exact layout. The little things, like how hot it was in the summer having only one room with a window air conditioner that we would all go sit in when it got really hot. My room was only big enough for a mattress and very small dresser, nothing extra. We didnt have all the fancy things kids have these days, no technology, not a lot of toys. We mainly had each other, our animals (we had a farm on the land we lived on), and the beautiful countryside to explore. I spent my days taking care of cows, horses, dogs, cats, hiking in the hills, gardening and just hanging out with my grandparents. I now live in MI but everytime I go home, I drive by the old trailer that still sits there, run down, nobody living in it, the overgrown land. It always brings a tear to my eye. For some people, it is a run down trashy trailer……but for me, it is WHERE I CAME FROM!!!!! Thanks so much again for sharing your story!

  • tiana says:

    this is why i love this country. i am a first generation immigrant and so are my parents. we don’t believe in welfare, because we are not from this country so we have never looked to the government for anything. everything we have, we worked incredibly hard for. my parents came here, and barely had HS school education. my dad went on to graduate from college suma cum laude helped my mum open up two hair salons. i will never forget where i came from. i can only celebrate what God has done and tell anyone that they can make it too. hard work, education, dedication THEY CAN MAKE IT!!

  • Lori Lockhart says:

    Jen, thank you so much for posting this true, heartfelt story of your beginnings. So many times people loose sight of where they came from. Maybe, they can’t bear to relive it, or maybe they never want anyone else to know where they came from. I on the other hand, think it is necessary for all of us to revisit our pasts. We need our past to build on our futures. It is our foundation in life. No matter how hard or arduous it may have been. We should never forget what makes us who we are now.
    I appreciate reading this. It actually brought me to tears. I too have my own story that needs reflection from time to time. It helps me when I think I can’t “Make it”. Or when I doubt why I am trying to reinvent myself at 50 years of age. I go back to where it all began for me. And that in itself keeps me looking forward to all the good things to come. Jen you are inspiration to me. Thank you for contributing to my future! 8)

  • Shawntae says:

    Your post reminded me so much of my own childhood. I moved a lot too, not to different towns, mostly different trailers (plus one converted brick chicken house). Now I know for sure I must document them when I drive by. One day it may not be there and I’ll want to show my child and future grandchildren where I came from.:)

  • Karen says:

    I looked at that trailer and thought, maybe this home is meant for those going through a rough start. Look at it…really look at it, maybe it is not new but it looks like whoever is living there now takes pride in their home. The grass is cut, the outside is neat and clean and it looks taken care of. Just like it has taken care of all the people that have lived there through the years and like you Jen, it has given each of them a chance at life and in return they have taken care of it. I hope that young lady reads your blog and understands you worked for all you have, things were not handed to you.
    I don’t know you personally but I do know you are a very special person and I believe you are following the path that was meant for you. You are showing others how to stand up for what you believe and you need to work for what you want in life. I’m sure your family is very proud of you!

  • […] lives and they chose to share those memories with *ME*?? <3  Let  me just say this…..the little girl from the trailer park sure has come a long way thanks to everyone who had faith in me […]

  • […] lives and they chose to share those memories with *ME*?? <3  Let  me just say this…..the little girl from the trailer park sure has come a long way.  THANK YOU to everyone who had faith in me over the years! […]

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