This fall, Hattie Granger moved into the honors dorm. Her brother and sister are big into Greek life, but even though Hattie gave it a shot, it wasn’t for her. She was already in the honors program, and she seems happier since leaving the sorority house.
Then Hattie started telling me more about her freshman year. She had spent a lot of time at frat parties, because of her big brother and his friend, Anand Surfer. Anand also introduced her to Seiki Ono, who has been a total jerk. The big problem is, it took Hattie a while to figure that out.
Hattie is really ashamed that she let herself be played like that, but she said he seemed so nice. She said she should have known on the first date, because he pressured her to go back to the dorm with him when she wasn’t ready.
Ophelia and I told Hattie about the boy who stole my lobster the first time Abram and I went out.
Ophelia and Hattie hit it off well; Ophelia makes everyone feel comfortable.
Next up, Karaoke! Ophelia and I love cutting loose in the private booths and hamming it up.
Well, I like watching Ophelia ham it up while I sing along, and Ophelia appreciates my ability to carry a tune.
It was hard to get Hattie to join in at first.
I had to get way outside my comfort zone and be the sillier one for a while.
But by the second verse, Hattie was really into it.
Having a lot of fun,
And eventually, really forgetting about herself.
Within a week of school starting back, we were at our pre-internship site, Peninsula State Bank. When we arrived the first day, Ms. Ramaswami showed us into the conference room for orientation.
Our supervisor for this semester is Ms. Ottomas, the senior accountant, because we’re going to be working in her area. I had hoped to work that area first, since I could probably get some insight into all the areas by analzying monthly statements and assisting with month end procedures. I also hoped to get a chance to research and answer inquiries from different departments.
But Ms. Ottomas’ first words to us were, “Leave your expectations at the door; you are not at PSU anymore.” She is obviously not a big fan of the PSU program putting sophomores in pre-internship experiences, and her ideas of what constitutes appropriate activities for us doesn’t line up with what our professors are holding us accountable for. She’s been at the bank for a long time, and she thinks it is a waste of her time to manage interns. She gave us a small list of ways we will be giving clerical support. She basically sees us as temporary secretaries!
Hattie was really worried, and asked Ms. Ottomas how we could complete our project if all we do is provide clerical support. I could tell we weren’t going to get anywhere with Ms. Ottomas right then, but I wasn’t quite as concerned. I knew from summer jobs in law offices, that no matter what the initial job description, as soon as you show how quick you pick things up, and how reliable and efficient you are, things start to change for the better.
I’m not going to lie, though. Ms. Ottomas turned out to be a tough cookie to crack. Throughout the semester she watched us like a hawk, expecting us to make a mess of things and cause problems for her.
It turned out to be really tough throughout the semester, but I talked about the challenges with our internship supervisor at school, an MBA student, and in internship supervision group during class. Apparently a lot of interns have had to work with Ms. Ottomas and you just have to learn what you can while making the best of it. I guess the only reason the school doesn’t speak up is they are afraid of losing the relationship with the bank.
Many times we had to console each other and keep each other on track.
We were able to finally put together a project about tax reporting, since that’s the main area she had us giving clerical support.
At the end of the semester, Ms. Ottomas gave us glowing reviews. She said she had never had two interns that worked so hard and were always here when we said we would be. She even said she was going to give the next pre-interns a few more options. Our professors gave us high marks as well, when they got her input, since they could see that we had made good inroads for future students in the program. But I hope next semester is more rewarding for me!
The semester went pretty quickly and soon it was one week to exams, and time for Thanksgiving break. When my mom called and asked if I was coming to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, I asked if Hattie and her family could come too. She said she was sure Grandma and Grandpa would love that and she would check with them. The more, the merrier at their house. And grandpa said he was helping with food at the Simdale Valley Fall Festival the next day, and invited us to come along.
Hattie was happy to be invited and wanted to come, but she was actually really nervous about Seiki visiting his family, right next door.
When we walked up to the house from the ferry, she was afraid we’d run into Seiki.
But once we got to the porch and Grandma and Grandpa came out, she started feeling comfortable.
I think she was really excited to be part of a family Thanksgiving; it reminded her of when she was a little girl.
Everyone went around and said what they were thankful for. Mom said she was thankful that she was finally feeling at home in Port Prominence after moving several years ago. Granddad was thankful we were all with them for the holiday and that he has been able to rebuild the business at The Brick Oven, that had been left to dwindle after the last of the Michelle family left Simdale Valley. Grandma was thankful we were all here for Thanksgiving, and that she had Granddad. David was thankful he had “family” at the frat house, as well as Emily and Hattie. Hattie was thankful she had made the change to move into the dorm and that the family welcomed her and her family to Thanksgiving. I was thankful for Hattie, who is my best friend since Ashlee Wade in high school, before we moved.
We couldn’t all fit in the dining room, so Grandad, mom, and Hattie sat on the porch. Thankfully, it was a beautiful, bright day, not too cold.
Grandma came out to make sure we were all situated and had what we needed.
Emily, David, and I sat inside with grandma, but while she was making sure everyone was ok it was a little awkward.
It is hard for me to find much to talk about with fraternity and sorority types, but I think it was nice for Emily and David to have some time together.
Everyone helped with clean up so in no time we were all free to visit and relax.
David and Emily wanted to catch the last ferry, but Hattie and I spent the night so we could go to the Fall Festival.
Hattie was really happy talking to grandma.
Grandma told her she’s always welcome, even if I’m not coming home. She told Hattie she should think of her as her own grandmother.
Hattie and I shared the room I used to stay in when I visited grandma and grandpa. With exams coming up in a week, I was still getting some studying done whenever I could.
The day of the festival dawned clear and bright again. We went early to help grandpa and grandma get the food set up.
Grandma introduced Hattie to some of her friends in town. Naomi Redbird owns a business on the square, too, Birds of a Feather salon.
Chelsea Finnbar raises dogs and works at the town hall, which is also on the square.
Hattie met some of the kids and was really great with them.
Somebody brought a restored VW bug and had it on display.
Seiki’s dad came up and hugged Hattie, and I was floored. Even my mom couldn’t believe how insensitive that was, with all that Hattie’s been through, but Hattie is too nice to say anything. Or she was just flabbergasted because the last time she met him, Seiki mumbled some kind of embarrassed introduction.
Luckily, Grandpa noticed and whisked Hattie away to get some food.
After a while, a flash mob of line dancing broke out.
Even though I can’t dance, I joined in.
But after a few moments I realized Hattie was watching the fire dancer by herself rather than risk being around Seiki
I joined her for a while. That guy has some pretty amazing routine.
After a while, she left. She seemed really stressed, so I followed her.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” I asked.
“No, I just feel like I’m overreacting, though.”
I told her, “Nobody expects you to have to act like nothing happened. Just because he doesn’t realize how hard it is for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t.”
“I know you guys are friends,” she said. “I’m sorry to make it tough on you.”
I looked at it her and told her, she’s way more important to me than Seiki. Seiki and I have been friends, but not close, and I certainly don’t want to send any messages that anything he’s done to Hattie has been ok, in my book.
Fun picture of Julia scarfing down cotton candy 🙂