Organizing a Teenager

IMG_1565Now that my grandson has graduated from high school and is getting ready to go away to the University of Missouri in less than a month, my son and daughter-in-law have decided to downsize and sell their home.  Their home is beautiful, and is sitting in one of the top school districts in the state of Missouri.  Their home should sell well once it is on the market.

I went to St. Louis this week to help them get ready for this transition.  My job was to get my grandson organized so he could pack for college, and leave very little for his parents to do when they move.

Jack has a room in the lower level of the home.  When the house was purchased about seven years ago, they had their lower level (basement) completed so that all three children within this blended family could have their own room.  The lower level has a completed bedroom, full bath, and family room, along with the cleanest most organized unfinished area for laundry and storage.  The finishes in this level are so well done and modern.

Yesterday, before Jack ran off to do what young people do, which was a Cardinals baseball game with his girlfriend, I was able to lasso him in to do this work.  Usually his days are filled with working at the Muny Opera. The Muny Opera in St. Louis is America’s largest outdoor theater with seating for 11,000, and with 1,500 of those seats that are free.  muny_spotlightIt has been in operation since the early 1900’s, and brings professional musical theater to St. Louis every summer.  This is the 2nd year Jack has worked for The Muny.

Before he headed off, I offered to help him organize.  We went to his room and I told him the first thing he was to do is remove anything in his closets and drawers that he will never want to wear again, and that he doesn’t have any emotional attachment to—which means he can keep the shirts for all the plays he has performed in since he was in 6th grade.  

UnknownWhy do kids keep everything forever unless they are helped to walk through it?  I know that some of the clothes he kept for sentimental reasons may go away in future years.  I think he also owns a cap for every ice cream and fast food restaurant where he has worked.  He cleared out a lot of clothes rather quickly.  Then he had to leave to pick up his cute little girlfriend and head out to Busch Stadium for an afternoon ball game.  

While he was gone, I ran his clean clothes through the dryer to de-wrinkle them, and then folded them and put them in his drawers in an organized fashion.  Then I washed and dried all his dirty clothes along with his bedding.  I am sure it won’t stay that organized, but usually one does try for a short period of time, so maybe it will last until he leaves for AVECE0593school.  At least, he will know what he has when he packs.

His room no longer smells like a locker room!  He apologized for it, and I just smiled, and said that I raised four teenage boys, and I understood, and we were going to clean it up.

My grandson will be 18 years old in about 5 weeks.  He was the sweetest and most animated little guy growing up.  He was happy

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Jack as Amos Hart in “Chicago”

all the time, and a bundle of energy.  As he has matured, he has become a quiet laid back guy.  I don’t know how that happened.  He is still a delight to be around, and I love the fact he has no problem hugging and being hugged in public.

Jack started his acting gig in his early years as a “Blue Man on TV” and a squirrel.  When he was in 6th grade he was Tweedle-Dee (or was he Tweedle-Dum) in Alice in Wonderland Junior.  By the time he graduated, he played “Amos Hart” (the supporting lead) in the musical, Chicago.  

My youngest son, Jonathan, was in theater in high school, and when he graduated more than 20 years ago, I knew I was going to miss attending all the shows, and having great entertainment, and bragging rights as a parent of a performer on stage.  I feel the same about Jack graduating.  I will miss his performances on the high school stage.  I have a feeling, though, that I will see him performing in the future.

So, Jack’s room is cleaned up and organized.  He showed up after the game, to take a shower.  It was extremely hot, and sitting in the sun at a ballgame can be a sweaty event.  He was leaving again to pick up his girlfriend to have dinner.  Before he left, he thanked me for the help with his room and gave me a big hug goodbye.

I am glad I got to do this little bit with and for Jack.  I am really excited that when he starts at the University of Missouri, he will be only a half hour’s drive away.  He has already said I will hear from him (especially if he is hungry), and we can go out to dinner together, and that he will come by while it is still warm to swim in the pool (we don’t usually close the pool until the first of October).  This young man has a bright future ahead of him.

This video is from his last performance.  The school put on a “Senior Showcase” for the seniors involved in theater.  Jack and his best friend, Nate (who will also be  his college roommate), performed this song.  I think it is a great song for two friends to perform.  I just smile every time I watch it.  There is something about grandchildren that just warms my heart.


  1. I think I just found a new favorite edition of your blog. Especially loved the video at the end.
    Dale is in drama camp this summer. I hope he enjoys it as much as Jack did.


  2. This is one of my favorites of your blogs. I have watched a young man in Tulsa who went to Michigan University and then to Broadway. He is in Tulsa in July playing Bert in “Mary Poppins”. I saw it last Sunday with my grandchildren. We all loved it!! Tell Jack that I wish him the best at college and in the future!! I love the Muny and try to get there once a summer!!


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