By Jim Chance (lucky husband)
Vickie was born Victoria Jan Chance on February 9, 1954. She passed on November 12, 2016. In between, she was just the most wonderful woman I ever met. I didn't get to meet her until her late 20's so I missed out on her early life. She did skip her last year of high school to care for her mother, so she only had a GED, but that didn't end her education as she eventually went on to get a PhD in British Literature, writhing her...
By Jim Chance (lucky husband)
Vickie was born Victoria Jan Chance on February 9, 1954. She passed on November 12, 2016. In between, she was just the most wonderful woman I ever met. I didn't get to meet her until her late 20's so I missed out on her early life. She did skip her last year of high school to care for her mother, so she only had a GED, but that didn't end her education as she eventually went on to get a PhD in British Literature, writhing her thesis on Susan Ferrier, a Scottish contemporary of Jane Austin.
We met in Lawrence Kansas in a bar. I had just gotten my house back after a divorce. I didn't have a key, but I got in and it was trashed with half eaten Happy Meals scattered around. I got my water bed back, but my ex took the heater and all the sheets. I was working 12 hour shifts and got to the house about 8 PM. I was so upset I went to the bar all pissed at my ex and women in general.
For Vickie, she was supposed to go out with a friend in KC, but the friend bailed and so Vickie went to Lawrence to go out with another friend, Teresa. I had met Teresa, but didn't really know her, but she introduced me to Vickie. We got to talking, and I said that I didn't have a key for the house since my ex changed the locks, but I got in through the air conditioner. We went to another bar and also played some pool, but eventually she had to see how I got into the house. She imagined me going through those little coils in the air conditioner and could not figure it out. She just had to know how I did it.
We went to my house. It was a small house on a slab, and had a picture window in the living room. Under the picture window was an air conditioner, there was no central air. I had taken the air conditioner out to be repaired, but left it at the repair shop until after the divorce was final, so all that was there was the cover, about 2 feet off the ground. So I got down under it, popped the inside cover off and crawled into the house. Then I walked to the door and opened it and let Vickie in. She was impressed and decided that I was not as dumb as I looked.
We started dating after that. After some of our early adventures it is amazing that she stayed with me. I had bought a 10 foot Styrofoam sailboat, but I had not really taken any sailing lessons. I took her out on Lake Perry to sail. We got a fair way away from shore, and I managed to tip the boat over, although it happened very slowly. Neither of us got our heads under water, which was a good thing because we both wore thick glasses and could barely see without them. We eventually made it back to shore, but it really was an adventure.
During our first visit to the Renaissance Festival, which she loved, an Irish Wench picked me up, threw me over her shoulder and carried me off into the woods. Vickie took that picture but still decided to stay with me. We have a number of pictures, mugs and jewelry from the festival. We also have a signed poster of Puke and Snot which were our favorite performers. They did sword fighting and bawdy humor. One of their tricks was to chew up a carrot and, in a moment of surprise, spit it out towards the crowd.
I lived in that house in Lawrence for a while, and Vickie often stayed with me. She eventually moved in with me and then we eventually moved to a house in Wyandotte County that I inherited from my mother because we both worked in Kansas City.
We were living there when we got married. We spent our honeymoon at the New Orleans hotel in Eureka Springs Arkansas. We eventually stayed in all three of the historical hotels there as it was one of our favorite vacation spots. The hotel manager gave us a rose on our honeymoon, then later became mayor and eventually we had him as a waiter at the Bavarian Inn restaurant. Eureka Springs was our favorite vacation spot in the 80's. On our last visit, Vickie was not very mobile, but I was able to take the ghost tour at the hotel and the underground tour of the city and share the pictures from both with her.
During most of this time, I worked Nights (three 12 hour night shifts - Thursday, Friday and Saturday with Sunday every 4th week) as a computer operator at Montgomery Wards. Vickie had a cold and stayed with her Dad on the next Halloween after we got married. We got robbed and she would not stay in that house at night alone. We moved to an apartment in Johnson Count shortly after that and sold the house.
Vickie had some job issues, but eventually got hired on at Johnson County Community College. She really liked her boss there and stayed friends with him even after he became president of a community college in New Jersey just across the river from Manhattan. I got to go to school for free as her husband. It was a very proud moment for both of us when I got my AA degree and she came up on stage to give it to me.
I went on to get a job at TWA as a computer operator, so we decided to buy a house in Waldo to make the commute shorter and Vickie got a job at UMKC. I had an opportunity to become a programmer, so I finished my degree at KU and completed the training class at TWA. I eventually had an opportunity to become a contractor at United in Denver in 1986 that sounded good, so I accepted that job. Vickie stayed in KC until the spring semester ended so she could finish the classes she was taking. She got a surprise when my ex-wife called at 1 AM and told her that she was going to allow me to see Shaylana although she didn't let me see her for the previous 7 years. Remember, back then not everyone had a cell phone so she couldn't contact me until I called her the next day. She did handle it really well though.
Vickie followed me through the resulting moves and supported me every time. We moved, Denver (apartment), Denver (bought townhouse), Stamford Ct. (rented out the townhouse), Denver (apartment), Denver (townhouse), Dallas (2 different apartments), South Bend (apartment, rented house). Kansas City (rented house, bought house), Tulsa (rented out KC house, bought Tulsa house), and Kansas City (terminated renters and moved back). I got laid off just as we started the move so it did not go as well as we would have liked it to.
As a result, Vickie has had a driver's license in 6 states.
In 1987 we moved to Stamford, Connecticut, fortunately for only about 7 months. That was shock to 2 Midwestern kids. We learned that life is different back there. We tried to buy a waterbed on Saturday when we got there, and found a store that had one. When we got there to pick it up, they said it was at the warehouse and we couldn't get it until Tuesday. That was shock as we were going to sleep on it that night. They did loan us an air mattress, but back home e would have got it the same day. We did get to visit several places around New York and the East Coast. When we returned to Denver, Vickie's dad went with us and we visited a lot of cool sites on the drive back to Denver.
Vickie worked for the IRS in Denver and Dallas, but got carpal tunnel in Dallas and had to quit. In South Bend, she tutored some handicapped students, and really enjoyed it. When we went back to Kansas City, she started at Park University and was able to complete her degree there.
In Tulsa, she got into a Master's program at Tulsa University, and was able to complete that and her PhD. in British Literature. She wrote her dissertation on Susan Ferrier, who was called the Scottish Jane Austin. She did get to go to England twice, attending a TU retreat in Wales and visiting the crypt of Susan Ferrier in Edinburg Scotland. We also got to visit London twice and ride the London Eye. She taught classes at TU and the Tulsa Community College while going to school. She taught Technical Writing several times and helped me whenever I had to write reports or presentations.
After we moved back to Kansas City, she was able to help grade exams, but she never got to teach in Kansas City. She did apply for disability and was granted it. That also paid off her student loans which were all in her name.
Since Vickie and I were both readers, we acquired quite a library. Vickie generally added one full bookshelf for each semester while we were in Tulsa. Although we had a lot of professional books, we also collected a lot of vampire books, especially Laurel Hamilton's Anita Blake series of over 20 volumes which was set in St. Louis. We also began collecting cookbooks in Tulsa. We eventually acquired about 800 cookbooks, or 5 bookcases worth.
One of our favorite cookbooks is from Eureka Springs, which is the only town in America entirely on the National Historic Register. It has a picture and story on the left hand page of one of the 2000 residents and a recipe on the right hand page. One recipe for soup required two cups of ketchup, so we had to try it out. It came out orange but was very good although it makes a gallon of soup. It is called Portuguese Soup and requires an entire head of cabbage and several sausages but it does freeze well.
Vickie loved cats; she had one called Smokey while she lived with her dad. We had Patches, Jasmine (for 16 years) and now have Casanova and Chaucer. Of course, those are the living cats. We have a number of others all over the house. One-eyed Jack and Jill is at the service with us. We probably have at least 20 cats in the living room as well. Vickie especially liked the cat with the crystal ball that is also at the service with us. We even have Greta the Grad Student sculpture where she is holding her head because either she is thinking too hard, is just exhausted or is pondering mysteries of the universe.
Vickie also loved to travel. We went to Guadalajara Mexico with her dad and a couple that were old family friends. Later, her dad and his girlfriend Vi went to Eureka Springs with us. That was interesting because they were making out in the back seat but didn't know they were bit noisy so we had to check them out. Then later, we were going out to breakfast and they were in her room playing cards without any cards we wondered what was up with that.
When we lived in Denver, I was working on a big project and putting in 60-70 hours a week. I decided to take a weekend off and go to Hawaii. So we left Friday afternoon, got in around 2 AM, slept a couple of hours, saw Waikiki beach, drove around to the North Shore to see the surfers, drove across the island, saw the Navy ships, caught a plane at 10 PM, and made it back on Sunday. I still got 60 hours in that week.
On another trip, we stayed in Gatlinburg, TN during a big rain and flood that washed out the road. That was pretty amazing what the water can do. On that trip, we also saw boiled peanuts for the first time so we thought we would try some. We bought them and took them back, and tried to eat them after a couple of days. We didn't know you have to eat them hot so they were terrible. We did get to see the Smokey Mountains and that was fun.
We also traveled southwest from Tulsa and saw the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. We got a big surprise heading from there to New Mexico. We were on a flat plain, and suddenly there was a bridge. The ground went down and down, even though it was flat. It turned out that we had stumbled across Palo Duro Canyon, the second biggest canyon in America. We took time to see that and it was really amazing.
Vickie's biggest accomplishment was getting her degree. She studied long and hard, but she really enjoyed it. She made friends at every school she attended. You can even buy a copy of her thesis at Amazon. She also was proud that she could support herself. She always wanted to work and contribute to the family expenses.
After we moved back to Kansas City, since Vickie was not very mobile, she did a lot through the mail. We ended up with lots of magazine subscriptions. She also signed up for things like Birch Box and Ipsy where you get a surprise package of cosmetics every month. She became a big Amazon Prime customer and that worked out pretty well for her. Also, since we both got Kindles, (eventually 4 as we kept getting the newer models), that worked out pretty well. We both have lots of books on our Kindles.
The last few years for Vickie were difficult. She got spinal stenosis beginning in the late 90's and it gradually got worse. 2012 was the last year she could really travel. She did go with me to San Francisco but could not walk very far at all. She finally got a pain pump and went on oxygen full time. We also started using a wheelchair all the time. During the last year, she was fighting various infections that really weakened her. The last few years, the pain medications helped but the pain wouldn't go away. Thankfully now the pain is over but we will all miss her so very much.
Arrangements under the direction of McGilley & Frye Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Olathe, KS.