IL Guest Blog: My First Apartment

David Chapple

July 10, 2014

Two men, one sitting in a power chair, the other leaning on the back of the chair, smile at the cameraI have very good memories of my first apartment with my best friend from college, Mike (left). I remember the day he told me he wanted out of his current living situation: his roommates were marrying each other, and it was getting very awkward. He had this idea that we could be roommates, and he could be my attendant. At first, I thought he was pulling my leg. As we kept talking though, I quickly found out this guy -- with a mullet and his best camping t-shirt and shorts -- was serious. My first thought was, “What the hell is he thinking.” However, it was 1989, and my hair-style and clothing choice were no better. As reality set in, this actually seemed like it could happen.

The rest of that day, I thought about how I was going talk to my parents about moving out, especially my mom. She knew one of my dreams was to live independently, because I had already seen my brother and sister move out. Plus, I think she knew this talk was coming, because when I started college, I made a lot of new friends, and I wasn’t at home as much as I used to be. I was still nervous, because sometimes she was a bit overprotective, and her emotions could get the best of her.

That night after dinner, my dad went to lie down and watch TV in the bedroom. This gave me the perfect chance to talk to my mom. I remember having the feeling of being excited and scared in the pit of my stomach at the same time. But, my mom always said it was better to pull off a Band-Aid fast. I told her about my decision to move out and that Mike and I already figured out how to pay the rent and bills, my transportation to school, and my personal care. To my surprise she was very open to the idea.

The next time Mike came to the house, we sat down with her and talked about our possible future living situation. When Mike got there, I knew he was nervous. He was afraid my parents were going to feel like he was taking their baby boy away from them. After talking though, everybody had relaxed and felt more confident about the whole idea. Soon, Mike and I started looking for an apartment and were very fortunate to find an accessible one that fit our needs just about perfectly.

A group of 5 formally dressed people stand/ sit in the middle of a wooded area.Mike and I were typical college roommates who enjoyed going to the store and buying beers from different countries. We ended up living together for over twenty years, up until I moved to Austin. Over the years, we became like brothers and were there for each other through good and bad times. He was even my best man at my commitment ceremony (right).

So, the moral to this story is: never think your dreams can’t come true and it’s okay to take chances.


About David:

A man in a power chair equipped with a screen grins at the camera. David Chappel graduated from Cleveland State University, in 1994, with a Bachelor's Degree of Computer Science. Currently, he lives in Austin, Texas where he serves as Treasurer for Texas TERA (Technology Education Resource and Advocacy).  David also participates in several programs at VSA Arts Texas, where he writes personal stories and paints.

Check out more of David's story, on life in a nursing home.

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