Monday, September 29, 2014
Autobiographical Challenge: Day 13 & 14
Passing the test
When I graduated from High School you might think I would be eager to get away from the town where I had been bullied. But oddly I wasn't. Maybe because I had found school to be filled with a lot of pain and danger, I wasn't eager to see what else was out there. So I went to college as close to home as I could, and that meant I lived at home and rode 25 miles on a Jr. college school bus each morning and came home at five PM
The first semester was a period of more growth than I expected. People smiled at me and said "hi" between classes and I kept looking shyly around to see who they were talking to, and there would be no one but me around. It took time but I gradually realized that I did not have "loser" branded on my forehead and I started looking up beyond my shoes and smiling first.
Then I needed a class only offered I the evening when the bus didn't run. I bravely called a number listed in the schools hot line looking to carpool for evening classes. And In that call I changed my life.
The other student was also a tall, skinny redhead, and would become my life long best friend and partner in everything. My first graceful words to him were rude, "I never met a redhead I liked" but he was funny and gentle and rowdy and confident and he passed the biggest test of all. He loved my brother Lance as soon as he met him and was soon coming with gifts to visit Lance as much as to see me. My grandma adored him, and Mom informed me that if I ever broke up with him, the rest of the family was keeping him.
I never considered breaking up with him though, he made me see myself through his eyes and for the first time ever since my first day of first grade, I loved who I am.
It's a small world after all
Greg and I graduated from our small Wyoming Jr College and then decided we didn't know where we wanted to go, so we stayed and did a third year. Then all signs pointed us to Ashland, Oregon with a summer Job first in the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park in South Dakota. We got married after class ended in May and spent the summer among buffalo and actors and then loaded a pick up and a trailer and moved to Oregon simply because we had had a run of meeting people from Ashland.
Once there we worked for a year in fast food places while earning residency because we couldn't afford out of state tuition. So when we started what should have been our first year after college, we still needed two years of credits. And then we took a ton of classes for fun, including a semester studying in Beijing China. So by the time we graduated in June of 1989 it had taken us 9 years to get a four year degree. But we had loved every moment. Seriously every one. Even once when we were almost dead from the kind of flu that kills whole villages, and both too weak to stand, on about the 16th day of violent vomiting, he looked up and said the most romantic thing.
"I'd rather be this sick with you than healthy without you."