Friday, October 10, 2008

Leaving college

I majored in journalism, and we had a crusty old newspaper editor as head of the department. He took the students on tour each year to the area newspapers - well, the big ones in Memphis and Birmingham. I got so drunk in Memphis at a nightclub where Gene somebody was singing about a haunted house (okay, so I used to know both his name and the popular song) that my buddies had to pour me into the car and take me back to the hotel. I missed part of the following day's activities. But, Birmingham was another story. We dined atop the mountain, compliments of the B'ham News, and toured radio, tv, and newspapers. That was wonderful.

I was taking all my major courses in my second year of college. Somehow I knew that I wouldn't finish - too many problems. Mom wanted me to make decisions and then she could complain when something went wrong. Mind you, this is a 17 year old making decisions for the family. And, Sue and I were arguing every day. Mom finally caught onto the fact that I was really drinking heavily. My boyfriend was getting discharged from the service that year, and I decided I would leave college and marry him. Didn't really consult him about whether that was what he wanted to do or not. Mom and I visited his grandmother, who reared him, in Cullman, AL, a couple of times, and I was not the most popular choice for his family. After the last visit, Jim and his uncle took me to the bus in Birmingham, and I knew I'd never see him again. I didn't tell Mom that. What I told Mom was that I was moving to Memphis to work until Jim and I could get married.

Jim and Mom

Moved in for temporaries with my late brother's best friend and his wife and daughter. Way out from town. Job hunting was almost impossible, and I had no transportation. So, I rode to work each morning with brother's best friend and made my few rounds, and back to their home. On weekends, I would ride to work with him, and we would go rodeoing with his girlfriend and a married guy. They were pretty good and made enough to cover our expenses on the road. Brother's best friend's wife stayed home. (Needless to say, that marriage didn't last.) Summer was lots of fun for me. I learned to ride and learned to ride barrels. I learned a lot about sex and cheating. I visited a lot of little po-dunk towns in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. I met a vet who gave me phenobarbital for my migraines.

Summer ended and I moved into the YWCA downtown - better to job hunt. I would wander down to Court Square and drink coffee with the sailors from Millington. Later, when I had my own place, we'd do more than drink coffee, especially since I don't drink coffee. But I finally found a good job agency and got a job as assistant editor of a trade magazine.

Now, one thing I haven't talked about much is being sick. I had a lot of respiratory illness during my childhood and had rheumatic fever during my junior year of high school. the illness continued, and I missed some work, but I was very good at my job and my mentor-boss was great. However, when I returned from vacation after my first year on the job, I was fired because they were reorganizing the magazine and didn't want a woman as editor - the only position that would be open. LOL Of course that was 10 days before the law was passed that made discrimation because of gender illegal.

That year at the magazine is a blur. I lived with a college friend until she became pregnant and moved back home. I lived with Sue's sister for a while until I couldn't take the other roommate's obsessiveness any longer. I lived briefly in an unfurnished apartment. During an acute bout of illness, Mom came to Memphis and moved me into a furnished apartment in a house with an old lady who yelled at me whenever I made the least noise. And, when she thought someone was spending the night, she threatened to throw me out.

I bought a 1949 grey Chevy and drove it for over a year with a temporary tag...back and forth from Memphis to Columbus, where Mom lived.

I moved into an apartment owned by a man I met at a bar; I lived downstairs; he lived upstairs, and I was not his official girlfriend. But, I thoroughly enjoyed his red carpet and his tape deck - one of those old big ones that you had to build yourself. One day, he told me that a friend was coming to town, and could she stay with me for a while.

Carol moved in. One Sunday when some college friends were visiting (including the college gossip), I answered a knock at the front door to discover two very butch women, very dirty, standing at the door. Carol's friends. They had all been in the Navy together and all discharged for being lesbians. My friends departed quickly, and I was scorned on campus thereafter.

Carol and I got an apartment that was the entire upstairs of a house near the bus lines. Her friends visited. We took in boys who had been discharged from the Navy because they were gay - kept them until they could get enough money to go home or to go to work and find their own place. We took in one woman who was incontinent, put her bed in the dining room, and finally had to ask her to leave because of the smell. She was very nice, but we didn't have a washer/dryer.

I had a pet skunk (descented) who liked to ride horses with me - would hook his claws into a pad on the top of my shoulder and flatten himself against my body when we rode. We had cats and a rabbit once. They all used the same litter box and ate the same food.

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

I hope you are writing this elsewhere with more detail in preparation for publication. If I didn't trust you, I'd think you have a great imagination. Wow! You've lived a dozen country music songs at least. Hugs.