Friday, September 22, 2006

Look at her now

College was such a relief. (No homework) And... I was away from home for the first time in my life... really away, not away for a month at camp where you had to write home every week.

Of course I still had to write home every week. It was a requirement to receive my allowance. (Very shrewd, my mother) If I didn't write to say thank you for the money and this is what I did this week... then I didn't get any money the next week. Sometimes I didn't write. It was a novelty to be broke; not that much of a novelty.

But... I was lonely, and that first semester I felt abandoned by the love of my life. He had moved downstate to start a new job, and was swamped with all his new responsibilities. I checked my mailbox two or three times a day, even though mail only came once. His letters were infrequent, brief and informational. Boring. I was sure he couldn't possibly live without me, and once he realized it, the very next letter would be a proposal. But he could. And the proposal never came. Eventually I looked around, joined a few clubs, actually studied.

My roommate didn't like me. I didn't like her either. She was from New York, and sophisticated and bossy. We were both art majors, and she'd had more training than I. (Which doesn't say much, since I'd had no training.) Hard to believe... that I arrived at a state teachers' college, with a declared major in art education and I'd never taken a formal art class. My instructor was appalled. We were told to bring our portfolios the first week of class. What's a portfolio?

"Your portfolio... samples of your art, projects you did in high school." I didn't do any projects in high school. "You've had no training?" Uh, no. "And you want to be an art teacher?" Yes. Well, I really wanted to be a commercial artist, but my guidance counselor advised that's too competitive a field for a woman. She said I could be a nurse or a secretary or a teacher; So yes, I guess I want to be an art teacher. "And you've had no art training?" Right.

He threw up his hands and stalked off muttering. But he let me stay in class, and apparently I did okay, because a year later he would point me out to visitors and say, "And here is our Miss Johnson, who came to us with no art training, and look at her now."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing, I absolutely LOVE reading about your journy to where you are today.

Please continue to tell your story.