We’ve survived our first big fight.
Christmas has come and gone.
I don’t remember but I’d bet money that we didn’t spend New Year’s together.
And then it’s winter.
I move to a new apartment. A one bedroom. It’s the first time I’ve lived by myself in a very long time. Well sort of. Sam has the keys to the apartment. He comes and goes as he wants. He didn’t help me move though. It was the first of six moves I made while we dated and he never helped once. It was a point of contention many times because he conveniently had other things to do on those days.
So I’m living alone together. School has started back. And a couple of things change.
First, Sam is entirely unhappy in his course of study. Granted he’s dealing with mostly requirements at this point but he’s long since given up the idea of being a Senator. He’s realized he can’t be gay and be a politician, one of the reasons he’s been secretive about our life. But he does have something else he’d like to do. It’s in one of the design fields (not theatre). To get into the program he had to take a four hour entrance exam. I have no idea what was on the exam, but he spent quite a bit of time preparing. He took the exam and what would you know, he was accepted into the program. Suddenly his school life is going to change.
At the same time, I’m finishing up my theatre degree and it’s time to figure out what comes next. I’m encouraged to go ahead and get my MFA. At this point I have a BA, and I’m working on my MA. (Yes, I’m a waiter with three college degrees and a million dollars in student loan debt. And I would do it all again if I had the choice). So I decide to apply for grad school. At this point, it’s spring 1992 and I have no idea where to apply. Since there is no internet, researching schools is very difficult. I didn’t even know where to begin. So I picked four or five that I knew about, called for information, and waited. Of the ones I got information from, I chose three. I sent applications to the University of Alabama, The University of Tennessee, and The University of Cincinnati. All three were stellar okay programs. I sent off my application materials and waited, and waited, and waited. And finally I got calls from the three schools wanting me to come visit and interview for their programs.
First up Cincinnati. From all I’d heard and read about it, the school was supposed to be great. They did large budget shows, with lots of technical support and was supposed to be an excellent program. I interviewed there and it went well. The lighting instructor liked my stuff and told me he would be in touch.
Next up Alabama. I drove down to Tuscaloosa and interviewed. I wasn’t taken with the program. The facilities looked just like what I’d been working in. And I was concerned that I wouldn’t learn anything new. The one good thing about the program is they were one of the leaders in computer technology at the time and I’d definitely learn to draft/design on the computer. The interview went well.
Next up, Tennessee. The whole process was a disaster from the word go. I drove down to Knoxville to interview. I’d asked the lighting instructor where I should stay and he recommended a place near campus. The Bate’s Motel was nicer. The mattress was on springs. And everytime I moved the bed creaked. Which was bad enough, but the walls were so thin that I could hear the guy in the next room turning over on his bed as well. And then there was the interview. They didn’t like a single answer I had. I couldn’t say anything right. I left knowing that I’d never go to school there.
And so as expected I got letters from Cincinnati and Alabama offering me positions in their programs. And I got a very polite rejection letter from Tennessee.
And so mid March I had to decide what I was going to do. The first question, and to me the most important was whether I was willing to move away and leave Sam behind. The relationship was going great. (If you call having a boyfriend who won’t introduce you to his friends great. Or if you mean someone I cheat on every chance I get great). We were spending more and more time together and I didn’t know if I was really ready to leave that behind. And then there was the question of what program to sign up for. After some serious discussions I decided to go to Cincinnati. It was only an hour away, Sam and I could try and make things work. And I’d be able to finish up my degree.
So with that decision behind me, and Sam ready to start his design courses in the fall. All was well.
Well sort of.