Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dear Old College Days, Part One

Yep, that's right. It took me almost 7 years to get through college. The reasons? The sheer lack of sensible decisions due to lack of maturity. Indecision on my major (writing to math to economics to accounting). Switching from the University of California to the California State University system (I spent a lot of time taking general education classes at State University that weren't necessary for UC).

Anyway, I did come out of college with enough skills to get a job and support myself. It turned out that I was a really great bookkeeper (CPA Boy says I can't call myself an "accountant" --- he likes to hog all the accountant glory to himself) and I loved my jobs, if not the politics and backstabbing portions of work life.

When I was 18 I thought I wanted to be a writer. That's why, when I got the UC Santa Cruz brochure and College Five was the perfect place for writing majors, I chose to apply. In retrospect I should have stuck it out a bit longer or at least tried some more literature classes.

Oddly, when I was 14 I wanted to be a geologist so I could study volcanoes and earthquakes. I thought plate tectonics was the most amazing thing I had ever learned. I remember the epiphany moment in 9th grade earth science class: THIS is what I want to learn more about! I am not sure why I moved away from it. Probably because once 9th grade was over all we got was biology class and they never mention earth science again. That and all my English teachers told me I was a great writer. I was brainwashed!

I AM an adequate writer though but only an armchair geologist. Which is to say I read an occasional book about earthquakes and volcanoes.  And catch the occasional "Nova" special on PBS! But having read so much more history in the last 25 years, now I would major in English literature and history. I always thought that once my son was grown (check!) I would go back to college and do just that. But now it's too expensive and it's probably too late. So I will just continue to self-educate.

So here's a little history for you!

University of California at Santa Cruz
  • College Five, B-Dorm, Room 215, Fall Quarter 1980 to Spring Quarter 1981
    • Over the summer I received a letter telling me that my roommate was named Kim. I thought that was cute: Kim and Kelly would be roommates! When I got to my room I had the room to myself the first week. I'm not sure why that was!
      • Kim's room was on the other side of B-Dorm, which was still technically part of the girl's hall (I think our RA was responsible for them too) and she had a different roommate, but they were never a part of Chastity Castle and I never got to know her.
        • Our hall got the nickname Chastity Castle. I remember some guys upstairs on one of the balconies asking, "Who's your queen?" I think we all bleated in unison, "Jenny," which may have been Lady C's freshman year college alias.
      • I often wonder how things might have been different had Kim been my roommate like she was supposed to be. Let's ponder this...
    • Lady Chardonnay was in the room next door with her roommate, Tina. Lisa shared a room with Monica (I could be completely making this name up but that's what pops into my head) and Karen was with George (who was female and from New York). Lori was the RA who did not like Lady C or me (she was a terrible RA in that she was a non-entity to us). The other rooms were all singles with Adina, Lucia and other girls whose names are lost to me (Joanne?).
    • Ultimately Monica was replaced by Russelle and George was replaced by --- oh my goodness --- I have no idea! I just remember George was gone pretty quickly. Did Karen get a new roommate?

    • Lisa, Karen, Trish, Kelly, Jenny, and Russelle. Tina was never around much, unfortunately, and I have not a single photograph of her!
    • My roommate situation was brokered by Lady C. Somehow she and Trish met, facilitated perhaps by their red hair, and Lady C somehow invited her to be my roommate. Which seems like it would be weird but was totally fine. Trish and I got along fine and we were good roommates. We nicknamed our room the "Virgin Room".
      • Trish had many posters of the ilk including fuzzy kittens and sweet sayings like "Find a place that makes you happy and go there" and "Great joys are silent." I had pictures of Harrison Ford and brightly colored geometric designs.
      • We rearranged the furniture every quarter. During the last we made bunk beds and I took the top bunk.
    • Lady C and I became best friends pretty quickly (and remain so until this day, 31.5 years later!). I think Trish and Karen were best friends at that time too. Lisa was our other best friend (she was definitely closer to Lady C overall but she & I were good friends too).
    • My other good friends were Kurt and Danny, who did not live on the girls' hall of course. The three of us started hanging out together after a dining hall game of paper football bonded us (the ACTUAL paper football is in my college scrapbook --- yes, I am a dork!). Tina had known Danny at high school back home and Kurt had known Lady C briefly during their junior high days (I think).
      • There's a story involving "Young Frankenstein", Lady C, Danny and Kurt. During the very first week of school (before classes had started) the movie was shown across campus (outdoors somewhere) and I wanted to go since I hadn't seen it yet. But Dear Lady C had hoped to get some alone time with a guy named Aaron (?) and I graciously bowed out of going. Sadly for Lady C Aaron brought a bunch of people from his hall and this group somehow included Danny & Kurt. I could have gone and never so much as cramped her style. (Plus I would have met Danny & Kurt that much sooner.) AND I HAVE NEVER LET HER FORGET IT!
    • I remember this year as a halcyon one but there were LOTS of tears. And poison oak. And tears. Good times.
  • Porter College Five, A-Dorm, Room 123, Fall Quarter 1981
    • In sophomore year Lady Chardonnay and I decided on single rooms. She was placed in B-Dorm and I was placed in A-Dorm (another hindsight thing: we should have asked the housing office to put us on the same hall; the worst that could have happened was they'd say no). I was on the 1st floor and it was so dark because the room never got any light; the trees were too thick to let in any morning sun. I never liked living in A-Dorm; it felt wrong somehow!
    • Lady C and I both had phones in our rooms (a luxury for which we paid Pacific Bell) and we called each other every day, sometimes more than once, usually to coordinate our clothing. It seems shallow but we are BEST FRIENDS. Don't judge us!
    • When we came back to school after winter break (I came down from Chico with Lady C) the Big Storm started and the electricity went out. Eventually we were sent home for a couple of weeks. According to my calendar, we came back on January 12 and on the 13the I moved from this room to the same hall as Lady C in B-Dorm.
    • Someone had moved out of the room down the hall from Lady C and we rushed over to the housing office to beg for me to move. Since it was a swap from single to single they said yes.
    • Speaking of my calendar, there is an entry on December 15, 1981 that reads: "Spent night in Los Altos with Jane's future in-laws (the Olsens)."
      • Um, huh? First, I have no memory of this and second, Lady Jane, I assume this refers to you?! (I see your name all over my calendar so I really should mention that we knew you early on in the Chastity Castle year. Weren't you Kurt's (and Aaron's) RA on the 4th floor?

  • Porter College, B-Dorm, Room 365, Winter Quarter 1982 to Winter Quarter 1983
    • I lived here the longest during my years at UCSC. I LOVED this room even though my view was the roof of the lounge and dining hall. I think I loved it most when Lady C and I were seconds away from each other, at least during sophomore year. She moved up to 5th floor during junior year to be an RA. I really must have loved this room because I can't recall why the hell I didn't move up to her hall. I was obviously crazy in those days.
    • Pretty sure I lost my virginity in here too. Nope, wait, it was in HIS room on the 5th floor. Never mind! Nothing to see here!
    • I had a Harrison Ford shrine on the wall over my bed. I also made large letters spelling out my name on the walls too. (See photo above)
    • Another great 3rd floor memory: Lady C and I staged a "wedding" that turned into a surprise birthday party for me and our "minister" Mike. In the photo, standing, unknown, Kurt, Don, Wendy, Danny, Steve (barely visible in the sunglasses and bandanna), Tina (Jenny's friend from home), Ken and Chris; middle: Lisa and Lady Jane; sitting: Marcy, David, Trish and Mike; front: Kelly & Lady C (aka "Jenny").
  • Porter College, A-Dorm, 2nd floor, 2 weeks in Summer 1982
    • Lady C and I shared a room for the 2 weeks we were cleaning dorms (for our temporary summer jobs) and we had to wait for our Kresge apartment to be cleaned too.
    • My calendar says, "Moved from B-Dorm to A-Dorm, cleaned scuzzy kitchen." THAT sounds like fun but I guess we used the kitchen facility because there would have been no dining hall.
    • This is the dorm cleaning experience that led to the famous cache of crappy porn novels!
    • I ended up working cleaning Stevenson and Cowell Colleges; Lady C cleaned Porter.
  • Kresge College, Summer 1982, Bldg R-6 #403, Summer 1982
    • The best and worst summer in so many ways. Lady C and I had our only real falling out and it took us to the new year to completely make up. I blame my rampant immaturity (and maybe, just maybe, her overuse of the snooze alarm!!). I have no idea why I got so stubborn about not doing things that were so simple to do, like decorating my walls. 
      • We moved in on June 20 and I moved to an empty single on July 16 so we lived together for almost a month. The calendar indicates we weren't speaking at one point but we must have gotten over that pretty quickly because we did all sorts of stuff together that summer. The calendar says so!
    • We also got her friend Phil's car, a light blue Volkswagen Beetle we named Myrtle. (Phil called her George so sometimes we called her Myrtle-George.) Myrtle stopped working at random times due to a disconnected something-or-other. At the end of the summer I was rear-ended. Fun. Lady C taught me to drive stick-shift  in this car! LOVED Myrtle!
    • Lady C worked at the dining hall at Porter and I found employment at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. According to my calendar I was also doing cleaning shifts at Porter during those early weeks. If you say so, Calendar.
    • This was the summer of Edward, the really cute guy who lived downstairs. He liked me and asked if I was going to stay true to my boyfriend. I said yes and that was that. So dumb. I was only 20 and goodness knows my boyfriend was never true to ME. I should have gone for it. Oh well.
  • Porter College, B-Dorm, Room 550, Spring Quarter 1983
    • After Kresge, I went back to my 3rd floor room for a couple of more semesters. Then I got the chance to move to the 5th floor.
    • As much as I loved my room on the 3rd floor I REALLY loved this one. I had the balcony right outside (I could climb through the skinny windows to get to it) and big, high ceilings. Danny had had this room for a while before he transferred to Berkeley. Then Kurt had it for a while before HE transferred to Berkeley. Then some girl named Judy (she had a large bird whose poo I needed to clean up) had it for a quarter. Then I took it for my last quarter at UCSC.
    • This hall was the scene of much of my social life in those years: Lady Jane (still RA, right?), Don, Steve, Wendy, John, Bill, Kurt, Danny. All of them lived here, mainly because this was the College Eight hall. (I'm not sure how I got in; probably because it was only for one quarter.)
      • The core group included me, Kurt, Danny, Don, Steve, Wendy and John. We played games: Uno, Risk, Aggravation and several others. We had margarita parties. We danced to "Boogie Nights" and had so much fun.

    • In the photo, standing: John, Bill, Kelly, Kurt (behind Kelly), Danny, Paul. Sitting: Lady Jane, Don, Lady Chardonnay, Wendy
    • I can't believe I only lived here for a single quarter; it seems so much longer. I guess because I really spent so much time here during my last two years it seems like I lived there the whole time!
    •  Now these buildings have 2 extra stories on them! All I could find were pix of A-Dorm but they'll have to do!
Before:                                                                After:

If you know the names of any "unknown" folks, let me know and I will edit them in!

Tomorrow: San Francisco State! I hope!

And one more treat for my faithful readers (not you, CPA Boy, sorry!):
I don't know where this was taken. Lady C, is this your place in SJ? The date on the photo is 11/84 so I am assuming it is. We are so cute!

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