With a good background in math and some CPA genes in my system, accounting was a pretty easy major for me. Both my dad and my mom's dad were CPAs! (And, of course, I married a CPA so our Boy has a triple genetic dose!) The only class I struggled with was finance. It made no sense to me yet it was a requirement for business majors.
One thing really demoralized me from the start: In Intermediate Accounting I sat next to this guy who talked to me throughout class. I only spoke to him before class, never during, but the teacher decided we must have been connected. When the guy asked some stupid question the teacher started his reply with, "If you two would pay attention..." Whuh? How did you lump me in with that other guy?! I got the highest score on the exams so it's not like I was a bad student. Weird.
I lived in the dorms most of the time at SFSU. Originally I couldn't get on-campus housing so I rented a room from an older woman who had a condominium nearby. She nagged me about my eating: "You're eating a sandwich and soup?!" Um, yeah, that's what I can afford. And sandwiches and soups are perfectly good meal choice.
On the first day of school I went to the housing office to find out where I was on the waiting list. At the top! So I got my room assignment and moved out of the lady's place pronto.
San Francisco State University
- Mary Ward Hall, Room 110, Fall Semester 1983
- This was an all-female hall on the first floor. I had a freshman roommate named Kay (NOT her real name). She was always talking about how she was going to break up with her boyfriend after Christmas because he had promised to buy her a Gucci purse and she needed to hold out until then. Charming, no?
- This particular collection of women was older and some were disabled. I have no idea why they placed a freshman there.
- This is where I met Ruth, a woman in her mid-forties who had been through divorce and addiction, and had come out the other side to become a marriage/family counselor for drug addicts.
- Next door was Carol. She was from New York State, a few years older than me and she was absolutely infatuated with one of her professors.
- In November one Saturday night Kay's friends from home stopped by late (I was already in bed). I was annoyed when one of the friends started poking me through my blankets. They left and I went to sleep.
- The next morning, VERY early around 6 am, Kay's boyfriend called. I said Kay wasn't there; she had gone out with friends. I tried to go back to sleep; these were the days when I liked to sleep as late as possible.
- Not 10 minutes later, Kay's mother called. Again, I said she wasn't there; she had gone out with friends.
- That night Kay came back around 8 pm. I said hello and she basically screamed at me, "You bitch!" She hated me from that day. I'm not sure what I could have done different. "Kay's not here. She's at, um, church," I guess I could have said but I was not totally awake when I answered the phone to think any of that through.
- She had gotten into tons of trouble with her parents for being out overnight. The little purse ho was only 18 and I assume her parents were paying her tuition.
- From that moment she made my life a living hell. Stupid stuff like turning up the volume of the TV or radio very loud. When I finally asked her to turn it down she turned it UP. It was nearing the end of the semester and it was impossible to sleep or study anymore.
- I went to the front desk and they sent me to meet with, not an RA, but someone ranked higher (I forget the title) and told her my story. She called Kay in and she backed up everything I said and said she was going to keep it up. They moved her out THAT NIGHT and I never had to deal with Kay again.
- Mary Ward Hall, Room 112, Spring Semester 1984
- Carol's roommate had left and I was now without a roommate so I moved in with her.
- Carol asked me if I wanted to rearrange the room. Not wanting to put her to any trouble I said I was fine with the way it was. Wrong answer!
- It turns out SHE had wanted to rearrange the room and I inadvertently put the kibosh on it. I can't win!
- I stayed at my parents' house in Petaluma over the summer of 1984.
- Mary Park Hall, Room 318, Fall Semester 1984 to Summer 1985
- Natalie, an acquaintance of mine from UC Santa Cruz had also transferred to SFSU and her roommate was leaving so she invited me to move in with her and I did.
- This arrangement was advantageous for me because Natalie had a boyfriend at home in Contra Costa County and she went home from Thursdays to Sunday nights (they eventually got married the next summer).
- While living here I got to know both Terry and Mike. Somehow, like I did with Danny and Kurt, I started hanging out regularly with these two guys. All I can think is, since I have two brothers, I find it easy to hang out with two guys.
- Whatever the reason, the three of us hung out, went to movies (and one concert) and bonded over our geeky love for movies, comic books, and TV.
- We used to go to El Torito on Monday nights because we could get appetizers and margaritas cheaper then (something to do with Monday Night Football but we got there after the game). Here we are at El Torito one night in December 1984: From left to right, me, Mitch, Terry, Mike and Madeline.
- That summer I got a job as a member of the dorm cleaning crew. We cleaned the dorms after the students left and made up the rooms used by conferences who used the SFSU facilities during summer.
- The summer staff also included painters, food service and conference support people and we all lived on the 2nd and 3rd floor of Mary Park Hall. Since I already lived there I just stayed where I was.
- Ruth was on the summer cleaning crew too and she moved in next door to me.
- A guy named Bill was on the cleaning crew and became obsessed with me. His room was right across the hall from me so I know he watched what I was doing. (Ruth later told me he'd made a film about his infatuation with me; she saw it and said he cast a girl who looked a lot like me!)
- Mary Park Hall, Room 201, Fall Semester 1985 to Summer 1986
- At this point I splurged for a single room and got this one. It was the same size as a double room with half the furniture. I was able to keep my bike in my room rather than outside!
- The room overlooked the main entrance to the building so I always had a view of who came and went.
- By this time almost all my friends had graduated from SFSU or moved elsewhere so this was a pretty quiet year. Ruth was still in the dorms though and we go together quite often. I think this is the year they opened a cafe downstairs and we used to eat there all the time rather than the dining hall.
- In my second year on cleaning crew I was an assistant supervisor. Plus Ruth and some of the people from the prior year were back and we had such fun.
- My main group of friends and co-workers that summer were Ruth, Barbara and Cynthia. Fun facts:
- Barbara and I went together to the Golden Gate Bridge Walk in 1987.
- Cynthia's birthday is the same day as mine (different year though).
- We all had nicknames: In order of the photo below, Ruth was Cassandra, Barbara was Victoria, I was Raven, and Cynthia was Rahne (pronounced "Rain").
- I had a crush on a guy named Joey but he would ignore me when I paid attention to him and then do things to get my attention when I ignored him. He was cute and 21 (I was 24 at the time) and told me he was using the summer to just be into himself. Whatever, Joey, you lost your chance.
- We moved a picnic table from the lounge and replaced it with a ping-pong table. We would dance to Beatles songs. We hung out on the roof of Verducci Hall. SO much fun!
- Verducci Hall, 15th floor, Winter Break 1987
- I briefly had a job during the break as a janitor (I got paid about $12 an hour which was a fortune to me at that point!) so I took an empty room on the top floor. I was totally alone in the building except for the preceptor (or whatever they called themselves at SFSU) who lived in an apartment on the ground floor (2 floors were practically underground).
- I had my sleeping bag and my black & white 13" TV. This is where I watched "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the first time. NOT that exciting in tiny B&W!
- I had a view of the Pacific Ocean.
- Verducci was damaged in the 1989 earthquake and demolished 10 years later. So sad. I had been in every room of it at some point.
- Here's Verducci in the 1960s. It looked the same in the 1980s.
My sad, sad footnote is that I lost touch with Ruth and all the others once I was married and had my son. I have connected with many people again via Facebook. All but Ruth. It turns out that she passed away in 2006 at age 69. I am so sorry that we didn't stay in touch. She was an amazing person. Coincidentally, her birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday Ruth!