Saturday, January 24, 2009

Places I've Lived

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In '85 or '86 I finally graduated from Pensacola Junior College with an AA in art. I had taken a couple of years off because I began to doubt that art was what I wanted to do. I returned to it eventually. Having attended Portfolio Day in Atlanta, I had been offered a scholarship to the Memphis College of Art. Since I have a cousin who lives in Memphis it was a fairly simple matter to find a roommate (through my cousin's church). I lived in the above 2BR apartment with Robert, a seminary student, music intern at Travis Ave. Baptist, and all around great guy. We got along famously. It's too bad that can't be said of my relationships at the college.
My first day of printmaking class, I strolled into the room with all my supplies, asked where to put my stuff and started working. Several of the old guard were standing around and they told me, "Hey, we never do anything on the first day." I said, "Well, I do." See, I was taught to have a killer work ethic when it comes to art. These folks didn't share my sentiment. It was downhill from there. I didn't get along with the printmaking prof. (my major) but I did get along with the asst. prof. who hired me to be his asst. and let me teach a few classes. I also got along famously with my photo instructors and soon found a small band of fellow artists to hang with. But I still pushed against the status quo (isn't that what artists are supposed to do) and soon found myself in one of the administrators office. She asked me what my problem was. I told her that the teaching was lax, the students were lazy and that favoritism was rampant (and it was). This did not go over well. I was not forced out but decided to leave after a semester because I knew I would not receive a good education there. One of my female friends cornered me when she heard the news and said, "You can't leave. You're one of the only straight guys here." I was thinking, "Why didn't you show any interest." Maybe she had. I was never good at reading the opposite sex.
Life at the apartment was pretty normal. I hung out with Robert when I could. He was busy with his school too. I did go to church with him and ended up doing the Singing Christmas Tree that year. The apartment was in a questionable part of town. My car was broken into. I used to startle a homeless man who slept in our laundry room all the time. I wasn't too impressed with Memphis. It's one of the dirtiest cities I've ever lived in.
Like I said, after one semester I went back to Pcola and started formulating a plan to continue my art education. Robert stayed a friend and came to visit quite a few times. He even stayed at the beach with me and my friends a couple of years. The last time he came to visit, he left and we never heard from him again. We don't know what happened. I wish I could find him. I'd like to know what happened to him.

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