Friday, November 18, 2016

Flashback Friday - Iliff Part 2

I was going through a baseball cap phase at the time and a lot of the pictures of me in those 2 years have me wearing one.   Country music was all the craze and being in the most important consumer demographic of 18-15 year-olds, I readily joined in.  Along with my baseball cap I also wore bib overalls and no socks to really look like the Midwest hayseed I was.  It was a crazy big country music boom that influenced me until I wised up and shed all that craziness.  Freddie Fender's Wasted Days and Wasted Nights was one of my favorites and on some nights, with a little beer, was able to do a pretty good karaoke rendition before there was such a thing.

The classes were all pretty conventional and a continuation of themes I took at Iowa Wesleyan.  Ethics, philosophical movements that relate to specific periods,  and the theology of philosophy were all the types of stuff I took that first year.  In fact the first four classes were: 

History of Philosophy - Dr. Templin
Foundational Ethics - Dr. Wilbanks
Development of the Theological Personality - Dr. Spangler
Philosophy Colloquium - Drs. Bloede/Bossart

The classes were small.  A lot harder to get lost in them.  Generally speaking I am a back row kind of guy, and when your Professor enters the room and tells us to get in a circle, my heart generally sinks.  I also wasn't much for interaction.  I knew my stuff but didn't necessarily want to participate in group crap because I have learned in school that there are three types of students:  first is the suck-up type that wants only to impress the teacher and hear themselves prattle. The second is the one who will interact if they have to and don't feel they have to do more or less.  And the third are those who would rather have molars extracted than put their necks out for student number one.  I was student #3.  Always was - way too introverted to put a target on my back.  Another story from my days at IWC was in one of Dr. Khan's philosophy classes.  All those dickhead thinkers who couldn't find the time to devote a minute for cogent thought because they were tripping to impress Khan, I aced them all on a test at one point and the good Doctor made reference to it and the "shy boy in the back" in his clipped Pakistani accent.  I remember they all turned around to see this progeny they'd never heard from and all I did was raise an eyebrow.  

My first year they put me in a little single studio type apartment in the dorm above.  They had two dorms - one for us single students and then the other for all the married ones.  The first I discovered was there was NO partying of any kind.  Coming out of IWC we all found time to party fairly hardy if not during the week (which would have been rare) then certainly on the weekends.  I found out that grad school was a different animal and so I spent a lot of time that first semester in my room.  It was a corner studio on the corner so I had views of both main streets.  I was on a strict budget so I'd hide my smokes at various places, even the kitchen light that hung down from the ceiling.  It was a way to temper my need to smoke more than I had the funds to replace them.  

Cooking was a new thing, too and I'm not sure what I fixed.  I do remember a new cake that you could buy that was called Stir and Frost.  It was all self-contained, requiring nothing and all it needed was baked.  It also came with its own frosting.  It tasted like warm mud and is no longer available, thank heavens.     

This is the only photo that I have of my day-to-day living space.   On the wall are my fraternity group photos that appear to have been hung way too high.  My good old TV set back before cable and all that stuff.  Yes, Virginia, TV was free once a long time ago.  I got the main stations around town and cable was just beginning to catch on.  

As you can see the bed is unmade.  Sorry about that.  I don't know when I became a stickler about that but apparently it hadn't happened yet.  My baseball cap, a cardboard box for a table, newspapers and a bathroom sink full of clothes.  My transformation from slop to pseudo neat freak proves some kind of evolution.

Down the road real soon I would meet Jennie who was in one of my classes and we palled around that first semester.  Good humor, lots of fun and always ready to go out and do things.  After I came back from Christmas vacation I discovered she had fallen in love with a girl and she dropped out of school and moved away.  Then just as quickly I met Jan and she would be my buddy the rest of the time I was there.  I think there is a post that goes into somewhat more detail (February 13, 2015) about Jan if you want to use the side history dates to look it up.  I would also eventually meet the Calhoun boys, Eddie Valverde, David and others, and the place all of a sudden wasn't so lonely.  

And so, for the first time in my life,  I was in a big city alone.  A lifetime of having a little twerp next to me in some way was 1500 miles away.  I won't lie and say it wasn't tough.  But I had my studies, my classes.  One day I decided to find a project for the weekend.  The University had a great bookstore and I picked up some art materials and canvas and did a little something to while the time.  It is an endeavor and hobby that has stuck with me ever since.  Overall I survived that first semester and although I was a bit homesick I toughed it out.  

I didn't go out much, driving was still a bit of a terror, but I would occasionally hop in my VW and go fairly close to places or, even better, walk.  It would take Jan to really get me out but that was later.  By the way, my Fall semester GPA was, on a 3.0 scale, 2.33 and Winter's was 2.25 (B+), so not a bad start at all.  More on Iliff in a couple weeks.

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