Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Okay, enough already, here's a story :)

(This is Thatcher, Arizona, where the sign says on both sides "Eastern Arizona College". It is the only stop light in town.)

Eastern Arizona College

Joy Duncan - wearing my bathing suit

Since I have been nagged by a few friends to write some more, here goes, this one's for you Lenny:

A long time ago, in a galaxy, far far away, in a land called Arizona, I went to college. I picked Arizona because the family that I used to babysit for were planning on relocating there and I figured heck, if I couldn't get to Hawaii, Arizona could be the next best thing. Eastern Arizona College. The brochure the school sent was wonderful, obviously meant to paint a fraudulent picture of life in Thatcher, Arizona. It showed pictures of the ocean, pictures of beautiful mountains, rivers etc. Very picturesque. For those of you who may not know anything about eastern arizona, there is no water, no rivers, and it is not near an ocean. There are mountains though, rocky mountains. Picture a desolate desert town, with a few buildings and one stop light.

I was visiting an older brother in Arkansas who put me on a greyhound bus to my destination in Arizona. The "kind" greyhound bus driver told me he was dropping me off in the front of the registration building, such a nice, caring man. I grabbed my two little bags and hopped on off and was a little slow in noticing that I was dropped off in front of a crowd of about 100 big muscular guys. Just happened it turned out to be the boy's dormitory. Keep in mind, I had only seen maybe two or three minorities tops, in my entire life (seeing that St Lawrence County in NY is made up of only white, french, catholic, short people).

Two guys walked up to me and told me that I shouldn't be headed in that direction, that it was indeed the boy's dorm and they offered to walk me to the Registration building. I remember thinking how kind they were. On a side note, I ended up marrying and later divorcing one of them (thats a whole volume of stories).

I was assigned a room in Nellie Lee Dormitory, being the third female to arrive on campus that semester. I could take my pick of rooms. I unpacked my belongings which included some sports jerseys and trophies from high school. (Proud soccer, basketball and softball player for the OFA Blue Devils). I had one picture I made in shop class out of copper, where I engraved the face of the devil on it and painted the perimeter blue, in keeping with our theme.

As the dorm is filling up, I was assigned a roommate, Sydney. Beautiful girl, blond haired, pretty enough to be an actress. We was rather quiet those first two nights, didn't talk much and I figured she was shy. On Day three, when I got back from lunch, she was gone, bags and all. She had moved to a private room. Her reason? She believed me to be a devil worshipper because of my copper blue devil. She was only the second person in my life I had ever met who wasn't a Catholic. She was a member of the Mormon church, which most of the campus was.

After that, the dorm was filling up rapidly, but no one wanted to be my roommate, because I was a New Yorker. I had girls ask me, "so what is it like to shoot heroin? and have you ever worked as a hooker?" I couldn't believe it. They thought I was some big city tramp with a drug problem, just because I was from NY. I tried in vain to explain that where I am from in NY, its just a little tiny town on the border of Canada and the worst crime reported in the newspaper back then was "Dog found running at large.". Needless to say, I was without a roommate until a week before classes started.

The dorm mother, the wonderful Martha Winkler, comes to me and asks me if I would consider this girl, Joy, to be my roommate. She was also from New York. I was like, "sure, no problem, why wouldn't I?" Well, I was told, "well Joy is a 'colored' girl". Everyone else refused her as a roommate. I couldn't believe it. And come to find out, she was from Auburn, New York, which wasn't far from my hometown.

Joy Duncan. Her mom came with her to school and her mom stayed for the first two weeks. Joy was such a nice quiet girl. The mother was so nice, too. At the end of the two week period, Joy's mom headed on back to Auburn. That night, the first night her mom was gone, Joy went to dinner and didn't come home. I was scared to death. I remember thinking that someone kidnapped the black girl because they didn't want a minority in our building. I had visions of all these horrible things happening to her. Poor little Joy. The security guard just kind of laughed at me when I told him at midnight, that Joy was nowhere to be found.

I went to breakfast the next morning, and who shows up? Well, Joy, with about a thousand hickies all over her. She was a lighter skinned black girl, but do you know how hard it is to have that many hickies on that kind of complexion? I told her I was worried sick about her and where in hell did she go. Well she told me, she spent the night with Randy "mad dog" Jackson, this little scrawny white guy from Georgia. I look around and Randy is sitting with the rest of the football team and showing all of them his "hickies", including the ones that were below the belt line, if you catch my drift. Ah, to be so young and so naive. (translation - stupid). And I worried about her nasty ass.
Over the next semester, she would come back to the room every few days and finally take a bath. She never brushed her teeth. One day, a few other friends and I grab her and drag her to the bathroom and hold her down on the floor and take a toothbrush and toothpaste and brush her teeth, telling her that her breath smelled like shit and we couldnt' take it anymore.

Next thing, she starts wearing my clothes. Not just my clothes like jeans or shirts, but my underwear. Now I grew up in a house full of girls, but I would never wear any of my sisters underwear, still gross just thinking about it. So I would take my clothes from the bottom of her closet and wash them, and toss the underpants in the trash. At this point, we started arguing on a daily basis. "Don't wear my shit, especially with your nasty whorish ass, and your stinky no teeth brushing breath." She kept it up. And she kept up her late night escapades in the boys dormitory.

So much so, she ends up getting kicked out of school. So for a few weeks, she was trying to get up enough nerve to tell her mother she had to come home and made up some story. I gave her an ultimatum, get out of my room and don't touch my stuff.

I am off with another weird friend one day, looking at the accident site where a fellow student, Greg Morales died (thats another story) We had to ride bicycles to get to that place, because it was a few miles out on the highway to Safford, Arizona. This friend comes by in his car and tells me that he just took Joy to the greyhound station and she was gone. I remember feeling such relief.

Then he tells me. "She packed all your shit, all your clothes, your blankets, everything, your shoes, underwear, everything. She took it all." WHAT?????? So he tells me again, "yup, she took your suitcases, and packed everything of yours and took it all with her home to NY. I told her not to, not to be like that, but she said too bad." ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I thought it had to be a friggin joke. He gives me a ride in his car and I am in tears, still not sure whether to believe him or not. Well he wasn't lying. I get back to the dorm, and back to my room, and it was all gone, everything. Absolutely everything. Well she left me the hotplate and a hairdryer. But everything else I owned was gone. The clothes, the linens, even my hairbrush, all gone.

All I could think about was how naive I was, once again, "will you let this poor girl be your roommate? no one else will. And her mother is such a nice lady, she is here with her and her mother approves of you." hhmmphhh.

One of the first people who came to console me, was my original roommate of two days, Sydney the Mormon. We had become friends afterall over the months of that first college year. She decided about three weeks into school that she no longer wanted to be a member of the Mormon church and plotted ways to get ex-communicated. I think her final action which worked was she slept with the local bishop. She got ex communicated all right. Then she threw this wild ex-communication party. It was one of the best parties I ever went to in college.

Is there a moral to this story? Not really. It just taught me a thing or two about first impressions. The crazy Mormon chick might be your best friend a year from now, and the familiar voice from home may be your worst nightmare. Oh yeah, and never have a roommate.

to be continued.............