Thursday, August 4, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 45: Starting to feel pressure building in my Junior year and wondering if I am not headed for another frightening bout of chronic fatigue

I had been trying to keep the fatigue symptoms at bay ever since the frightening episode I experienced the summer I was twelve.  I was beginning to wonder if I could manage all the requirements of a theater major without bringing on another bout.  I knew I had managed my recovery only by resting enough and avoiding stress.  More crises during my junior year began to worry me. 
The first upset happened after Christmas when Margie and I returned from our trip home for the holidays.  Dean had come from Spokane, Washington on a Christmas furlough. He had been assigned to the base there for what he thought would be the duration of his enlistment. He had learned sheet metal work in Los Angeles and said this was where they repaired airplanes.  He would not be sent to Korea he was told.
I was happy because I had gotten to wear my new black velvet sheath to one of the dances we attended together.  Dean and I continued to correspond and because Pole was also still dating Margie, I thought we were pretty much set as couples, even though Margie wanted to be able to date others now that she was in college.
I said I was certainly looking around, too,  as I didn't see how Dean and I could ever go together with him stationed in Spokane and me in Salt Lake.  After I graduated I would be expected to find a teaching job somewhere in Utah.  It looked as though I would have to marry the guy even to stay long enough in the same place with him to say I actually knew him.
Margie had a bigger opportunity to get acquainted with Pole going to the same high school, but even though she said her interest was waning in him, she still could not resist double dating with Pole, Dean, and me when we were home, we always had so much fun.
By this time I had heard them sing and I was shocked at what a unique voice Dean had.  Haunting. He could sing harmony with anybody.  Pole's voice was good, too, but I could see why Dean had been called 'the voice' in high school.  I thought he had good enough voice to make some kind of name for himself, but I thought he was too much the country bumpkin to do it.
In the first place you had to coax him every time to sing. To heck with that.  I entertained thoughts of becoming his manager if I ever did marry him.  I did have to consider marrying him because we were so physically attracted, but there was something about his attitude that bothered me.
He seemed to have some kind of idea that sex was just wrong.  So I didn't think he showed enough determination to take these feelings anywhere.  I would have had to resist, just because if I did get pregnant I would have to take a slow boat to China.

The way Mother and Dad acted when they found Pole's wallet after the holidays and looked in it convinced me once again that I had better never get pregnant while unmarried.  Pole worked for Daddy off and on and sometime in January, Mother found his wallet in the couch.  Mother looked in it and found a condom and immediately told Daddy.
The first I heard about it was when Margie called me on the phone saying she had been fighting with them ever since they arrived in Salt Lake.  It seems that as soon as they found the condom they jumped in a car and drove to Salt Lake as though they might not arrive in time before one of us got pregnant.  They accused us of having sex with Pole and Dean, and what is more Daddy shouted he was going to stop paying any more of our college expenses.  If those boys wanted to have sex with us they could just damn well pay our bills!
I was so indignant to think Daddy especially would take this attitude, and even more so since I had so carefully refrained from taking any chances and they were as good as calling us damned liars.  We were finally able to convince them that they had not used any condoms on us enough so they could go back home and quit harassing us. 
Of course, when Dean heard this bit of news I was sure that he would regard sex with an unmarried girl as even more of an evil act.  I was just so tired of Daddy being such a tyrant, considering what I thought he had been doing all his life when it came to sex.  Mother, too, although I doubted if she would have acted nearly so abusive, if it had been up to her.
For this reason I was so happy when a handsome returned missionary fell in love with me.  His name was Robert.  It was during the same year that Archie, another returned missionary, put in his appearance at the University and became a superstar almost over night.  Archie's eyelashes, so long and beautiful, were what had obviously caused him all his trouble.  He had probably been madly pursued by both sexes since he was a tiny child because of those eyes.  He did admit to having issues on his mission, but the way Lees and Robert, his protege professor,  went crazy over him was a dead giveaway.  Archie also informed us that he only had one lung and he was expecting the other one to go after a few years and he would be gone from this earth.
I thought the professors were going to kill him that year giving him so many wonderful parts.  But Archie seemed determined to live out his last days with maximum exposure so he did not turn down anything. And all of us theater majors who had been trying to get big parts on the main stage were jealous of him, which Archie anticipated.  He was prepared with little barbs about our acting abilities in his own defense.

My returned missionary named Robert happened to run into me coming down the corridor in Kingsbury Hall where the students rehearsed their productions.  He stared into my eyes, so I stared back.  Rapport was instantly established without a word being spoken.  He said, 'Will you go out with me?"   I said, "Yes,' and that night he told me he had never had such an intense experience, meeting a girl for the first time,  would I accept his fraternity pin, he wanted to take me home to meet his family.
I then happened to remember there was a Dean out there somewhere who was never totally shocked at how my mother and dad acted since he had been observing such people all his life.  He had gone through the same schools and even had some of the same teachers as Daddy did.  His father was just as bad an alcoholic as Daddy was. 
I knew I could not take Robert, the missionary, home to meet my mother and dad.  He played the violin.  He had served his mission without excessive conflict it appeared.  What was I?  He had no idea.  We had just met one night in the corridor and felt an instant marvelous attraction, but I had to tell him I already had another boyfriend.
He probably suspected he had gotten carried away, so he did not argue with me. He was smart enough to trust me on this. It turned out that he had only been checking out the University and decided against going there.  I never saw him again. 
Later on during the year Daddy did something else Margie and I could tell Pole and Dean about, but I could never have told Robert. He came to Salt Lake to get a truckload of something or other and got totally whacked out on something and was picked up and jailed.  Mother called Margie and asked her if she please would not pick him up from jail and drive him and his loaded truck home, as she did not know how else to get them there. She told her to ask me to come with her to handle Daddy. She told Margie to drive very carefully because the truck was probably overloaded. 
I said I would go, of course, as this was something Margie could not do alone.  When she picked me up in the truck with Daddy he was still so out of it, he was not making a lot of sense.  I could not smell liquor on him so gathered it was some potent pills he had purchased somewhere.  I got between them and off down the road we went.
Margie had not had a whole lot of experience driving the big truck, but she had been driving with great enthusiasm since she was 15, so pretty soon she was handling the truck I thought perfectly well.  Every once in a while Daddy would demand we stop so he could relieve himself, and I could see he was taking more pills.  He probably would not stop dosing himself until they were entirely gone.
For this reason he did not even realize there was a crisis at all.  He did not wake up.  We were going up the summit of the Escalante Mountain when on the steepest part, the truck went out of gear.  My heart leaped.  My God, what was going to happen now.  A runaway over loaded truck? But Margie instantly struggled with those gears like a professional, and to my surprise she managed to get the truck back into compound.
We were totally exhausted by the time we met Mother on the road to Escalante.  Margie got out and went up to her and I could see she was crying.  I started crying, too, when I realized how horribly stressed and strained Margie must have gotten on the summit of that mountain.  It was almost a matter of life or death whether she got the truck back in gear.
Otherwise the brakes might not have held and we could have had a bad wreck any number of ways.  She knew what a close call we had.
Mother drove us back to Salt Lake the next day so we could get on with our studies.
I am sure one of the reasons Margie went on talking to and dating Pole from time to time was because he had worked for Daddy.  She did not have to explain to Pole what Daddy was like.  Pole knew what he was like.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize Grandpa was into pills that early! Wow, that's a revelation!