In 1985 we moved into a new apartment.
Griffin cried at the door when we left every morning so we got Mooshie as a kitten, at the same mall pet store where we got Griffin.
We were about to leave to go to J.’s grandparents for the 4th of July holiday 1985, and when I got home I thought that Mooshie had gotten out – there was a black kitten sitting in the grass. Someone had put out a little tin of food for him, but he was clearly a stray. I had to go back out to pick up J. at the train station, and I told her about the kitten. We had to get some groceries, probably provisions for the road trip. J. said we could not leave that kitten outside if he was still there. So when we got home we took Button in with the groceries. J. always had the master bedroom in apartments because she’s allergic to cats, so we bathed Button (fleas!) and put a litter box, food and water in J.’s bathroom and left him locked up while we were gone.
Button kitten. He was a little, um…intense.
I took a few classes at DeKalb, Biology and I don’t remember what else. Then in the Fall of 1985 I started at GSU. Over the course of my degree program I borrowed loans that totaled $10,000 and Mom and Dad sent money that matched that amount. I was also awarded a few grants and worked part-time on campus the whole time.
In photos it’s hard to tell Mooshie and Button apart.
First I worked as a Student Assistant in a department of one of the health sciences majors. Then I found a half-time job and served time in Admissions. Student Assistants could flex their schedules around exams or study time, but I never did that. So I figured if I was working regular hours I might as well get benefits. The department where I worked bemoaned my departure, especially since their new Student Assistant couldn’t do real work (they appreciated my office skills from all my Shit Office Jobs). I told them to open a Half-Time Secretary position and I would return. So they did. They made the typing speed really high to weed out other people (55 wpm and it took me a few tries to hit that number). So I can’t fault organizations when I read job descriptions that are clearly designed for just one person, since I was the recipient of one. I worked there until I graduated.
The old Gremlin died during this time. I had taken Button to the vet. The engine temp read hot and wouldn’t go down, but I didn’t know anything about cars and didn’t know what to do. I left the vet’s and as I was driving around the block through a residential neighborhood there was a loud bang, the car died and thick white smoke poured out from the engine. I pulled the emergency brake, grabbed my purse and Button (he wouldn’t ride in a carrier so he was loose but was sitting right behind the driver’s seat). I ran up to this house where these old women were playing cards and one of them called 911 and another found me a cardboard cat carrier for Button. They let me use their phone (this was way before cell phones) and I called J. at work and two friends drove her out. The fire department put out the engine fire. We had the car towed to our apartment complex and then a junkyard came to get it. J.’s father bought her a new little Ford.
My first year at GSU I took ‘Foundation’ art classes: basic drawing, composition, color, 2D design, 3D design. I got a D in my Drawing II class and tried to call the professor but he had left for the summer. I spent the whole summer drawing. That fall when I tracked him down he dug out his gradebook and my grade was a C, so he had it corrected. He said, “Your drawing was average” and “I hope you didn’t lose any sleep over this!” J. said, “See how you spent your summer?”
I used to take a stack of copy paper to Kinko’s and have it spiral bound and I used that as my sketchbook. I did a lot of writing in my sketchbook, so it was like a diary as well.
I tried to work in my sketchbook. I tried to draw objects around the apartment and also when I was out and about – a girl kneeling at a bus stop fiddling with an earring, a gumball machine in a student lounge. Precursor to The Journaling Project, drawings from everyday life and saving moments.
Bonus Amusing Photo by Me: