In 1994 I was fretting over turning 30 having done nothing with my life.
I put together another portfolio of work. I have no idea what this work was either. I took my slides to show Professor M. I also showed them to Professor R. the Life Drawing professor, who said my work was focused. Then we talked schools. He said all the schools on my list were top-tier art schools and I needed to broaden the list. He said I should find schools with a lot of painting professors, unlike GSU which was down to one painting professor, “And a choice of one is no choice.” I had to decide – waste $155.00 now getting denied or wait? I talked to friends and coworkers and decided to wait. I was eating cereal for dinner and $155.00 was a lot of money. Professor R. also told me, “Just for the hell of it, get a catalog from Memphis College of Art.” He had a friend who taught there and said it was a nice place.
In April of 1994 Dad and M-. came to Atlanta for a visit, and it was actually a pleasant visit. Dad did not get on my case about anything. We did touristy things, like a picnic outside the zoo with champagne, and a trip out to Stone Mountain. Dad wanted seafood and chose a fancy restaurant for dinner so I ran home to change, putting on a skirt. Dad said, “Lisa! You’re wearing a skirt! Give me a hug!” Me wearing a skirt was a rare event.
At Stone Mountain Dad set up the tripod to take our photo. We were sitting on a blanket in the grass. He said they had seen so many sights in Atlanta, “And that includes Lisa!” And he put his arm around me, and kept it there awhile. When they dropped me at home on the last night, I called out, “I love you!’ Dad said, “I love you, too, Sweetheart.” After I closed the door and they drove off I burst into tears.
On my 30th birthday I just went to work, then came home and had some chicken for dinner, watched Seinfeld, then some Twin Peaks tapes (we had the whole series taped off of t.v.), drank a whole bottle of Chateau Elan Spring Blossom wine, and had a T.J. Cinnamon’s roll.
J. moved back from her Law Clerk job with no other job in place, planning to volunteer at the Public Defender’s Office.
I was painting these odd naked women posed in front of street signs. STOP and DO NOT ENTER. Still trying to put my figures into some sort of meaningful context. Or not as the case may be.
In August of 1994 I went up to Indy for Dad’s 70th Birthday. M-. planned a big party and campout at a state park. I arrived first, so Dad took me out to his deer blind, but we saw no deer. That evening after watching a movie Dad was going to get ready for bed, but M-. said, “I have another surprise for you. B.’s plane lands in an hour.” Dad said, “You’re shitting me. You’re kidding.” He started crying and hugged M-. B. and I slept out in the camper at their house.
Dad drove us out to brother K.’s. B. said she decided she was going to stop doing things to please people and stop worrying about disappointing people, so she told K. we did not want to go with him to his Pentecostal church. L. flew to Chicago and picked up sister M. who was already there seeing family and friends. They drove out and we had a big cookout.
M-. was always fussing over Dad’s diet and sending things back in restaurants if they put butter on it. Everything had to be fat free. B. announced that in honor of M-. not being there she and I were making a cheesecake. Well, Dad called and asked if they could crash the party. They both had seconds of the cheesecake.
We all went to the state park campground and met all of M-.’s kids. We rode horses. We celebrated Dad’s birthday. Sister L. said she was glad we all got together for something other than ‘marryin’ and buryin.’