TRAVEL BUG TALES: THE LOST YEARS
Something strange happens in my “Family Vacation” scrapbook after 1974. The family vacations continue, but I’m not in any of the pictures, with the exception of a couple of day trips. In 1975, I took a detour. Let’s talk about it.
What Did I Do Instead?
I graduated from Bryan Adams High School in 1973 with great expectations. Going away to Stephen F. was nothing I expected. That’s a story for another day, but when I took the vacation with my family in 1974, I didn’t realize it was the end of a era. It wouldn’t be my last family vacation, but it would be the last vacation I took with my family until 1990. That’s sixteen years!
1975 is easy to explain. My roomie talked me into staying at SFA for the summer as a Summer Orientation Student Assistant. I didn’t make good choices that summer and it didn’t get any better that fall. By the end of the Fall semester I was done with SFA. My poor choices included missing a lot of classes and my GPA was in the dumpster. What happened next?
The Life Detour
While I take responsibility for my bad choices, in part, I also blame the times. The world was changing. I had come to SFA armed with the expectations my mother gave me and those expectations did not equip me for my experience in Nacogdoches. There were good things about my time there. I was a more self confidant person than the somewhat gawky girl who first moved into an SFA dorm. I had a more open mind and was more likely to take chances. I did not have a college degree however and when it comes to poor choices, that tops the charts.
I had been sent to college so I would be able to “get a job.” After five semesters at university I didn’t feel as if any of my courses had gotten me any further towards that goal. Though I started out as a Liberal Arts student, those were a dime a dozen out in the job market and after my first year, my parents wanted me to get serious about my career path. I enjoyed my business courses, but to graduate with a business degree you needed business math and after three tries I knew I wasn’t ever going to pass that course. I made a detour over to the fashion department, but for some reason they thought anyone interested in fashion could sew, which I could not. My real interest was writing and had been from the beginning, but my parents wouldn’t support that career track. It was one thing for me to be a Liberal Arts student my first year, but after that I needed to focus on getting a job.
Now I know I would have been so much better off if I’d just stayed the course and gotten a Liberal Arts degree. Any degree is better than no degree at all. I also know there are all kinds of jobs related to writing. You don’t have to become a Pulitzer Prize reporter or write the next best seller. You can write ad copy, do technical writing, even be a reader for publishing house, but I didn’t know enough about anything to even know those kind of jobs existed. Neither did my parents.
Getting a Job
When I announced I was leaving SFA, I reminded my parents they had sent me there to get a job and I was certain I could get a job without a degree. Besides, since I had no idea what I wanted to do, I didn’t know what to get the degree in. We didn’t discuss the writing thing. The subject was taboo.
I did get a job pretty quickly. By February of 1976 I was working for Sears as a management trainee. You had to work there for a year to be eligible for a vacation. When 1977 rolled around, all my SFA buddies were graduating and several of them were going to the Bahamas to celebrate. Since I’d been working, I had money in the bank. Guess who decided to go with them?
I still have fourteen years to explain, but I think it would be more fun to go to the Bahamas. Come by next week and join me!