ART SCHOOL AND AFTER

M o ther

did her best work. in case". true at

to f in d It

a n d e n c o u ra g e wh a t s h e b e lie v e d the p u rp o s e of e a rn in g

to b e my life's a livin g stan d in g o f m y not tha t on e 's "just

wa s t o b e f o r Ma rria g e for

t o a ma n o f me a n s a n d s o c ia l me . S h e c o u ld I hated not c o n c e iv e of Iove

was'her

amb it io n all

marrying

a n d t ru t h f u lly , to

L o t h in k

p ossibiiity. occupation. to

S he w a s rig h t

b e lie v e t h in k

o n e s h o u ld of it

B ut she wa s wro n g t o myse lf ju s t in

a s s imp ly d id n ' t

a stop - gap w or k. So I il1

support

c a s e t h e ma rria g e

was shipped to face

off

to

a rt

school

in

Ric h mo n d , f u n c t io n

V irg in ia , wit h o u t

pr e pared telling

bein g

o n my o wn a n d t o my lif e . I h a d n o f o rma l we re

m o the r

me how to

liv e

Th e r e were ups and dow n s . a ltho u g h g ir ls mother do. had told

mo ra l

b o u n d a rie s t h in g rs R€ , n ic e nor

me t h e re h o we v e r, b re a k in g that

c e rt a in

didn't

This, for

had never t h e ru le s . I be

stopped

wo u ld the shame I felt w as th at people like

My ma in c o n c e rn and I o v ed g u ilt lik e my that abuse and

me a n d atta c h e d .

accepted

witho u t

any conditions my forming would a lack target

I d id n ' t

know then that or that f e e lin g

wo u ld a ffect a "n o thing" life; I that

ne w re la t io n s h ip s n o t h in g of d id I re a l not

attract of

substance b rin g

in t o

self- re s p e c t abus e because

re s p e c t ;

wa s a

for

d id n ' t

know that

e xisted . m i1 d ,

I accepted

what lo v e

a n d a t t e n t io n me .

my g o o d lo o k s shoddy

c onforming of

manner b ro u g h t lovers

I we lc o me d t h e

atte n ti on s

a few

wh o u s e d me a s s u c h .

Un f u lf ilin g

r e la ti on ships wa ited for

of no substa n c e someone to this year inv it e at a rt

a p p e a re d t o b e my 1 o t . me in t o school in L if e t h e ir I I if e . re c e iv e d

I s imp ly

D ur inq

f la t t e rin g

e n co u r agement I was told co n tain ing as tho u gh

from my teac h e r I had great

Cla s s . a f t e r, my p o rt f o lio It was

p ro mis e .

S h o rt ly

the work of almo s t my future

one fuI1

y e a r r^ ra ss t o le n . It

had b e e n t a k e n 1 if e . been

f ro m me . f u l1 to

wa s a s t h o u g h f or t h is

I h a d sabotaged the in cident. I

my whole We had had left

I took t o ld

re s p o n s ib ilit y be a wa re in of

p o ssib ility. I o cke r .

my wo rk

o v e rn ig h t

a n u n lo c k e d

I w as embarrassed occu r . n e r vo u s I never at being told

and a n g ry

a t my s e lf it . I

for f e lt

a llo win g too

t h is

to and

any o n e a b o u t out .

g u ilt y

found

T HA T I CO UL DHA V E B E E N S O S T UP I D!

On e whole year After fa ilu r e . da d lo ved

wasted! wit h a rt school I f e lt lik e a total

my sad experience Mother the had rente d

a h o u s e in he g re w type up

t o wn b e c a u s e s h e k n ew in , and she found a he

neighborhood a simila r

si m i l ar m i gh t her

type

home in

n e ig h b o rh o o d , h a d in so

t h in k in g the

be happier m i nd that

living she could it

th e re .

S h e a lwa y s h a p p ie r

b a c k of stop

ma k e h im d id n ' t

h e wo u ld

d r in kin g . It

Of course the

do any good. in t h is house that a taxi

was during

time

we liv e d

o r a fr iend a n d le a ve

would bring him there

him h o me , d e p o s it

h im o n t h e d o o r-s t e p

and mo t h e r a n d I wo u ld h a v e t o g e t h im in t o him up s t a irs . He wa s a d e a d we ig h t in t h is

the h o u se and carry

co n d iti on. co n scio usness tr em e n s a fte r m o the r h is of

His in

room was rig h t the mid d le of

next the

t o min e . n ig h t ,

He wo u ld and the

re g a i n

d e liriu m we r e so of

would start. His

one n ig h t

he thought h im to

the

" n ig g e rs " d rin k in g

him.

doctor let

h a d a d v is e d

stop

wouldn't

him h a v e a n y mo re . on o n e o c c a s io n in the to next le a v e to

He wa s t o t a lly that h e d ra n k

out

m ind and so frantic in k. His yelling

a b o t t le I to

ro o m wa s n e rv e h o me , b u t le a v e

wra c k in g .

wo u ld

have done anything utterly this

r h a d n o p la c e

g o an d felt rt ar t of

incap a b le time that

o n my o wn . r h a d at one have

was during

t wo o f t h e b o y f rie n d s to v is it them I me . t h in k

school

came out,

separa t e ly , run

Ha d e it h e r r wo u ld

th e m asked me to

a wa y wit h

gone. Th is same year mother wa s in the p ro c e s s of h a v in g two

ho u se s built w he r e we lived ki nd they put

on the River

Ro a d a t t h e o t h e r

e n d o f t h e p ro p e rry t he to h er t he

when r was s ma l1 . up a wall at a t ime .

T h e y we re p re f a b ric a t e d , T h e y we re c e s ig n e d

own specifications. othe r . th e r e . It I guess she

she re n t e d may h a v e lit . t le

one out t h o u g rh t

a n d we mo v e in t o d a d wo u ld t h re e be

h a p p ie r

was a beautiful

h o u s e wit h

b e d ro o ms a n d

two b a ths , al 1 e1 ectric. By this Westche ster,
Cornel 1

time

my brother

h a d e lo p e d

a n d ma rrie d

a g irl

f ro m on the in

New Y ork,

who m h e h a d me t a t a p re p s c h o o l we re liv in g in a re n t e d

campus.

They did

house

Per r ysb urg. be n e fi ts of

Little connubial

I know that

I t o o wa s s o o n t o

re a p t h e

bliss .

I was feeling a jo b

very

guilt y

liv in g

a t h o me a t

a g e 2 2 wit h o u t I I

and no way to a part time

contr ib u t e job

a n y mo n e y t o

t h e h o u s e h o ld . c le rk wh ic h

secu r e d

a s a d e p a rt me n t T h e n I wa s c a lle d d u rin g in t o the my lif e .

s t o re

spa sm o dically d in in g

worked at.

in t o wo rk in t h e ir and that an absence I is of

room as a hostess walked

n o o n h o u rs After d id

w he r e George again o ve r w i th in two years

here

he wa s a g a in .

L it t le

k n o w t h at

the next

week my lif e

wo u ld b e c h a n g e d f o re v e r.

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