November 5, 1979 –
Three more months have passed since I wrote the last sentence. (So, much for keeping up with the football team.) The football team is 3 –4, with the homecoming game against Clallam Bay coming up this Friday. The Warriors finished a very successful season. But, more on this later, let me attempt to tackle my list.
1) My graduation –
As I stated above, commencement was on Saturday, May 26, 1979. Mom, Dad, Lynn, Dale & Mel were due in Tacoma on the 25th, but they didn’t specify a time. So, all day Friday I worried about them getting into town. I was worried about my grade in governmental accounting. I had taken this course in Winterim and took an incomplete when it came time for grades. I attended class on the first day and expected to be able to go to the bookstore afterward to buy a textbook. Unfortunately, the course was overbooked, and they did not have any more books to sell. Because of time, we were going on a chapter a day schedule. After a week without text, I was 4 chapters behind after a week. The following week I came home to attend Donny Parker’s funeral. I talked to my Prof. about this, and he told me there would be no problem. When I returned for my third week of classes, I was 8 chapters behind. My Prof. told me to come to class and listen to the discussions. They would go through problems, and I’d sit and write down answers. On that Friday I took the two quizzes that I had missed earlier. I did very poorly on both. Finally, I decided that the only way I’d catch up was to stay at home and read and do the problems.
After 4 days of working 12 — 16 hours of accounting, I was still 5 chapters behind. I went to see my professor on Thursday, the day before the final. When I walked in his office, he said, “What’d you do? Give up the ghost?” I laid out my work and said no, but that I still didn’t complete all the work. We then set up a schedule in spring. It was his idea I take an incomplete, I didn’t even have to ask for it.
We had a hard time matching schedules, but I finally finished the course a week before the Spring term ended. He told me to come in and find out what my grade was. I never did get to see him, so on Friday, I was worried about passing the class with better than a C grade. If I didn’t, I could not graduate. I wouldn’t really find out until Saturday when I checked in and got my number for my place in line. That was my worry when I showed up at Geinrich’s office to try to find out my grade for the last time. He wasn’t in, so I walked to the Biology department in hopes of seeing Mrs. Solie. She was in so I talked with her for about an hour. I then went to rehearsal.
At rehearsal, I saw many people I’d seen over the past 4 years. I really had not made good friends with anyone, so I was just about alone in that crowd. This ended in 20 minutes, and I went to my trailer and waited.
My family finally showed up, and we all went to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. It was a silly dinner, especially with the girls picking on each other. It was the first time in a long time that we had all been together like that.
After dinner, we went to the to the Kilworth Chapel to listen to Antonia Handler Chayes give the commencement address. We arrived early and could not tell whether or not people were coming or going. Dale was worried that we had missed it entirely. To kill time we took a tour of the campus. By the time we got back we still had fifteen minutes. This time though other people had been seated, so no one felt funny about going in and sitting down. Lynn made an interesting comment on peoples attire. The students were casually dressed, while their guest, usually their family were all dressed up.
At the time Ms. Chayes was the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force. She had also served in some capacity with the Kennedy Administration. Most of her talk was along the theme of the Days of Camelot, with hardly mention at all of the present Administration. I, being the Kennedy fan that I have really enjoyed the talk. I don’t think I can say the same for the rest of the family. She even quoted some lines from the song “Eve of Destruction.”
After she finished, we walked outside to find that the rear driver’s side tire was flat. We all went back to the Motel after the slight delay. Dale and Lynn went next door for a couple of drinks. Mel and I went to see Walk Proud with Robby Benson. Mom and Dad stayed at the Motel.
I was up bright and early on Saturday morning. We trooped off across the street and ate breakfast at Denny’s. Everyone then took off shopping, Dad taking his flat to Firestone to be fixed. I opened my presents before everyone took off. I got a really nice camera, a Fujica, while everyone left I read about and played with my camera.
It was raining outside when I first woke. This was unfortunate since the Commencement was to take place outdoors. It was also blowing to beat the dickens. It stopped raining before the festivities began, but the wind continued at a steady pace all day long, requiring graduates to hold on to their caps or lose them.
I started heading for the University at 12 noon. I wanted to get my number for my position in line, but indeed to find out if I was going to graduate at all. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when my name was on the list and I had a number. When my grades finally came in the mail, I almost laughed out loud. The mark I received in Governmental Accounting was a B-. This was the last grade that I ever received in an accounting class. I was worried about just passing the course. (As I type this almost 19 years later, I can tell you that I still have a recurring dream, a nightmare about this situation.)
After getting my number, I still had an hour before the ceremonies began. Lots of people were walking around with wine glasses and were toasting each other. More beer flowed than any other beverage, though no one had any problems making the long walk between Jones and Thompson Hall to the football field. While making this trek, many, many caps were blown away. It must have been a comical sight to see 600 graduated trying to hold their caps on and their gowns down. Finally, those who were smart just took their caps off and held them.
As we walked by the grandstand, all eyes were looking up searching for family and friends. It didn’t take long for me to find my family, especially after hearing Uncle Gene yelling my name at me. I waved at everybody as I went to sit down.
The first part of the program was reserved for those receiving honorary degrees. There were 3 or 4 of these, and each was accompanied by a speech of introduction and one of thank you. Those receiving Master degrees came next, and us BA, BS peons, brought up the rear. There were more of us than anyone else, and we were the most enthusiastic.
The whole program lasted about 2 hours. The reading of name after name became monotonous, but when my name was finally read off, the wait indeed seemed to be worthwhile. It did seem to be such a little award after a long 4 years of work and study. My roommate ended up receiving a dual degree, so much for him not being serious. He also yelled and applauded loudly when my name was called. After it was all over it was hugs all around. I had on the most prominent, silliest grin painted on my face. It just didn’t seem possible that I had finished my college years and had earned my degree, a BA in Business Administration. I was glad it was over, but I know I missed a lot of what college was all about. It should have been a lot more fun, I should have made a lot more friends. I kept to myself instead and talked myself into being alone and ultimately into being lonely. (It had a lot to do with the four year time period, and all the deaths that had occurred during those four years. I justified not having any friend in order not to have to say goodbye to them when it ended. Looking back at it now, that was just plain dumb.)
When all the festivities ended, we went back to the trailer. We ate at Arby’s, and when we finished, Mom, Mel, Lynn, and Dale took off in the Maverick for home, while Dad and I hooked up the trailer and headed for the Edmonds – Pt. Townsend ferry. (Note, the Hood’s Canal bridge was still out of use at this time.) In Edmonds, we met all the track teams on their way back from the State track meet. We talked to Moose a bit and the coach from Clallam. We found out that Dawn Waggoner had set a State record in a preliminary heat, but had hit a hurdle and fell in the finals. What a disappointment. We talked with Jo Anne Willard on the ferry, Kevin Kozak, her son, took eighth place in the hurdles. We pulled in at home at about 5:30 AM in the morning, Sunday, May 27th. College was finally behind me forever.