Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Odd Year for Heaps of Anniversaries

I just got an email from a friend reminding me of another friend's 25th anniversary.  This got me thinking as my girlfriend (now Mrs. Spew) and I went to the wedding as we moved from the east coast to California for grad school.  Yep, it has been 25 years since I started grad school in San Diego.  So, I will be pondering that move this fall, but also something that happened exactly five years later--leaving San Diego to start my first teaching job.  Yep, I have been teaching for twenty years.  Much has changed, including one of my peers in grad school working to tax pot in Denver.

Sure, the end of the ultimate season reminded me of my age, given how battered and bruised I am, but the realization that I was driving to the west coast in my 1971 Buick Elektra twenty five years ago this week does that even more so (alas, all of my photos of the old car are not digital--I did make an anchor for this land yacht).

What did we learn along the way to California twenty-five years ago?  The Grand Canyon is big but also not as close to the highway as we would have preferred ;).  Kathy's relatives in Amarillo were most sweet (I had not met them before).  Little did we know that we would be seeing them often (once we moved to Lubbock).  Motel 6's and Coca-cola seemed to be sponsors for our trip.  We tried to be strategic and cross the desert in California late at night--our old car had no air conditioning and I worried about the car over-heating.  So, the late night trip seemed like a good idea at the time.  But it was mighty dark, the road had bumps on the side to make you aware if you went too far, and that was our first time experiencing those. 

So, we arrived in San Diego exhausted, stressed, and anxious.  Why anxious?  Because my girlfriend had no job and San Diego was not exactly chockful of publishing industry employment.  Also, we didn't have a place yet so we had to find an apartment quickly.  Our rush to find her a job and us a place probably led to some pretty sub-optimal decisions.  She got great networks but little pay from her job, and we fled our La Jolla studio apartment after six months since it was tiny, expensive and not terribly convenient.  Our move from there to Clairemont proved to be a breeze since my entire cohort showed up for the pizza and beer that promised in exchange for help.  Since we did not have much stuff at all, packing the truck took about thirty minutes.  Unpacking took a bit more time since folks started drinking the beer at the destination.  Little did we know we were moving into a place where there would be crazy people living below us and next to us.  Good times.

I was so clueless at the time about what grad school would be like, what I would eventually study, and how the profession worked.  But it has worked out.  Anyhow, I am just posting this now to warn Spew readers that there will be waves of nostalgia as I look back at these key points in time. 

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