It was early June, 1977 and my parents and I were loaded to our small town gills with luggage when we walked into my room at Kinsolving, an all girls’ dorm on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
I was a Freshman and Kinsolving would help provide me with a safe, stable entre into the world of higher education. It was a far cry from the quiet pace (read: doldrums) of the tiny berg I just left.
Kinsolving was (and perhaps, still is) the classic college dormitory. It looked like every setting for every college movie ever made between 1948 and 1964. A place where the cute sorority got pinned, lavaliere’d or engaged to Tom, the campus hunk who Mindy Sue met at the 1958 Senior Spring Hop at Gregory Gym.
Would college produce the same fate for me?
At the time I had dreams of being a broadcaster. Marriage could wait. I had things to do first, namely, I wanted to conquer TV and radio and become a freakin’ media darling. Thirty plus years later, I’m just “freakin'”.
Back to 1977.
My roommate, Amanda Worthan was sitting on her bed as Mater, Pater and I entered the inner sanctum that would provide a respite, no matter how brief, from any perils that might be found within hallowed halls of academic matriculation.
Amanda was a lovely girl. Pretty face. Tallish, medium build and vivid blue eyes that while pretty were, for lack of a better description, indicated a tiny bit of vapidity.
She seemed kind,friendly and outgoing, but you got the idea in the first few minutes of a conversation that for her, college was going to provide more a more more social event than an academic one. She made it clear right off that bat that she was on a manhunt pursuing her M-R-S. A degree be damned.
And that was perfectly fine for Amanda. But not for me. Now, I’m no Marilyn Vos Savant by any stretch, but I’ve been given enough smarts to fake it. Amanda wasn’t mentally endowed and in spite of our differences and degrees of ambition, we got along quite well. She really was as sweet as the day is long. A very kind woman. She helped make my Freshman experience at college a good one. I’ll always thank her for that.
One day, we went shopping on The Drag, a bohemian little street of shops, the University Co-op, bookstores, freaky boutiques and health food stores. She wanted to stop at a record shop to by an album she wanted.
We arrived at the store and she went her way and I went mine. I was really into The Baby’s at the time and was perusing a few of their albums when an exasperated Amanda walked up to me with furrowed brow.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I can’t find that album anywhere!!”
“Are you looking in the rock and roll section?”
“Yeah and I’ve looked through the “O’s about a hundred times!”
“Maybe I can help. Who’s the band?”
” Oreo Speedwagon???”
There’s one more Amanda Worthan story I simply have to convey.
Dorm life back in the late 70’s was kind of square. We decided to move in to an apartment after the Spring semester. I was working as a Bridal Consultant for an Austin department store and one Saturday night as I was preparing to leave work, she called and asked what I was doing. I had no plans, I fully intended to come straight home.
She told me that she was glad; she had no plans either and thought we could have a few bottles of wine while putting together this “killer jigsaw” puzzle she just bought. I told her it sounded like fun, and she said it probably would be if she could figure out how to get the damn thing started. She said she couldn’t make sense of the pieces.
They all looked alike.
I reminded her that’s the nature of jigsaw puzzles. I then asked her about the puzzle’s theme. She told me that as best she could tell, it had something to do with nature and that the front of the box indicated that a tiger would be a prominent image.
I drove home, looking forward to a nice, quiet Saturday night for a change. A few glasses of wine would provide welcome relief from the hassles of the day.
I walked through the front door and there was Amanda, sitting on the floor beside the coffee table with the contents of the puzzle box spread across the varnished surface.
I took one look at the puzzle pieces; one look at the box–yes, the tiger was clearly visible on the front–then, I quietly went into kitchen to pour myself one extremely large glass of wine….and to ponder what I’d just seen. I shook my head, took a sip of wine, stifled a laugh then returned to the living room with glass in hand.
“Hey, where’s my vino? I don’t get any?”
I answered, “No Amanda, not yet. I’ll pour you some wine the minute you get all the Frosted Flakes back in the box.”