Monday, September 17, 2018

How I Got Where I Am - Update

A non-conforming, semi-professional iconoclast.

It took a long time. Most of my life, I desperately wanted to fit in. I was from a working-class family, with a Catholic stay-at-home mom, and a high school dropout (about 2 months of 9th grade) Fundamentalist-raised father.

What we then called a mixed marriage.

So, I often got the feeling that I was different - which, I was. Never quite fitting into a single culture.

In school, unlike most of the kids of my social class, I was a quick learner. For the first few years, I worked hard, and excelled. By fourth grade, my grades were mostly average. I'd learned to back off to fit in.

Despite my efforts, the school found out my potential. I first caught attention of the administration when I wrote a book report that got passed around among the teachers. It was over 6 hand-written pages of a re-telling of a funny incident in the book.

Then, the Iowa scores came in, and I'd scored in the 99th percentile in all areas. My cover was blown.

The next year, I got taken away from my friends, and put with the kids in the highest track. I REALLY didn't fit in with an upper-class crowd. It was a difficult year.

For the next 6 years, I bounced between the Regular and Accelerated tracks. In both, I'd generally under-perform, spending most of my days goofing around, cutting class, and reading - a lot.

I had no particular goals. I knew college was expensive (my father had dropped out after a few years, due to financial difficulties), so I never planned on attending. I was never told that the PSAT was the test that provided access to scholarship opportunities, so I didn't take it - I didn't have the money for the fees.

My guidance counselor was elderly and frankly incompetent (she later miscalculated my accumulated credits, so I ended up 1/8 of a credit short of graduation - had to attend summer school, and missed the big ceremony). By that chance, I avoided going to college with many of my classmates, until, years later, I enrolled in a community college.

In some respects, this was a good thing. By the time I was in college, I had little time for protests and blathering, and focused on graduation.

After school, I again followed the crowd. They voted Democratic, so my first presidential vote was for McGovern.

And, I waited up until 2 am, waiting for the tide to turn in his favor. Boy, was I an optimist!

I continued on that path through the Nixon years, Watergate, Carter (I voted for Anderson), and Reagan/Bush I years. Always, always, believing in the party line.

I first began having some small doubts during the Clinton

UPDATE: I did NOT mean to end on a cliffhanger - it's just that I was busy with storm prep, and, after losing power, could not access any internet.

Quite a refreshing break, actually. We completely lost electrical power for almost a day (fortunately, we have a generator).

I'm partially back (still no home internet), but will finish this over the next few days.


Pascal said...

When you finish, please send out emails. ;)

Linda Fox said...

sure will - the storm interrupted this post.