Sunday, June 01, 2008

No Trumps and No Aces

I was sitting here trying to think of something interesting to blog about; that's right, just sitting here not bothering anybody or plotting to take over the world: just sitting here looking at my screen and my sleeping cat's legs dangling down over the keyboard, and suddenly I started thinking about college.

Not the one where I teach - the one I went to, myself. You know, the only big university in the world? Indiana University, Bloomington? Yes, the Big Red one. The Bobby Knight one.

And as I was sitting here remembering my college days, I realized, with more than just a little bit of horror, that two of my roommates and three of my college boyfriends are. . . . dead now.

Joyce died several years ago of the flu. Four children under the age of eight, and she got the flu, and died before anybody could even comprehend what was happening. Christie, who was one of the kindest people I've ever met, died last year of Lou Gehrig's Disease. I googled her name a few months ago and apparently she donated all of her personal papers to a university in Iowa. Among her papers was a category entitled "Personal Letters." I wonder if any of MY letters now reside in the archives of a college in Iowa. Bruce, who was a health nut and practically lived outdoors, died of cancer. Meid dropped dead of an aneurysm while with a patient. Mike died of AIDS - apparently, everybody "knew" except me. Not that it would have mattered in the least.

In my mind, they're we're all alive and young and hot and laughing and eagerly awaiting whatever life will bring. Sometimes, I guess, life hands us a bad hand, with no trumps and no aces. It's luck. I really wish we could ask life for a re-deal.

When I think of college, I also remember Viking Dinners in the dorm. That's a random dinner wherein nobody is allowed to use silverware. Inevitably, there was soup, and if we were lucky, there was Zebra Pudding. (I wish I knew how to make that; it was awesome. )

Mike's face would be covered with fluffy white stuff and some streaks of chocolate. Christie would have food all over her thick waist-length hair. Joyce would sniff and refuse to participate. Bruce would laugh sarcastically and pretend not to enjoy himself when we all knew he was having more fun than anybody. Meid ate so much I got out of the habit of watching him at dinner, so I don't really remember how he approached Viking Dinners. As for me, I don't remember how I did Viking Dinner, either. I've always been a watcher, not a do-er, far too insecure to go out on a limb in those days, but I hope I walked out of the dining room with a little chocolate in my hair on those nights.

I guess the older we get, the more likely we are to have deceased friends. All of these people were far too young to die; we're supposed to be in our late nineties when that happens! I guess all we can do is appreciate each other while we still have each other, and not let petty things come between us. I've always been glad I wrote to Joyce and forgave her for her part in that , um, let's call it a disagreement about where college boyfriends are supposed to sleep when one has a roommate, "thing," and that she wrote back and took all of the blame.

It was no fun sleeping in the hallway all those nights when I was paying half of the rent for the room. Joyce and I parted company at the end of that year NOT on the best of terms.

Two weeks after I got her letter of apology, she was dead.

So, there we go, and there we go. College gave me far more memories than just these, of course, but tonight, these are what my mind is focusing on.

Let's all be nice to one another, shall we? Far nicer than we even NEED to be.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:59 PM | |


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