DECADE FOUR 1973-1983
“Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth…”
The fulsome decade brings two children,
the apex and nadir of my theatrical career,
the whole of my 6-year college teaching career,
and a series of extramarital relationships,
one of which results in a play I spend three decades writing.
Home for the year of Hallie’s birth,
writing technical guides for AMP, Inc, and
acting (Don Q), directing Streetcar
(again, with Sandra as Blanche) at the GLT,
visiting our conservative Republican families,
smoking pot with Moe and Tracy,
hooking up with the Hodnetts.
Summer in bucolic Harvard
writing book and lyrics for a Watergate revue
that opens four days before Nixon resigns.
Fall through spring together in Hull living from hand to mouth;
then Sandra goes home (preggers again) for the summer
while I write, produce, and direct an outdoor drama.
We three, soon to be four,
in a tiny over-a-garage apartment
out on Pleasant Garden Road,
me back at the Barn in Come Blow Your Horn,
which closes the week the boy comes into the world
and leads to the Dantré debacle two months after,
six actors touring three plays around the state,
until I wreck Bus #3 and break my leg.
Out of nowhere, Joel calls
with yet another offer I can’t refuse
(I have no other prospects),
so in early April I leave wife and family again
for the Pine Cone Players of Grand Lake, Colorado.
Six weeks later they fly out to join me,
just as the shit hits the fan. Bye, Joel.
Fall finds me at Limestone College
in Gaffney, SC, thirty miles from home,
a One-Man (plus wife) Drama Department
for a year that (once again) turns into three,
casting my pearls before swine, with two or three exceptions
(one in particular),
while the children grow into little people
and Sandra mothers, also teaches, sews and paints.
Then more shit hits the fan.
I escape to Boston for a crazy summer,
without Sandra and the kids;
then enjoy a wonderful year at SUNY Brockport and
two wasted ones at Salisbury State in Maryland; two summers at home,
at which point I realize:
No terminal degree (neither PhD nor F in my MA), no hope for tenure.
Why three more years of school to learn what I’ve been teaching for ten?
I’m almost forty. Time for a change.
Reunited with the family in Greensboro,
I experience a mid-life crisis
and abandon academia for life in the real world.
The kids are happy at Erwin School (where Sandra volunteers);
we make friends, sing with the UU madrigal ensemble,
get involved with the Greensboro Little Theatre.
If only I could make a living.