Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
I gave my boss a two-week notice. I told him I was going back to
school. He wrote a really nice letter of recommendation for me. Just
before I left Deadwood, I called up, Terry, CMU’s personnel director,
and told him I was going to plant myself on his couch until I got
hired. I didn’t hear any laugher on the other end of the phone. C.S.
was okay with me going back to school. I guess she knew that’s where I
belonged. Everything was fine up till the time when I left. After I
took my artwork off the walls, words began to fly. It was on that sour
note that I left Deadwood.
When I arrived back in Mt. Pleasant I moved in with my old friend,
Mike. After leaving Arizona, he enrolled as student at CMU on the GI
bill. When I dropped my backpack on his trailer kitchen floor, I
considered myself moved in. “Mi casa es su casa” was his greeting to
me. I was surprised to find him so determined. I guess he had been
bumming around the country long enough. He was following in his
father’s footsteps; only he was going to teach in Elementary School
instead of High School. I was in for another surprise, too. Mike, a Vietnam
Veteran, was President of the campus chapter of the YSA (Young Socialist
Alliance). He and his girlfriend, Val, headed up an organization of university
Mike and I had grown up together. We were best friends, but his newly
acquired political ideology put a distance between us. It almost felt
like he was pushing his beliefs on me. I found his behavior totally
out of character—first, because I felt our friendship was stronger
than politics, and second because I thought he already knew about my
“leftist leanings.” Hell, he even read my Marxist term paper that I wrote back
in ’69. I aced that class on the Soviet Union. I just couldn’t believe I was
being tested. Maybe he needed to prove something to Val. He certainly
didn’t have to prove anything to me. He was, and always would be my
best friend. Things began to settle down after a week or so. After my
visit to the Personnel office, things began to look pretty damn good.
In fact, I was told point blank, “Don’t make waves. Follow the rules.
Be patient and I’ll do what I can to get you hired,” and all that
coming from the guy who once told me I would never find work at CMU.