Friday, June 26, 2015

The Great Escape?

Just after the calendar rolls over to 1994, a letter to close out the previous year arrives from Lady Darley. Judging what she says about college, it may be a year she's glad to leave behind.
Dear Chris,

How are you? It's been absolutely months since you wrote to me. I had just come back from Greece and was awaiting my examination results if I remember correctly. Now I have long since got my results, started university, and got A's on my first three assignments. I felt that I didn't motivate myself hard enough on my assignments during the first few months which may leave me failing my first semester. I tried very hard on my second lot of assignments, and I hope that I've passed because otherwise I'll have to finish and get a job, which is obviously a big setback.
My first semester at the University of Missouri still ranks as my toughest, as I adjusted to both living away from home and the volume of coursework. My freshman history course, History 20, came with a stack of books. "Historians love to read," a teaching assistant explained. True, but not all of us are aspiring historians; I know I wasn't at the time, making my adventures in living history now all the more ironic. Most of us were taking this course as a waystation on the road to our majors, and we had other classes with other reading. Fortunately, our professor got the hint about a month into the semester and cut the workload.

My composition class which also sucked time with journaling assignments, not the freewheeling freewrites I used to do in high school, but semi-serious analytical pieces. I had a finicky teacher. But somehow, I earned her respect.

I enjoyed psychology, but I couldn't get as creative or exotic with my end-of-term experiment as I would've liked given the demands of the others.

Somehow, at the end of all of this, I aced the first semester -- including the History class. I remember a piece of the soundtrack from Chariots of Fire played through my head as I handed in the blue book with my essay answers to the final. I'm free... I'm free....
How has your Christmas been? Did you get my Christmas card? My Christmas has been quite, as usual but until today when my father went ballistic. He's such a nasty-tempered old man. Do you get on with your father? Mum, me and my sister [Rose] get on really well together. He's just so nasty.
At that time we got on well. Not being around the house for most of the year meant we couldn't get on each other's nerves. Problem solved.
Have you got a girlfriend? I'll tell you something now which I haven't said again to anyone. On Christmas Day, my family and I walked to my Aunty and Uncle's about a mile away. Well anyway my sister was there with her boyfriend [Arnold] and [Susan] was with her's [Sal]. As you've probably gathered, I was jealous. There is this guy I know at college called [David]. He is a really nice person and before I had my accident, I was really doing well at getting know him. But then I had an accident. My foot got run over by a car and I couldn't walk for two weeks, which left me missing the last weeks at University. I'm sure we could have worked something out, but I didn't see him for weeks. I was jealous it was true, I would have loved to have been sat on the settee holding his hand and I'm sure that you have felt the same way too at some time.
I have written before how I felt that way in college about Jessica, but the pain of her past and her inability to deal with it made continuing on with her an unhealthy proposition.
I'm thinking of applying to come and work in a summer school in America over my three months summer break. That's if I'm still at college of course. I've had a list already of the camps that I can choose to go and study on. Apparently the biggest one is near (in between Kansas City and St. Louis). I know that I've only been to one part of America, but I thought it was wonderful. I've already picked up a brochure of a beautiful house with trees like this,
She drew a tiny picture of what appears to be palm trees.  I don't know if she's still talking about Missouri or someplace else.
They almost flow or lap over one another. I've decided that once I've become qualified I'd come over and look for a job. I know that I have too many illusions about what American life is really like. I know when I stayed at [your Raytown friend's] I would have got a good idea, but I just like AMerican that much that I want to go and experience as much of it as I can.

Well, I can't think of that much more to tell you.

Take care, and I home to hear from you soon.

Lots of Love,
[Lady Darley]
The lady wants out -- out of the issues at home, out of the tribulations of university, out of the turmoil with her relationships. It seems America is her answer to so many issues. I can't tell you what I wrote to her in response -- reminding you again, I did not keep copies of my side of the conversation -- but I wish I could've found a way to tell her in love that changing locations, much less countries, doesn't solve everything.

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