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Essentials of Memoir Writing Songs From My Childhood

lesson 1 , Essentials of Memoir Writing , homework written by Evelyn I Ferguson

Songs From My Childhood

This shiny afternoon I visited a store in the town centre. When I passed the book section and stopped for a while before the shelves the a well-known song reversed me back in my childhood. I love this song. I felt  weight in my heart and sorrow about this day.

I remembered this  cold morning in my earlier years. I have just awaked and I was still in my bed at The Hall when I heard the voice of my governess:

‘The bell on the big gate is ringing. I will go and see who is. Stay safe locked inside and don’t open to anyone until I return. If it is someone uninvited I will not unlock the big gate. Stay here!’ she said and walked out. My governess set of for the big gate to see who is coming so early in the morning

I stood up and started slowly to prepare for the day and still felt upset having a presentiment of the bad day. I just finished the prepare and I heard her warning voice:

‘Evy, don’t come, don’t come anymore. Stay there! Lock yourself and stay safe.’

She was then a young woman with brown hair and lively brown eyes and looked  well-build in her dress.

I was living then in the big beautiful site which we call in the family The Hall. From time to time, I myself, as a part of our big family then, have visited our relatives who were settled permanently in this site. The site was recognized as a work of art after they refurbished, restored, reconstructed, fortified and widened it. The superior members of our family added to the main construction one separated part as a separated building. The main part is beautified by plastic arts and ornaments from the bottom to his top which represent persons and moments from the British history and is really impressive. It is designed, built and reconstructed by my grand-grand-father, grand-grand-mother, children, grandchildren, and some other close relatives, more than one hundred persons. Each of them occupied a separate room. The smaller construction is designed and built by my grandfather and the members of his family then, in the time of the carried work. My grandfather was the Chief in this town after his work in London and as a banker. The site is constructed with more glasses in the external design. From the street the site is accessed by a stairway of 7 steps and at the inner part is an created internal yard which used to be a pictorial four season garden. It is situated in the town centre near the central square.

At first, my room was on the first floor but later some space was pre-arranged especially for me and then my room was re-arranged on the second floor. Ignoring the warning message of my governess I passed the corridor, stepped down on the internal stairs and soon arrived not far

from the big gate which usually we lock after the sunrise and unlock in the morning, but not every day, for security reasons. Then I noticed some people who violated the gate and with the tools which they held in their hands tried to broke the lock and the padlock. Some time I stayed there watching them, shocked from that what was happening before my view from their robust voices and from the strong noise from the hits. I saw my governess trying to persuade them to stop the violation. They pushed and a baldhead man hit her. She turned to me and said:

‘Evi, why you are coming here. They could hurt you. Go back and stay safe!’ .

One of the attackers tied her hands and they removed her in a van. One other man of them looked at me and told me:

‘Oh, you are here again. You are the same child from yesterday. We defeated your mother yesterday and if you do not listen what we are saying we will defeat you as well on the same way’

Behind me I heard the voice of Suzannah:

‘Don’t go outside. Now you are alone and you need to listen to us. You are now an orphan. Go and rest in your place.’ She looked around 30 years of age, with long curly fair hair, a little taller than average height. The tightened jeans and tensed blouse which Suzannah wore this day brought into relief her firm figure.

‘No, said the bald man with the tool on his hand, you will not stay here anymore. This place is for us already. If you want to stay alive, you need to go to live somewhere else.’.

Next to him arrived Margi, and started to walk around dressed with sport trousers in kaki colour and dark green shirt. She wore not very short brown straight hair. Then, Suzannah turned to me and said:

‘Don’t listen to him, Evelyn. Go and rest’ she pointed to the door for my wing of the place.

I felt depressed and I did not say anything. It’s started to rain. Then I returned in my room trying to realise what exactly has happened and to fix the problem but I was only a small child. There was not painkiller for the melancholy and the loneliness. The only option was to adapt to it. It is rained all the day. Above the wings of the site the caps was wet from the rain.

Later Margi and Suzannah appeared on the frame of my door. Margi said:

‘What is going on here with you, Evelyn?’ She was

 Suzannah stepped inside my room and said to me:

‘Tomorrow you have to leave this place because the bad people will come and if they find you, the things will go from bad to worse. We can place you in an orphanage, what do you suggest?’ She glanced at my face with her glowing brown eyes expecting my answer.

 Do you listen to me what I am saying’?’ emphasized Margi coming closely to me:

‘Orphanage? That is the right place for you now. Here it is not anybody to look after you now. Your mum paid us a fee to look after you. It is expensive to have carers on your disposition. If you find money, we can arrange something for you. But for this we will talk later. Are you coming for dinner now?’ On her oval face I noticed her brown eyes watching at me. She still wore her khaki trousers and dark green shirt. Margi stated:

‘Evelyn, despite everything you need to eat. We still could be your carers if you find money to pay.’

‘Margi, she cannot stay here anymore, isn’t it. She should go anywhere. Zuzannah turned her eyes to me:

‘Do you know your old address, but we cannot remove you to live at your home address now because your mu passed away yesterday and if someone find you there you could be hurt as well, Evi? You cannot stay here. Do you have any idea where to remove you, on which address?’

Suzannah, tomorrow we can ask your governess if we see her’, said Margi.

‘Oh, yes, of course,’ agreed Suzannah. ’But where she is now?’.

‘At the basement.’ answered Margi and added: ’I will speak tomorrow with him to let her go’.

I felt confused and hurt emotionally.

Suddenly the melody of a beautiful song sounded in the air. The strong figure of the bald man dressed in an expensive gabardine suit appeared on the doorstep. He said to them confidently:

‘Oh, I wondered where you disappeared. You arrived to supervise the small landlady. Then, he turned to me and said:

‘I am Aleksander,’ and stretched out his hand to me trying to reach my hand. ’Now you are our landlady and we are inviting you to a dinner. Later we organize an important event but for that we will talk on the table between the hors d’oeuvres on a glass of wine. But you are not a drinker. Then, the bald man said to Margi and Suzannah: ‘Go before me ladies!’ and notify with his hand the opened door, ‘ I am after you.’

We set for the dinner where a little later I met again, for the first time after yesterday Joshua, my first fiancé, and Michael, my closest relative. Joshua possessed bright blue and wore his blond hair long. Michael wore his fair curly hair to his shoulder. He had striking blue eyes as well and both of them were a little taller than me. A nice music sound was inviting us for the upcoming dinner.

                                                                END

                                                     of  chapter one

Author: Evelyn I Ferguson    

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Lesson 2, Focusing my memoir,

EXERCISE 1:

Go back to your list of 10 topics from Lesson 1.  Under each topic that you wrote down, write at least 3 things related to that topic that a memoir might include.

1) My childhood

visited places

              involved people

              feelings – surprises, upseting  

2) A trip I took

             the hotel

             the local glories

             the town and his coffee shops

3) a sport or game that is important to me is a swimming

     My first swimming at the see

      Practicing swimming at the course of the years

      The last time when I swam

4) a movie that changed your life is ‘The Hair’

    The actors and the actresses

    The storyline

    The impact of this movie

5) a place where I lived is the house at Kingsley road

    the house

    the garden

    the area, close to the park

6) a change in my economic situation

  My work at the course of my whole career

  The payment in return

  alternative options

7) my career

My first job in life

My first job as a part of my career and the work positions during my career

My most recent job

8) My first fiancé

the first meeting

our relationship

the last meeting

9) a place that was special to me is a one summer-house in the park

The surrounding area

My visiting of that place

The person with who I visited the place

10) a particular job is accountancy

The sense of the accountancy for the life of the company

The colleagues

The work

EXERCISE 3:

Which topic did you choose to write about first? 

I chose to write about my youth.

Which topic did you automatically focus more attention on?

I focused my attention on my first fiancé Kurt.

Which topic did you generate the most ideas about?

The most ideas about was generated by the topics for my career and my work

Which topic do you feel the most attracted to? 

I am feeling most attracted to the topic for my first fiancé.

Which one interests you the most?

The most interests me the topics for my home and places where I was living at the course of the years.

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Lesson 2, My First Fiance

EXERCISE 2:

As fast as you can, write more things that could go into a memoir related to any of your 3 topics.   

OPTIONAL EXERCISE:

Write about a conversation that had an impact on your life.  Show the scene where the conversation happened, and try to reconstruct parts of the dialogue word-for-word on the page so that readers can “hear” it first-hand.

My First Fiance

‘Are you serious, Evelyn,’ Kurt glanced at my face with his beautiful blue eyes and grinned woefully. He was average height and his handsome face was surrounded with naturally blond hair. We talked at the summer-house in the park where we had spoken the last time we met before his departure.

‘Yes, I am,’ I felt happy that we are seeing each other and that we have a chat. I haven’t seen him for a long and I miss him.

‘The idea is very good, is really reasonable and I think that the sales of these products, including retailing and wholesale would bring high business profit,’ He explained to me and continued to watch me with his intelligent face and in this moment I realized that he was and still is the only man that is important to me.

,The idea is really pretty good Joshua, but on the whole is not reasonable,’ I noted as I became aware that my words could hurt him because I knew that he is very susceptible.

‘Call me Kurt. My name is Kurt because I chose it for my career. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who I am. My father chose my name on my birth to be Joshua, because his name is Joshua, and to call me Josh, but I prefer to be name Kurt, can you remember this important thing, Evelyn, he smiled kindly to me, ‘On the same way I am calling you Evelyn, but no Evie, like your governess. When you hate me in the future you can call me Jo in our future together.

I agreed watching at him and hoping for our future together

‘Why you think that my idea is unreasonable? I think that it is reasonable enough,’ He moved his glance, stood up and started to walk around slowly. His athletic figure hinted for his professional occupation more than he wanted

‘Because the produce of these items is limited and sometimes restricted by law as they are high technological class,’ I answered to Kurt.

‘Yes, I know,’ he said, ‘but that is not an obstacle. I don’t want all my life to remain a casual serviceman. It would be appropriate to find my business success soon, apart from my art career. As soon as it is possible, because, life is passing so fast that I don’t know if I will manage to do that what it should be,’ He stared wistfully in my face and continued to walk around the arbour. Then he stop and took out from the sleeve of his good quality jacket a flower, one red typed beautifully rose and handed it to me kindly.

I became emotional in my heart and couldn’t tell anything, and just slightly smiled. We were staring at each other. He continued to talk:

‘I want to give to my future wife and my family, that what they deserve, then he took my hand in his hands. I felt really surprised and really happy more than once.                                                     We were engaged before a few years. For a while or seriously. I didn’t know until this day. Then many things have happened in general and he was suspended from the city where I was living then and departed for another destination on a military service. Because of complicated circumstances I got married but on condition that the marriage will be only temporary and that after a separation I will partner with another man, expecting my engagement with Kurt.

This day I was seeing Kurt for the first time after his removal. I wished with all my heart this relationship to prolong in her natural way, but it didn’t. He arrived the previous day and gave me a ring to see me and talk with me and noted that he brought some documents.

I knew Kurt from my childhood when we were living in one household as we were relatives. At the dinner at The Hall in my childhood, before being removed from there after the death of my real parents, he stayed close to my chair. At the dinner he told me:

‘When I become a big man I would like to marry you, Evelyn,’ and then we decided to get engaged, but the next day I was removed from The Hall and I did not know how the things was going on in his life. Later, just before my graduation at the High school, in 11th class Kurt arrived to see me. He told me that he chose the city where I was living for a destination for his military service. Then he said to me:

‘Evelyn, did you remember that we got engaged at the dinner at the Hall before your departure from there? I wondered where you disappeared soon after our engagement,’.

Soon we got engaged unofficially, just between Kurt and me. But he was suspended and he was sent administratively to another place for his service.

I was set in possession of a range of companies, most of them were only registrations and patents rights. Before my graduation me and some relatives started to re-found some of the companies in order to operate profitable businesses, and to provide employment for some British people, including relatives and associated people. In that connection soon after leaving school I became co-manager and director in some companies because I was occupied with a range of activities to be set in motion these companies and to be operated profitably in cooperation with my relatives and their colleagues. For that reason I started to study in the university Economy, accountancy, investments and business.                                                                                               In that relation I was in co-ownership for one company with Kurt and his relatives which Kurt wanted to start-up and to manage it. We were of different opinions exactly for that company, because to function effectively it is necessary to produce a large quantity of items , which the law imposes limitation as these appliances provide possibilities which are or should be restricted. But that is after certain quantities for which are not applied restrictions and our conversation was in that connection.

For a while we remained in silence. One butterfly landed on his shoulder. Kurt smiled and noted:

‘There in my town at the offices are a lot of women who want to spoil you, me and our life. I don’t want this to happen. For that reason, Evelyn, me and you need to set in motion and to operate a serious business, to make a profit and to show them that is the right way, at a capitalistic economy,’.

I listened carefully to his words and agreed in my heart. Kurt stayed in front of me and continued to talk, looking at my face:

‘ Evelyn, you are one of the directors in the holding and I need your sign on some documents in order to become possible to start the necessary activities for organizing the company. When you arrive there, in Grange Park, you will just step inside and start to control the expenses, so that to keep on profit,’.

,That is very good proposition for me Kurt, but without an accountant, and in further, a very good accountant this project will not come to profit, never,’. I told Kurt as I wanted to prevent losses and wasting of money.

‘I know very well that, Evelyn, answered to me Kurt. ‘I will employ an accountant, not only one, but temporary, until you arrive there, in Grange Park,’.

We continued to talk about and on the end of the business conversation I signed the necessary important documents. I bought one of his companies in further, one agency associated with the other industrial companies in order to initiate a business partnership with Kurt. He offered to bring me every quarter reports and statements for controlling the business of the newly started up industrial company and the agency separately itself.

After each of us signed the contracts and the documents Kurt said to me:

‘Next quarter, for Christmas, I will come to bring you the reports for the agency and for the company and your bank statements. Is that OK for you, Evelyn?’

‘Yes, Kurt, it is OK. Are you certain that you will come again here in Christmas?’ I asked sensed.

‘Oh, not here in the summer-house, I will come to the office in the central city. Are you worried for something, Evelyn?’ he asked me kindly.

‘No,’ I said, but I was worried for many things, mostly for him. I knew that he was living in danger all the time. We stayed face to face and enjoyed our meeting. For short. The sun stayed high above us on the blue sky but the light breeze make us to feel cold. He wore a short sleeve shirt and good quality trousers. His skin on the forearm went slightly goosy.

‘Would you like to go round, because here it is getting cold,’ I offered kindly to Kurt.  

‘Don’t worry for me, Evelyn, he said. I am a man. In further, I am a serviceman. I am not allowed to feel uncomfortably, he smiled. He kissed me and then he said:

’ You are not anymore my fiancée, he stopped for a while, smiled a little and added glancing at my eyes, You are now my wife Evelyn, already, emphasised Kurt and embraced me. I couldn’t answer anything and just felt very sensible, I was touched in my heart.

Suddenly his mobile phone rang repeatedly. He turned it of and said:

‘I don’t wanna go. I don’t want to finalise this event,’ said Kurt holding my hand.

‘Our date,’ I asked.

‘Evelyn, this is not a date. For me this is an event, a business meeting. Even more, an important event, personally about me. If I come after three months, I will continue to arrive every three months to present you in person reports, bank statements, balance sheets and other documents and this is my case and my chance in life,’. He paused for short and continued:

‘But if I don’t  arrive before Christmas, Evelyn, that means that everything  has finished. And don’t forget, that I love you. I want you to be my wife in this life, for all my life,’. Then Kurt stood up, embraced me with his hands and kissed me once more. Than he took my hand and we set to go over in the park. On our way round Kurt said:

‘Never give up, Evelyn. Don’t stop believe in yourself. This is our time,’.

That was the last time when I saw him in person on a date and I will never forget about this part of my life then.

                                                           END     

Author:

Evelyn I Ferguson

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What’s a song that brings back memories for you exercise 1.

My first attempt at writing anything so apologies…

The room is light and airy and the windows are wide open, the breeze of the coast blows into the classroom and the smell of seaweed wafts in with it.

Miss Kitwood with her long spindly fingers is showing us all how to gather up the material tread by thread to make the front of the smocked baby dress we will be making for our final year piece- the intricate smocking will follow later. 

Music drifts in the window on the summer breeze closely behind the smell of the sea – the Italian lads from the Grand hotel opposite are playing football on the patch of grass that divides the sea from the road and the sound of 10cc – ‘I’m not in love’ makes my mind wander away from sewing. What shall I do – who shall I tell – an overwhelming sense of panic and denial rushes though my mind.

My mum will be coming down at the weekend to see me and are bound to ask questions – and try to get answers but nothing will be said – it’s easier to deny the existence of the little person growing inside me – and if I deny it exists it will go away surely?

I had tried to say something the last time she came but had managed to wear a baggy jumper and hide the small swelling in my tummy – Its 1974 and to be pregnant in these times – with no partner no home and no future didn’t bear thinking about .

Back in the room the sound of laughter and “ciao bella “ comes from outside the lads had finish football and had seen the girls from the kitchen windows below and were shouting to draw attention to them – as if they needed any help – they were all good looking and we were all stuck in classrooms with only our imagination!

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Music-based memoir:

It’s after-lunch recess, 1972, fourth grade, the year we all got yoyos. You could bring your yoyo to school but not take out during class, and even at recess you could only use it on a designated section of the playground, a rough yellow square some teacher has chalked onto the blacktop to keep yoyo-fixated children from bashing their heads on tetherballs or swings. This is also the year we all got transistor radios, brightly-colored plastic ones that toggle from AM to FM and suck AAA batteries dry in a single afternoon.

On this particular day, Bruce Craven has propped his transistor up against his lunchbox while he and I and our classmates Tom and Heidi yoyo within the safety of the yellow chalk square. The Archies are singing“Sugar, Sugar” while I walk-the-dog and sleeper the clunky off-brand yoyo my dad got free with a fill-up at Arco. Bruce and Tom and Heidi all have Duncans, the expensive kind. This will become a theme throughout my childhood – I have shitty offbrand versions of the nicer things my classmates have – but that’s not what this story is about, so let’s not go there.

Bruce and Tom are both lanky and athletic, or at least they will be. As fourth graders they are just learning to use their bodies to compete with other boys. Before yoyos were a thing, Bruce and Tom played basketball at recess, as they will do again when yoyos and even recess are no longer things. And while Heidi and I are also athletic and even competitive in our own way, I am noticing that boys compete differently than girls do. Today, I notice that although Heidi and Tom and Bruce are all far better yoyo-ers than I am, Bruce is the best of the three, and while Heidi and I are trying to get better by copying what Bruce is doing, Tom’s eyes narrow and darken when Bruce executes a hard move well.

To our left, at a safe distance from the yoyo square, a gang of sixth-grade boys is playing kickball, or whatever you call it when the point is to kick the ball as far as you can and make your friends run to get it. It’s a game that seems to be fun if you’re the kicker but loses appeal quickly if you’re not. So when the song on Bruce’s radio changes, the non-kicking boys are quick to invent a new game to fit the song.

The new song is about being dizzy: “I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning/Like a whirlpool it never ends/And it’s you, girl, making me spin/I’m so dizzy …” One of the sixth-grade boys, a kid with freckles and jug ears, dances to the tinny music while spinning around in circles to make himself dizzy. The game begins when another boy suddenly grabs the spinning freckled boy around the middle, Heimlich-style, knocking the wind out of him. The other boys all laugh and cheer as the freckled boy crumples, panting, to his knees. Suddenly all the sixth-grade boys are spinning and shouting about whose turn it is to be Heimlich-ed next.

The sixth-grade boys are loud and their new game looks fun, so Bruce and Tom and Heidi and I pocket our yoyos and leave the yellow-chalked yoyo area to give this new spinning game a try.

Heidi and I spin slowly, to see how it feels. But as the dizzy songs speeds up, Bruce shoots Tom a watch this look and begins to spin hard and fast.. Tom stands still, watching, his arms folded, his eyes very narrow and very dark. Bruce’s head is titled up and he’s laughing as he spins. His Chuck Taylors slap the ground as he turns, and he looks like a whirling Dervish, or would if I’d known in the fourth grade what a whirling Dervish was.
When Bruce starts to tire and begins to slow, Tom suddenly charges him, locks both arms around his stomach, and pulls in hard. Unlike the freckled sixth-grade boy, though, Bruce doesn’t crumple hilariously to his knees, but instead topples straight forward, slamming face-first into the pavement like a downed tree. Once down, he doesn’t get up, doesn’t move or make a sound. Blood oozes out into a pool around his planted face.

Tom and Heidi and the sixth-grade boys freeze. Nobody knows what to do.

Somehow, I do not freeze, and I do know what to do. I race to the office to get the school nurse, Mrs. Weinman, whose youngest son Carl is in our class and plays basketball with Bruce and Tom. I’m sure that Mrs. Weinman, who has four older sons, knows about the things boys do when their eyes get narrow and dark.

I tell her we were playing Dizzy, Tom hurt Bruce, and Bruce fell.

Mrs. Weinman grabs her first-aid kit and runs faster than I can back to where Bruce lies. Kneeling, she turns him over gently and cradles his head in her lap. Bruce’s nose is caved in and bleeding and there are pieces of his teeth stuck in the blacktop, but he’s breathing. He moans softly as Mrs. Weinman presses gauze pads to his broken lip and nose.

Mrs. Weinman looks Tom in the eye and says, firmly, “Never again.”

Forty years later, Bruce is fine, a handsome man with no visible scars. He and Tom remain friends; if there was an again, I was not privy to it.

But I am scarred, musically speaking. I can’t hear either “Sugar, Sugar” or “Dizzy” without flashing back to a bloody playground and the acrid stench of testosterone.

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A Trip I Took

The first time I ever went to Williamsburg, VA was at the age of 20. It was a band trip with the Union City Elks Fife and Drum Corp. that I belonged to. It was a competition and muster with mostly colonial and other bands from around the nation. In addition to the competition, it was also a celebration of our country’s 200 year anniversary.

            The first day we got there, we participated in a parade down the Duke of Gloucester Street ending up on the grounds of the Armory where we had to stand at attention and be judged. I remember it being so hot and seeing several people passing out in the heat.  Our instructor and band parents kept coming around giving us water to stay hydrated and make sure we were okay.

            There was a particular band that did something that I thought was quite entertaining and a lot of fun.  As we all stood around watching everyone playing their songs after the competition was completed, someone in the crowd shouted something. (I don’t remember what) and a group dressed in civil war uniforms came running out of the crowd from different directions and gathered in the center of the crown and began playing the music from the old TV show F Troop. It was really fun and exciting to watch.

            After the competition and parades were over, we were allowed to explore the sites. We did a tour of the Governor’s Palace, which was very impressive. They even took us down to the kitchen and showed us how the food was prepared and brought to the main hall for the many extravagant dances, parties, and celebrations that were held at the palace. It was very interesting.

            We explored all the historical buildings and participated with the interpreters as they told the story of the person they were portraying. It truly felt like we were back in the 18th century. I learned a lot on that trip and it really put me on the path of enjoying history as I had never done in school.

            At the end of our weekend trip, we were taken to the banks of the Potomac River opposite the Lincoln (or Jefferson) memorial (Can’t remember which) where they had a wonderful show with movies of historical events and a laser light show, complete with colonial-era music and we even got to see the Old Guard. This is the group that was started as Marines back in the days of George Washington and today is still active, especially in National Ceremonies. They are the official guard to the president and partake in many activities around the country dressed in period costume of the revolutionary wartime. They are very precision-oriented and play authentic fife and drum music that was played during the Revolutionary Era. They are truly a joy to watch. 

            This trip had made me into a history buff.

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Lesson One – remembering the scenario around listening to a piece of music

Saturday morning, Phoebe Snow’s Poetry Man playing on a turntable as I sing along and clean the NYC apartment I still dream about almost 50 years later. A rent subsidised tenement in the upper east side, so old the wooden floors tilted downward. A bathtub in the kitchen. A neighbor I never saw whose maniacal laugh could often be heard in the hallway. A graceful mantle in the parlor; my grass green colored rug, my books, and my plants. The satisfaction I felt after everything was put in order.

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Half Sheets scene

The dormitory was an old business building. The hallway lights always seemed dim. The washers and dryers were running loudly as he came walking down the stairs from the second floor. I was carrying several books, my purse and backpack. I had been studying in the library. He kept repeating my name as he walked down the concrete steps. He was carrying a bottle of liquor and was consistently saying my name. He had just received word that I achieved a higher test score on an exam, and he was done with me.

The R.A. came out of her room and told me to lock the door as I entered mine. He told the R.A. to get away from my door. He told the R.A. he was going to handle this his way. He asked the R.A. if she was going to be part of the lynch mob. The R.A. said no and reminded him that he was drunk. The R.A. told him to go back to his room and sleep it off. He refused and rammed his body against my door. I reached for my pepper spray and aimed it at the door. The R.A. called for a couple of others to help him to his room and assured me it was safe. The R.A. called one of the administrators to talk to him and he was reminded what he needed to concentrate on. He was never reprimanded. He never apologized. The administration did not do anything to protect me from physical harm. I was never reassured, and I carried pepper spray with me at all times. I never walked anywhere alone after that night.

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Conflicts

Internal conflict

-What would Jesus do?

-I am an adult. How do I respond like one?

-Struggle with do I stay or do I leave?

External conflict

-Pressure to leave

-half sheets

-Financial issues

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“You are in the wrong place!”

One of the first conversations I had with one of my colleagues in seminary started with the words, “You are in the wrong place!” This woman came running up to me from the opposite side of the grounds half out of breath to inform me that the housekeeping meeting had been moved from one building to another and she assumed I was a member of the housekeeping staff because as I discovered later, I was not white. When she finally caught her breath and was able to say: “The housekeeping meeting was moved to the other building.” I said, “I’m not here for the housekeeping meeting. I am here for orientation. This is my first day. I am a new seminarian.” Her response was, “Impossible.” She ran ahead of me to gather others and tell them I was to be their colleague…

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