I decided to help Cugan move, which would be right after graduation.  This made him happy, because–except for one day when Bob and another guy helped–he had no one else to help him move the mountains of stuff he somehow fit into his claustrophobic apartment.

My plan was to stay with him until the W– shire had an event in June, then move back home.  There, I’d find a job, save money for a used car and computer, then move back to S–.

On one of our last days at school, probably Saturday, May 20, my non-graduating roommates and friends held a graduation party for us graduating seniors.  (Pearl and Sharon decided to add majors and take one more year.)

There was an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, with layers of vanilla and chocolate, and chocolate fudge.  The top was decorated in honor of the graduates.  It was delicious.

They gave us presents and cards.  Mine included a note paper cube depicting college students each year, and a purple warm fuzzy with a black graduation cap and gold tassel.

The cube depicted the same two students throughout their college years, one per side.  As freshmen, they were cleancut, bright, shining, happy students, the guy with a tie and the girl with a skirt and sweater.

Sophomore year, they had half-closed eyes, smiles not so wide but still happy, shorts, wild hair, earrings, and very casual shirts.

Junior year, they were “cool,” with sandals, messy clothes, more earrings, wild clothes, the guy’s hair long and the girl’s hair cropped, their eyes tired, their smiles dopey (the guy) or nonexistent (the girl).

Senior year, they dressed professionally, the girl’s hair long and the guy’s hair cut short, looking like businesspeople–except with bags under the eyes on their bright, shining faces.

When I started work at an insurance company right after July 4, this sat on my desk under a small length of chain mail that Donato or Cugan gave me.  The warm fuzzy sat on my computer.

My roommies and I promised to keep in touch with each other, which we did.  Remember, this is when everyone got e-mail, and in the 2010s, Facebook!

Saturday, May 20.  Graduation finally came, and all this was resolved: Phil, Peter, Shawn, trouble after trouble in other areas–all these things were history.  I had a good man.

In only a few months, I proved Dirk wrong about me, that I would not end up an old maid.  I did nothing he advised unless I’d already been doing it.  I was just myself.

I’d hear young people, such as soon-to-be high-school graduates, complain about Wisconsin and that they wanted to get away from it as soon as possible.

Yet I, on the other hand, came from out of state and wanted to go back to Wisconsin because it was fun and interesting to me.

This was not an indictment against Indiana or South Bend, which probably had more things going on than my new city or S– did.

Rather, I was fascinated by the differences in culture and accent, and would miss these things if I stayed in Indiana.  I just knew that any friends I made in Indiana would hear me go on and on about how different things were in Wisconsin.  And, most of all, I wanted to be with my friends.

On graduation day, I didn’t go to the morning breakfast or baccalaureate service, which weren’t required and were far too early.  But I did go to the lunch and, of course, commencement, and then the reception (which I couldn’t wait for.)

Graduation.  Maura, Phil’s mother, graduated that day, and sat near me because the graduates sat together.  She gave me a warm hello.  When her turn came to get her diploma, friends and family cheered.  One of them cried, “Way to go, Maura!”

Taylor was there, I believe.  I don’t remember if Phil was there, but even seeing his mother made me feel weird.  She didn’t seem to like me any less for what had happened, but I hadn’t seen her since September.  Seeing her again reminded me of Phil.

Rather than this graduation being one of my happiest moments, I was sick of school and couldn’t wait for graduation to be over.  (I’ve since learned that Cugan felt the same way at his graduation.)

I was nervous, though I didn’t let my one or two minor mess-ups bother me.  (I found them amusing, actually.  I forget what they were, though I might have gone the wrong way once or stumbled into a chair.)

Get me outta here! I kept thinking.  I even felt this way as we filed out of the hall at the end.  All I wanted to do was be with Cugan and attend Mermaid’s, which I couldn’t because it was the same day.

I arranged with Pearl and Sharon, who were booked in that same apartment for next year, to use their storage room for a good amount of my stuff.  I gave them my dustmop, which I no longer needed.

I was to fetch the stuff later on after I got a job, got a car, and then moved back to S–, which I expected to do within the next school year.  Fortunately, this worked out, as I found a job, got a car, and moved to Fond du Lac less than two months later.

When all my things were packed in the car or stored in the storage room, and I had talked to and introduced Catherine to my parents, it was time to go.

The things in the car were to be loaded into a van belonging to Cugan’s dad, which Cugan took to Mermaid’s.

I called the Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) to check out, thinking it would just be a matter of telling her I was leaving, and then leaving.  I was only the first one to leave in my apartment, after all: Pearl and maybe the others would leave the next day.

But even though I was only the first to check out, RLC told me I couldn’t until all the furniture in the entire apartment was back in the original places.

!!!

I’d call her up and tell her things were ready, but she’d come over and say something still wasn’t right.

We were there for hours after the 4:00 reception (which was short and informal, and in the cafeteria).

I don’t remember how late we finally left, but it seemed like we never would.  We were pooped out and sick of it all, and just wanted to leave.  We also wanted dinner.

We feared Pearl wouldn’t be able to get around, since all the beds had to be set on the floor and not bunked, and the official arrangement was so impractical that it was hard even for the able-bodied to move around in the tiny bedrooms.

Pearl decided that she and her family would take care of the vacuuming the next day.

RLC found problems here and there to charge us all for, even though they were probably just normal wear and tear.

At long last, RLC okayed my leaving, so my parents and I fled.  We went to dinner (starving by now), then stayed overnight in a hotel.

I had no idea when I would see my roommates again.

The next day, my parents drove me to Mermaid’s, wondering who all the strange people were and what kind of group this SCA was, anyway.  (Mom feared they might be druggies.)  We found Cugan sitting with his tent, which I think he had taken down by then, and he looked happy to see me.  We loaded my things from the car and into his dad’s van, and then my parents left for South Bend.

Cugan, as autocrat, or the guy in charge, had to make sure the campsite was cleaned up properly by noon, when the event was officially over.  I helped sweep out cabins, and may have done other things as well, so I helped at Mermaid’s that year even though I didn’t even attend it.

Cugan found a lump in one of the beds in the dormitory–one of the college-age girls, still asleep.  He had hoped everyone was up and would be gone from the site by the time they were supposed to leave.

I later saw this girl by the horses in a long, white, flowing gown that reminded me of Melissa’s gown in Dragonslayer.  (Melissa was the first maiden shown being sacrificed to the dragon.  The name is only used in the novelization.)  This was my dream gown.

Cugan ran hither and thither and cleaned, wishing more of the shire members would help him.  Finally, cleanup was finished, everyone left the site, and his stressful time as autocrat was officially over.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: