Drop Outs

Again, after being told over and over that I wouldn’t be able to do anything, I began proving it to her. By her, I mean my mother, who passed away three years ago last Thursday. She never called me by my name, I won’t call her ‘Mom” either.

I had great aspirations when I graduated from high school. I was going to go to college, in a city which was a couple hours drive from home, as a music major. I would learn to play the clarinet, and the alto and tenor saxophones better, and take all the classes I needed to become a music teacher.

My music teacher, Diane Graf, was a great teacher. Whenever I went to the music room when there wasn’t a lesson going on, she and I would play duets, with her playing the flute along with my clarinet. I don’t know where she found such a book, but I guess that being a teacher, she had resources. We didn’t have Google back in the 70’s.

I went to the college, and started learning more things about music than I ever thought possible. My third semester, I made the dean’s list.

bottlesMy fourth semester, I was skipping classes, or not even going to school at all. I was living in the haze from alcohol, and nothing else mattered. During that fourth semester, all my classes were either incompletes, withdrawals, or drops. I was a college drop out.

I became unable to stay in the city and had to return home. I had to live with the abusers that I had run away from, and that was intolerable. I joined the Navy.

Scan_20141111By the time I got to Great Lakes Naval Station, in Great Lakes, I started to drink some, but was limited by school, PT, and everything else that the Navy throws at you while you are in school.

But Christmas came, I flew home, I drove my car back, and by midnight was sitting in a jail cell, in an orange jumpsuit, for drunk and disorderly, and assaulting a Petty Officer. The alcohol was back. Three months later, I was discharged from the Navy, unsuitability due to alcohol abuse.

I had dropped out again.

My first job after the Navy, was with Illinois Bell, the telephone company.  My job was telephone line repair.  I started training.  When I started training for pole climbing, I learned I had a fear of heights.  I was six feet off the floor, clinging to a telephone pole, and promptly slid to the floor, because when you bring your knees in to hug the pole, the cleats on your boots come out of the pole and down you go.  Since I couldn’t climb poles, I lost the job for telephone line repair.

I had dropped out again.