Did you ever think about the crossroads in your life? Those things that happened to you and you made a choice- this way or that - and the effect that moment had in your life? I do, usually on the last day of every year.
I get to thinking about what happened this year and what didn't happen and it gets me to wondering: WHAT IF?
What if I had gone with Mama to Macon that day instead of lounging in the swimming pool with friends. She probably wouldn't have been hurrying home and wouldn't have run into a truck of pigs driven by a driver who was also a drunk pig. And she would have lived another 46 years probably. Who knows?
And what if I had not set fire to that curtain in my dorm room at military school? Sure I thought if they threw me out of school I could go home and prevent my father from marrying his second wife. She didn't like me any more than I liked her. But the curtain burned about three inches and I got thrown out of school, sent home for good. And this made my father marry that woman, because "you need someone to take care of you". Ha! Like I needed green hair. (I did that, too, once.)
And what if Jimmy Farnsworth and I hadn't decided to run away from prep school and become stewards on the Queen Elizabeth 1? Yes, in the fall of our senior year, we just left school one night and got about 10 miles into Lenoir, NC and got brought back. I didn't last another 2 days at that school. Yes, they threw me out of that one also. When they did, my father told them to give me the money left in my allowance account and he told me not to come home unless I got sick. Mind you, I was 17 years old at the time. I went straight to my uncle in Atlanta, the Attorney General, and he called my father and said, "Benny, you can't disinherit an adopted child." So I got sent to my third prep school, from which I graduated. Finally. And that was the first time I had been in school with girls since puberty.
Another crossroad came when I got accepted to Princeton University and turned them down. Don't ask me why. Then I took the SAT and when the scores came in my prep school Dean of Students took me to Stetson University with my scores and I played one hymn on an organ I knew nothing about - and I got accepted WITHOUT even filling out an application! Gone are those days. I had no more business in that school than being on Mars, and that's kinda what it felt like. But I went, and eventually crashed and burned out of that one, too.
In 1965, my Father said, "You can't stay here any longer. Here's $5,000. Go wherever you want. And the next morning I left for New York City. Never mind that I landed on the first day of a 2-week subway strike. I was in heaven. And I spent 2 glorious years at the opera, on Broadway and in churches - never ONCE thinking that I had a career to plan and get to. I just had fun.
Ah, the crossroads. I'll tell you some more tomorrow......maybe.