Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's outside of Pleasantville?

Jennifer/Mary Sue: What's outside of Pleasantville?
Miss Peters: What?...I don't understand...
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Outside of Pleasantville...
What's at the end of Main Street?
Miss Peters: Oh, Mary Sue. You should know the answer to that. The end of Main Street is just the beginning again.

Pleasantville is a 1998 film about two modern-day teenagers who find themselves suddenly inside a 1950's sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world. Nothing Is As Simple As Black And WhiteWritten and directed by Gary Ross.

The movie Pleasantville came out is 1998. It was the year our son Barry graduated from high school. While he was looking at colleges I had an burning desire to see what would happen if I went back to college this time to study art.

As a member of Generation Jones we were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as we came of age in the 1970s, leaving us with a certain unrequited, jonesing quality. The recession of 1970's began during my first year in high school. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s

My parents were older, although they had three of us within five years, my father was 42, mother was 32 when I was born. I was am a middle child. At the time the 1970's recession hit my father was in his late 50's. That is pretty much the age when companies start to look for young, energetic, more progressive thinking people in their 30's to replace more highly compensated employees. My first experience as a college student was in 1974. Not sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not ready to give up my quest for learning. Not willing to give up the comfort of being a student I enrolled in the local community college. My parents were struggling with inflation of gas, staggering food prices, retirement and downsizing in the 1970's consequently they had no extra money to help me pay for a college education. http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar05p1.htm

I learned at a young age if I wanted something I had to work to pay for it myself. My father made too much money to be called in need and not enough to share with me for advanced education. My father made between $15,000 and $20,000 during the 1970's; this is the could be compared with a family living on between $50,000 and $60,000 today. Not poor by any stretch of the imagination yet not allowing for cash to flow out for luxuries. I did not qualify for need based government grants. In the 1970's a education for a female led her into a career as a nurse, a school teacher or a secretary now called an administrative assistant. None of those options looked appealing to me. Education for a female could well have been considered a luxury especially if she was interested in studying art.

After researching all of the Fiber graduate school programs I selected SCAD for the following reasons: it was in Savannah, large number of female professors, mission statement promising individualized attention to prepare students for professions, seeking input from other graduate students and wanting to build on my undergraduate artwork.

Having only applied to only one graduate program you can imagine my surprise to receive the letter of acceptation. That was interesting yet the tuition is expensive for me to pay for myself. I put grad school on the back burner until a letter followed offering me a combined fellowship grant. How could I say no to an opportunity to live in Savannah while investigating what could happen if I went to graduate school?All of my research, application and acceptation took place in 2007. The economy was strong, I really enjoyed teaching, my future looked bright. All systems go... That gave me exactly one year to complete my teaching position contract, visit the college for grad days in February, meet future grad students, find an apartment, sort and pack my studio and life.

Moving a two days drive away from my husband of 31 years is no easy decision. Although we had lived in the Crane Village apartments, with a pool, when we were first married, we had lived in three homes within our married life. I was used to the privacy that living on one acre lots brings. Living in an apartment means no more walking around the yard in my nightgown late at night to look at the stars or early morning sunrise stroll in the morning dew. Sight unseen I selected an apartment outside of town, half way between Tybee Island and the college, that also had a swimming pool.

My initial packing all summer was purely studio equipment and a necessary items for housekeeping. Two weeks before we packed the truck for Savannah my husband got the unexpected news along with many other employees, his position for the past ten years would be terminated by the end of December.


Deja vu
Are you kidding me?

The slow and steady decline from consumer confidence to tumbling stock prices, rising unemployment and inflated gasoline prices brought back mysteriously, ominous, bad memories of the 1970's.
to be continued...

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