Here I was, 18 years old, one semester of college under my belt and kicked out of my home. My only friends were either still in high school or living in the dorms. But I couldn’t afford the dorms. I didn’t want to move in the middle of the semester to a place where people get matching bedspreads and pillowcases, lived and bathed with strangers, and worse had to eat in the campus cafeteria. When I was in high school I worked in that place. I didn’t ever want to go back. It was an ok job, but it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be. Partly because I worked there at the same time as my mother. That’s how I got the job. And that’s another story, but lets just say it was a season of my life, and I had moved on to a job paying more than minimum wage.
So I had to look into options. My mother suggested a local house that rented out rooms to women. She lived there when she was 18 and moved to tiny town for school and work. It was more common for women to live in coop style houses in the 70s, but the place was still open and my aunt even still lived there at the time. The best thing, it was income based.
Based on my 2 days a week work schedule I could have a room for $90 a month. I would have to do certain chores around the house, and I had an assigned cupboard and refridgerator. It seemed better than home. Even with tubs only in the bathroom. It was quiet, it was private, and best thing, there wasn’t a curfew. Not that I stayed out late or was crazy. In fact it was years before I even considered stepping into a club again. That was in a different town, with a different set of friends and at a much later time of day even.
I finished up my semester living there. Most of the people living there were older. Women who had family in smaller towns and would travel home for the weekend. The only person close to my age moved in not long after me. Her roommate had kicked her out, and this girl was totally different than me. She was a little older and FAR more experienced in the world. She talked about drinking and sex like everyone did them. She even convinced me that someone was stealing food from me.
I am almost positive that it was her stealing the food. My only response to her saying that was “Well, they must have been hungry.” I think it was a few packs of Ramen noodles that were taken. It might have been twenty cents worth of food. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Living on my own, food seemed to go really far. Living at home with 6 other people, you couldn’t buy something and expect to keep it for yourself. Food was communal.
She also convinced me to make a dumb financial decision. I moved to a bigger, and more expensive room with outside access. It was ten or twenty dollars more a month. Really not a huge deal, but still. It was a sign that I could be influenced by others easily. It also gave her easy access to my things. I don’t really know what all she took of mine, but it started driving me nuts. I talked with the house manager. I told her about everything. I decided to move home for the summer. My parents had calmed down. My mother missed seeing me all the time, and I was going to try living at home for the summer while working. I hada friend from a class that I talked with about becoming roommates in the fall, but no real set plans. Plus, my good friend (the one I had gone to the dance club with) was moving into apartments right by my parents house. I could always escape to her place.
It seemed like a great situation. And so summer began.