Saturday, June 15, 2024

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Going to school at Platt College meant moving to Tulsa. This meant that I was no longer a "guest" in my sister's home, and that I really needed to find a job and a place to live. The folks at the Center for the Physically Limited were there to help. A man with MS was looking for a live-in aide. He couldn't pay much beyond room and board, but it sounded perfect for me.

I interviewed with the man, his name was Louis. He was married and his wife worked as a nurse. She worked at night and was home during the day. The fact that I would be in school during the day, but there in the evenings seemed ideal and I was given the job. I helped Louis get up in the morning and made us both breakfast. By the time I was leaving for school, his wife was getting home. She would visit with him, make them both lunch and then get some sleep.

School got out at 3 and I was home in the afternoon and evening. I made dinner, and I was there as companionship and security. His wife didn't have to worry about leaving him alone. Mostly in the evening we just hung out and watched TV. His favorite show as I recall was called, "Wiseguy" about a deep undercover police officer. (Wiseguy was on the air from September of 1987, to December of 1990. That helps me to place this. I believe it was the fall of 1988.)


Tulsa has a lift service for the disabled which I qualified for, and was able to take cab rides to and from school for a dollar a trip. Louis paid me $20 a week plus room and board. Part of that $20 went to cab rides, the rest to comic books. I didn't save a penny.

Louis' wife appreciated having me there for Louis, but didn't really want me there on her days off. She wanted to have time with Louis without me in the house. Sometimes when this happened, it worked out that I could visit with Sally. Other times, I would take a cab to the Center and hang out there. I liked using the computers to write for APA, which was basically the same thing as I'm doing now for this blog – but it was analogue.

They also had the theater program. I was able to sit in on a few acting classes which were very informal and open to all members who wanted to participate. This turned out to be lots of fun, and all my experience playing D&D made me a natural. It was here that I was encouraged to come to an audition for one of their performances.

I auditioned and got a part in a play called, "Bell, Book & Candle." I was super excited, but I soon discovered a bit of a problem. Rehearsals were in the evening every night. Could I go to rehearsals and take care of my responsibilities to Louis? We talked about it. He could see that this was really something that I wanted to do. I could still take care of things in the morning; go to school; come back and make dinner; go to rehearsals; and get home and help him to bed.

We would miss a few hours of TV time, but I could do everything else. Louis agreed … initially. After two weeks of rehearsals, Louis told me that it just wasn't working. He needed me there in the evenings. This was the job that I was hired to do, and I wasn't doing it.

I had to quit the play.

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