So, skipping along here... (I have wondered here if there is way too much detail here, but since we've started, we'll continue...) Spring shows up with the blooms for which the city is famous, and graduation comes and goes. By now, I am feeling the pressure of it all, and so is Joanne. We have lots of long talks about it, and like the (very) young kids we are, we each make promises to each other - her to wait for me, no matter what happens, and me to come back for her, whether it's in a few weeks/months, or 18-24 months. Things went along pretty well for several weeks, and like the true kids we were, after the serious talks, we just went along with our living our lives as we had done for the better part of the year by now.
One evening after arriving home from a date in June, my mom casually mentions that the decision has been reached that we are heading out in the middle of July, rather than the middle of August. You can imagine how well this went over. I yelled, nay (that WORD again!), screamed at her - and I believe this was the only time in my life I have done that - that this was not fair, and that I was not going, and how could they do this to me, after yanking me out of my old high school for senior year, and, and, and... it was quite the tirade.
As the years have gone on from there, I have reflected on that moment, seared into my brain, and wondered if I was justified in my outrage, or if I was selfish for saying what I said. I felt like a farmer whose arm had been caught in the combine and yanked clean off in the blink of an eye - shirt sleeve and all - no time to react or adjust. Now, I don't think ANY son has the right to yell at his mother, ever, and that's not what I wonder, but rather, if my rage was justified. Most of the time I feel like it was - I felt betrayed, disregarded, and relegated to tagalong status, not afforded a thought about how I was feeling about the whole 12 month episode, and how it would effect me. And I still feel like that.
In the end, my tantrum held no water, and we packed up in July for the drive home. I was devastated, depressed, angry, enraged in fact. Saying goodbye was heartbreaking for both of us. I wonder if somewhere down in me I knew it would be the last time I would ever see Joanne again - but at the time, my intentions were clear and so were hers. On the day we left, she told my mom that she would see her again, and that she was waiting for me to come back and get her. I don't think this made my mom very happy. She was never really thrilled about the relationship from the get-go, and this was a well known and well rehearsed conversation in my family. Seriously dating someone who was not LDS, and furthermore, who was in fact a catholic, was simply unacceptable, a notion I was reminded of whenever I came home late, or was seen as spending too much time with her.
My parents had sought to set me up with local LDS girls, even at one point overtly hoping I would take an interest in a girl whom I KNEW my brother was secretly in love with, named Theresa. There was another girl I was vaguely interested in, named Kirsten, but she didn't quite score many points with my parents either, because she was a bit of a rebel in her own way, even though she was LDS, albeit from a "broken home". (I no longer use that term, because single-parent households aren't broken, they're just different from the neo-con view of an appropriate new-cue-lar family...) Needless to say, neither Kirsten nor certainly Theresa were able to attract very much attention from me, which was a source of grave consternation on the part of my mother. Both parents, really, but certainly my mother was the most vocal about it.
The 24 hours' worth of drive time back to my home town was filled with dark clouds for me. The one hour ferry ride back to the mainland was somber indeed. Given that we were driving all of our belongings with us, including a travel trailer and a U-Haul, and I was the third driver in the family, I was tapped, thankfully, to drive the 1978 Oldsmobile NinetyEight. This car was literally a land yacht. With skirts over the back tires even with the rest of the fenders, fins, and a hood the size of a football field, it floated along. One never really drove that car as much as one simply herded it in the general direction of where you were going. Inside, with the plush interior with six-way electric seats, I got out my cassette adapter for the 8-track and played Supertramp at full blast all the way back. I was not happy at all.