Some graduating students fear that step off from security of home and consistency. Not me. I had been living on my own all of my senior year and looked forward to a new and less time-constricting life. Oblivious to how it snowballed, I had floated through high school accumulating organizations and offices held in them. Mom asked me once why I did all of the things I did and the only answer I could give her was that others asked me to or voted for me even though I may not have run of my own initiative. As a senior I participated in: Future Homemakers of America (President), Thespians (Student Council Representative), Student Council, Yearbook (Editor), Methodist Youth Fellowship (President), Honor Society and L-13 (as social organization not involved with school.) Participation-only organizations were Chantelles, an all girls choir, and Pep Club. Throughout all of this I worked in a grocery store as a checker 20 hours a week. In the Spring of 1964 I won a trip to the United Nations with 60 Methodist youth from all over the state. For 10 days we lived on the bus while spending 3 days at the United Nations listening to delegates talk about their countries and problems, toured Washington, DC and observed a congressional session and spent two days in Chicago visiting a depressed area and the work the church was doing there.
I had missed my senior prom for a few reasons: 1) I had just returned from an exhausting trip one week prior, 2) I had no money to pay for prom, and 3) I had been asked via the grapevine to go with a young man that I really liked but I had been dating exclusively the young man at boot camp. Not wishing to complicate things I declined the heresay invitation. I had attended the Junior/Senior prom in both my Sophomore and Junior years. My senior year was topped off with an explosive graduation party that in itself is a story and lesson for every unknowing young girl; what can so easily happen to you and the lifelong memory and reminders that follow.
Escape from everything and probably everyone except my family was pretty much on my mind that June. An invitation to work as a desk clerk in a hotel 30 miles away was easy to accept. I had no car but my aunt was the bookkeeper and invited me to live with her and my uncle. They had only had one boy and he was grown up with a family of his own in another state. The summer was fun at the hotel. I met many new people who were a lot older than myself. The exposure in the workplace to older responsible team members was great for my growth as an employee. I worked the night shift most of the summer which at times was a real lesson in other ways. The making of the original movie, Deadwood, happened in South Dakota that summer. The producer/director (I can't remember which) stayed the summer as a hotel guest. His revolving door of young Indian women opened my eyes to the trash of the project. I remember one particular young man (yet much older than I) who befriended me across the desk. He was always interested in what I was doing and often late at night what I was reading. I showed him a book I had picked up and was halfway through. To my surprise he raised his voice, chewed me out about the garbage type of book I was reading and lectured on and on about lack of values and ethics in that trash. That really stuck with me and age 18 was the last and only time I ever started to read a trash novel. On a more congenial Friday night he asked me what I was going to do that night when I got off work. I told him I was going to go to Spearfish with some of my girl friends. To my confusion he asked "How do you do that?" It took me a while to understand that he wanted to know how I was going to "spear fish." I grew up around that area and never once gave thought to the name of the little town as anything other than "Spearfish." One word. Name of a town. Nothing else. I to this day do not know why the town was named Spearfish. For me Friday in Spearfish meant dancing with a few hundred young people from miles around at the Park Pavilion, an open air dance venue.
Interesting how names are accepted without question. Only when I saw the local undertaker's business on national television did it dawn on me that the "Jolly Funeral Home" was a humorous play on words. The Jollys were school mates that I grew up with. Their family owned a funeral parlor. End of thoughts.
I don't recall dating anyone that summer. I palled around with a few young men but nothing serious. A tall handsome young man that I had worked with at the grocery store the previous year was one of the pall dates. He drove a unique car named Avanti. His dad was a doctor so he had privileges that most of us did not. I don't recall whether we went to movies or races or ???? only that he was a lot of fun to practice necking with. His privilege did not serve him greatly as he died on a naval ship from a suspected drug overdose. I did find it odd that his family allowed a party (after graduation) in the basement of their home and provided cases of port wine for underage drinkers.
I had not intended to go to college in the fall of 1964 because: 1) I had no idea how to register, 2) I had absolutely no money and had just bought a car, and 3) I didn't think I was smart enough to go to college. Growing up all I wanted to be was an interior decorator. I looked in a catalog for schools where you could learn the art and could only find one a thousand miles away in Washington state. That was totally out of the question as I had absolutely no idea how to make it happen nor the funds to make it happen. The desire to be an interior decorator lingered with me for years but I never acted upon it.
In late August my brother drove from Eugene, Oregon where he was attending the University, informed me that I was going to college, took me up to the local college (Black Hills State College) and enrolled me paying my tuition and fees. I still had to make payments on my car, gas and insurance so I continued to work nights at the hotel, drive 50 miles to school, stop for a few minutes at my families home for sleep then head back to the hotel to work the night. I had begun to rely on No-doze pills to stay awake in class, at work and driving. Something had to give and it was the job. Thank God for my dad who help me with car payments to finish the semester.