A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1979

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I was still working on my theatre degree, taking a few other classes specifically in education, fencing, that kind of thing.

I think it was the spring semester that the University did You Can't Take It With You -- I stage managed that, and had a blast. This was a tough show as there's a LOT going on. During the first performance the guy in the sound booth screwed up a cue, and I got jumped on for it, not only by the actor who was messed up (the guy was a real prima-donna anyway), but also by the director. That was rough and it messed with my fragile little ego a bit. A couple folk went out and got me a nice card and a bottle of champagne to thank me for all the work I did after seeing how bruised I was from that. The card was signed by most or all of the cast and crew, and is still with my copy of the script.

I think this was the same year that Courtney did the makeup for the Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre (FLOT) production of Showboat and did a great job with that (aging a set of actors 20 years every act is hard). I recall that during this summer Courtney and I had a gig at a gay bar (what an interesting experience that was! Being eyeballed by a bunch of guys like that was a bit unnerving -- made me appreciate the way women feel when that happens), doing makeup for their shows. We never got paid for that. Figures. I think we got the invitation to do the gay bar gig because Courtney's mother knew someone ...

Larry and Sally Kent, a couple down the hall in married student housing who were both engineering students, minoring in Theatre (weird, but true), got us into Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game. Boy, what a time-sink that is. Fun, easy to get involved in, easy to spend a lot of money on! I really got into it, Courtney only sort of did. Larry and Sally knew a girl (an unwed mother at 16 or 17 years old) who had lived in Sid and my apartment for awhile ... they went to High School with her. This all comes back to John (McKay)'s bit about in Alaska the normal "six degrees of separation" is really "three degrees ...".

Courtney and I got a couple of hamsters (Thor and Loki -- pretty impressive names for a couple of small rodents!) -- they were about the only pets we could have in married student housing. Larry and Sally had a rat -- we house sat that thing - very disturbing critters, rats.

A Spectacular Fall In the Spring
It was also the year I damaged myself pretty well. I was concentrating on the lines for my acting final. The theatre on the Fairbanks campus was a really nice one. It had a full green room downstairs, which is where the acting classes were held, and so on. The stairs however were concrete edged in steel. The steel was important because of the amount of traffic -- these stairs also came up from the lower parking lot for the campus.

The stairs were very steep. I was wearing my red wool Boy Scout jacket (while spring, the weather was still cool -- the snow had only left Fairbanks a couple weeks earlier). I was thinking about my final and missed one of the steps at the top of the stairs. I went down those stairs, bumping and hitting them, and I swear I hit every stair. I also to this day remember yelling "Oh, SHIT!". The people in the greenroom getting ready for class said that I never yelled a thing. Lucky for me that they were really on the ball, and at least one of them had first aid training. She sent someone to call the ambulance, someone else to get a blanket (shock), and so on. I was bleeding horribly (scalp wound), my shoulder hurt, and my glasses were destroyed.

Someone went running to find Courtney. I was winded and in a lot of pain, soaked in blood. By the time the ambulance got there, I was starting to calm down. Whoever got Courtney made it sound to her like I had died, or was on the verge of dying, so she was scared spitless when she got there. (You have to admit, with a scalp wound, and blood everywhere, mostly all over me, it had to look really bad ...) I joked with the Courtney and the guys in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Shock is a wonderful thing sometimes. When I got to the hospital they peeled my jacket off me (the blood had soaked through it to me, through the shirt I was wearing under it). The emergency doctor took one look at my forehead and didn't want to touch it. The skin had split rather than being cut, and it would leave a nasty scar if he fixed it. I think they threw the jacket away. What a shame. Those Boy Scout red wool jackets are great.

If a person is in shock asking them direct questions isn't a great idea. He asked if it was ok if a plastic surgeon looked at it. Being in shock, I said "sure", not thinking about cost. In hindsight I'm glad the plastic surgeon did it, but the cost was steep because the insurance didn't want to pay for it all.

A plastic surgeon was was just coming out of a board meeting at the hospital was dragged into emergency. He took a look and told them to call his nurse and have her bring the tools over. I was told that he was "The Best Plastic Surgeon in Fairbanks" -- whatever that means (Fairbanks' population was something like 40,000 people at the time).

While he was working he was telling the emergency doctor exactly what he was doing and why. Let me tell you that this is not good bedside manner. Because it was a head wound they couldn't medicate me much (except for a local) and I heard every word. After the needle went past my open and uncovered eye, and I flinched (I think I've mentioned that I'm terrified of needles), he asked if he should cover up my eyes. Stupid question (well, it was to me, anyway). However, it was sort of interesting despite being frightening. Turns out I had exposed a nerve. If the regular surgeon had tried to sew things up he could have severed that nerve, and I would have lost the nerves in half my face! EEP! These days all you can see is the thin horizontal scar on the right side of my forehead, the other is down by my (right) eye, partially obscured by my eyebrow and my glasses.

What I didn't realize is that I'd also cracked a rib (hairline, not a big deal, but ...). I found out about two weeks later. I was feeling amourous again, and Courtney and I were in bed, she squeezed me, and suddenly I couldn't breath. Not fun. I went to see the medical staff on campus who told me that they couldn't do anything unless it was a complete break. So, breathing was not pleasant for a few months.

Oh yeah -- I also improved my vision in one eye. I don't recommend this as a means to correct your vision. I was told (and shown) by the guy who practically lived in the scene shop, who swept up my glasses, that the frame was mostly flat, one lense appeared to be perfectly ok, and the other was shattered into what looked like a million tiny pieces. It was a good thing none of that got into my eyes! It was impressive. Of course, I had to have the glasses replaced. It took awhile to do that -- this was before the places where you can walk out with your new glasses the same day. I did my finals without my glasses, with stitches sticking out of my forehead, and pain in both my shoulder and my rib. Blech. Still, it could have been a LOT worse.

Walking across campus after the accident I saw my fencing coach. He knew about the accident (I think everyone on campus did) and at this point I had stitches sticking out of my face, and my replacement glasses hadn't arrived yet ... he stormed up to me, and yelled at me that I was never to fence without my mask again! I didn't know he cared. <G> Actually Professor Turner was a pretty cool teacher. Besides fencing I had a couple of classes in the education department from him.

The summer was hard. Summer jobs for College Students are a real bear. I tried all kinds of things, and no one wanted to hire me. I was real discouraged. Courtney got a small job on campus doing some stuff with a children's theatre thing.

I ended up working for the Boy Scout Council at Scout Camp for some pittance. It was fun, but the pay sucked. My diary has entries from that summer -- written by Courtney, who was alone most of the summer. She was rather depressed, which was why she was writing in the diary.

At one point she came down with some sort of problem in her ovaries, and had to have surgery. I couldn't leave camp (among other things, no car), and she was in the hospital most of the week. She lost a bunch of weight that week, but came out ok. She was not happy with me for not visiting her though. (Understandably, I will admit.)

There were some SCA events, I think this was the year of the "War of Independence" as it were, of Winter's Gate from Eskalya. Fun little event ... (I can say "little" now, as I've been living in California where a small event is twice or three times the size of that war -- at the time, it was HUGE ...) That happened before I went off to Camp ... I remember that it was early in the summer. We still had a bit of snow on the ground, and the trebuchet someone built was lobbing snowballs at the folk from Anchorage. Some of the folk I met that weekend ended up becoming good friends later.

SCA West Kingdom History Website, Battle of Brown Water

This was Courtney's senior year, and by god, she was going to graduate.

I was still playing in the theatre and not thinking about graduation, although as she was getting closer to hers, I started to realize I needed to think about that myself. This was my third school year, after all.

I can't remember much about that fall ... sigh. And I have no specific photos, either.

Christmas was held at Andrea and her mother's place in the Faculty housing apartments. They weren't bad as apartments go, but they weren't as well insulated as one would expect for Fairbanks, Alaska. They had some old 78 records of Handel's Messiah. Up until that point I never realized how heavy those old records were. I was used to the vinyl ones we used. These things had a metal core! When they dropped on the turntable the whole thing moved. We played that for hours and did the usual Christmas stuff. The place reaked of Andrea's perfume.

A Few Photos
(These are thumbnails, click on them to see larger versions with text explaining them)

SCA: Warrant
as an Arts

Show Poster

Alascon IV Poster

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