A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1983

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Winter/Spring Semester
I was communicating with Eitel via email, I was dating her when I was in Anchorage. I "fell in love" with Eitel. I even got engaged within a very short amount of time. Part of my diary seems to be trying to convince myself it was the right thing to do. I bought her an engagement ring (I wasn't going to give her the one I just got back from Jeanne) over Christmas (it wasn't as expensive as Jeanne's either, but I couldn't afford that!). This was a case of rebound that was truly astounding. I even knew there was something wrong with it at the time ... I just didn't want to admit it.

She drove back to Fairbanks with me after Christmas in her old VW Bug. That thing was cold (the heater was the engine and with any wind at all no heat got into the car) and this was a cold winter for Fairbanks (it was 75 degrees below zero without the wind -- and there was WIND -- with the wind the windchill factor was something like 125 below!).

She moved INTO my dorm room! She was there for months. I had to pay for food for her, because she had no job. It was not a great situation, and was pretty stupid.

One really spiffy thing that happened was that at Twelfth Night (SCA Christmas event, Coronation of the new King and Queen, etc.), I was made a member of the Order of the Laurel (the SCA's highest award for Arts and Sciences -- it's equivalent to a Knighthood, if that helps place it in importance). I wasn't told about this and wasn't supposed to be. Tim White (SCA: Wolf Federweiss) and some others had gone to the event, probably the largest group from Alaska until that point to visit central Kingdom. NONE of them told me. I couldn't get an answer about what awards people got. I just wanted to know what had happened to other people (I really wasn't expecting that I'd gotten any awards or recognition). Unfortunately, it was done "in absentia", which was a bit odd. This practice doesn't occur much, if at all, anymore.

Then one poor guy who wasn't thinking (Scott -- SCA name was Tucken Ashford) came and told me about the trip. As he was leaving my dorm room he shook my hand and said "Oh, and by the way, congratulations on your Laurel!" I was ... er ... stunned. I walked over to Tim's room and asked. He said "WHO TOLD YOU?!?" What was planned was that Kylson (who accepted the award for me) was going to present it as a surprise at the next big event in Alaska in two weeks. I convinced people not to kill the poor guy. I was floating on air about that, but Eitel didn't understand how important it was to me.

I had a couple of weeks to get used to the idea that I had been made a member of the Order of the Laurel -- this was something that really was great for my poor beat-up ego. I ordered a token from the states from a guy who made them that wasn't horribly expensive (Raymond's Quiet Press, he's still doing it, too!). At the event two weeks later, I had to convince various folk not to beat Scott up too badly. Even with two weeks warning when the ceremony happened I was shaken pretty badly. There's something about kneeling there and swearing the oath of fealty that you cannot describe to someone. I was shaking and crying a bit after -- it really meant that much to me.

Eitel moved back to Anchorage in March from the way my diary reads. We were still officially together when I broke it off in April (she was visiting for the weekend). I had a bowl of reality chex -- I realized that graduating from College was more important than my relationship with her. This told me that the relationship was a bust. It wasn't a pretty breakup, but it had to be done. She was really unhappy about the whole thing, and she kept the ring (sigh). She later ended up marrying some guy that she had really been in love with all this time, but "couldn't have" for whatever reason (I think this had a lot to do with the breakup -- she was trying to "mold" me into this other person). She dropped out of the SCA, and I think I only ever really saw her once after this.

On top of it all, because of Eitel I didn't do well in school that semester, either. So much for graduating in 1983.

I decided I didn't want to stay in the dorms. I was still a consultant for the UACN, which meant I had money coming in, and I was able to work up to 30 hours a week, so financially I was doing ok. Not great but probably better than I had ever done in the past.

Somewhere in there Jeanne left Fairbanks, I don't know where as we weren't exactly speaking (I seem to recall that her mother died, or something). This meant Tania and Chris who were still students had to find a place to live. They had a small apartment in downtown Fairbanks. They let me stay there for a short while, then when they found another apartment in a nice apartment complex, Mark and I were able to get an apartment in the building.

When Jeanne left, in the process of cleaning stuff out she got rid of some boxes of my belongings that I'd had in storage at the house they'd been renting (I thought I had retrieved everything, silly me). Some of these were boxes of books (I found out that she gave those to someone in the SCA, when a few years later, some of them turned up on a friend's shelf). The one that still hurts is the box of memorabilia I had from my life in Oregon and my Boy Scout stuff. This included certificates of music contests I had won in Junior High school, all my Scout badges, and everything. That one never turned up again. Some of the books did, but not many of them.

Chris had met the love of her life (at least I hope they're still together -- they seemed to be delirious ...). I still had Jeanne's rings. I sold them to Chris, because her guy (I cannot for the life of me remember his name -- I remember he was tall, in the Air Force, a really nice guy, and they met at an SCA event ...) had asked her to marry him. She got a good price on the rings, and since they fit her they didn't have to be re-sized. I know I didn't make back what I'd paid for them but at that point I didn't care.

I had a crush on Tania as well, but could never work up the nerve to say anything ... oh well.

Mark and I were roommates. Chris and Tania and sometimes her fiance were roommates in another apartment in the same complex. All was peachy keen.

The folk on the military base outside of Fairbanks (Eielson AFB) had formed an SCA branch "Beast Valley", and they had a fighting seminar combined with their champion's tournament. They brought one of the big guns up from the states for that -- Paul of Bellatrix (who had huge influence on fighting techniques in the early days of the SCA, and was a really good fighting teacher). At that event Kylson brought his new lady up -- Robin (Anne of Bradford). She was very cool. Lovely, smart, a musician (something that I am sure helped draw Kylson to her), and just a very nice, thoughtful woman. She was a lot of fun. During the bardic that evening we had a blast -- I picked on her, she kicked me ... Paul recited Jabberwocky in German!! That is so weird (and he does it well, too). The next day after the tourney was over both Eric (Bearsbane) and I independantly of each other hauled Robin over to a tent, pulled her inside, gave her a big hug and a kiss and told her that if Kylson was stupid enough to dump her, we would be right there. He wasn't that stupid (and they're still together).

The (SCA) Lord Defender's Tournament that year was in Juneau. I didn't think I could afford to fly, so I made an arrangement with John (St. Andrew), and we drove to Haines and took the ferry to Juneau. We had planned on making it a single-day drive from Fairbanks to Haines. We did, but just in time to miss the ferry. We drove up and it was maybe fifteen minutes out. One less cup of coffee at the last stop, and we would have made it.

The problem was that the ferry to Juneau only left once a day, and we'd just missed it. We hadn't planned on spending the night in Haines. We tried to sleep in his car. He slept, I didn't -- he snored so loud it was painful. Not to mention his doberman wouldn't lie still. I got up and wandered around Haines. There's not much to see at night there (heck, it's small enough, there's not much to see during the daytime, and at night the shops and stuff are all closed). The next day we met up with a few folk from Anchorage who were doing the same trip (it was longer for them, if you ever look at a map of Alaska with the highways showing, you'll see why). On the ferry I played Dungeons and Dragons with them. The ferry left that evening, and we got to the event the next morning. The group of us didn't sleep on the ferry, and after we got to the event didn't get to sleep until very late.We were up until gawdawful late hours of the night at the Bardic Circle (I have a photo that's too big to fit on the scanner of me singing at that bardic by candle-light -- great photo). When I did sleep it was for 12+ hours. I was exhausted. Rather than drive back with John, I made arrangements to fly back a day later, by switching with someone. Probably a bit rude to John but after spending that much time in his company, I needed a break.

Mark ended up deciding to move to Anchorage -- I'm not quite sure what happened there. I think he was no longer in the Air Force at this point. This gave me some heartburn room-mate wise ...

The roommmate situation was resolved quicker than I expected, however. A friend from the SCA in Anchorage wanted to come to Fairbanks and finish his schooling. Rick and I hit it off pretty well. He's a good cook, loves cooking with sourdough, does some neat stuff with Halibut (I was never a "fish" person, but ...). I got to do the dishes a lot, but with cooking like that, who cared? We had similar tastes in music -- I copied a bunch of his stuff to tape. I ribbed Rick a bit when he discovered he was really enjoying programming classes. At the time the term "hacker" didn't have such negative connotations as it does now, and I was calling him a "hacker" a lot, which I think drove him a bit crazy.

I could take a bus to the campus if Rick wasn't going that way, and all was right in the universe. There were some interesting little restaurants in downtown Fairbanks that I remember visiting on the weekends when Rick and I weren't doing something (or we weren't going to SCA events).

Late that summer there was a Renaissance Faire type thing held at the Fairgrounds in Fairbanks. Of course the SCA was invited. I ended up meeting the sister of a friend in the SCA, who wasn't IN the SCA, but as it turns out was in school in Fairbanks -- Beth Hayward. For some reason we sort of hit it off, but over the next school year we never hit it off enough for a relationship to start. That was sort of depressing, because she was (and is) a sweet lady, bright, lovely, talented ... had a lot going for her. Sigh. Oh well.

I never quite got up the nerve to really ask Beth out on an honest date. I think it was because I'd been burned so badly in recent relationships. She was such a nice person, and we had a friendship growing -- I think that part of me didn't want to destroy that. We did get to the movies a few times on campus together, and even went to The Pub on campus once together. I just wasn't confident enough to pursue things.

If you've read everything to this point you may recall how I said that Jane was one of the only people to have such an affect on me that thinking of her after we broke up made my heart flutter? Beth was the only other person to do that to me. It took me years to not have that little flutter occur. What I think got me over it was after I had moved from Alaska to California, and I heard from her that she was engaged. I think that there was a very irrational part of me that still hoped up until then that maybe we could get together. I was actually jealous! Awhile later I met her fiance -- Randy was (still is) a really nice guy, I couldn't hate him, and actually like him a lot. The jealousy disipated quickly at that point. I am glad for the two of them -- they're good people. They've been happily married for years now.

July, 2009: Started converting some old cassetes to MP3 from August of '83. These cassettes have music by a really fun performer named David Ruthstrum (or Ruthstrom -- not sure which). He was a lot of fun. 12 String Guitar, great voice, some good songs (a great mix, many of which I had never heard before we started seeing him perform). We discovered him at The Chena Pumphouse (which is now a pretty ritzy place -- back then it was a bit more rustic), and when he came to town we saw him perform. A few people took portable tape decks and recorded his performances, which is where the tapes came from. I used to listen to them all the time, and now I can listen to them again when I feel like it ...

I have many fond memories of listening to David perform and hanging with friends. I know that somewhere in there before I graduated we (my rommate Rick and I) had introduced Kylson and Robin to David's performances as well ... Anyway, I thought I'd insert this into the whole thing.

I swore to myself I was going to finish college this school year. If the scheduling had been right I could have done it in that first semester. As it was I had one of the three classes I needed in the first semester, and two in the last. This meant taking a class just to "fill in" so I could keep my part-time job (student jobs required a minimum of six credits -- two classes). I took a "Theatre Practicum" class, which sort of put me back in touch with the theatre gang. The last couple of years I had not been doing anything in theatre because I was trying to finish college. I showed up the first day, sat in the front row and was asked if I was on the "10 Year Plan" and I joked about being on the "Tenure Plan -- once I am here long enough they can't kick me out!" This class means you get credit for working in the theatre. I volunteered to run lights that year for one of the plays, which gave me the credit I needed. That was fun -- I'd never actually worked a show from that end before.

I couldn't get a student loan for part time school. However, I was working, and I was able to afford it all!

That first semester went by awfully quickly. Rick and I discovered a guy (David Ruthstrom) singing at one of the restaurant/bars in town who put on a really great show, and we spent a lot of time going and seeing him when he was in town. I have several tapes that were done by Annie and others during some of David's performances. I seem to recall that Rick and I got Kylson hooked on David's work as well. He was a folk singer with a really deep voice (but a great range) and a twelve string guitar. That was all he needed.

Rick and I also did things like stopping and watching the Northern Lights. That was pretty cool. I have always loved the lights and you can get some great displays in the Fairbanks area.

I spent some time visiting with Beth up in her dorm room periodically, but it was literally just visiting. Often I'd sit on the bed while she sat at her desk doing homework and we'd just chat for hours. I remember going to The Pub with her for some party or other and not quite getting up the nerve to ask her to dance. I remember going to a movie on campus with her. I also recall her doing nice things, like the time she dropped off at the UACN office an eclair from a bakery down the hill from the campus. We danced around each other a bit, but as noted, nothing ever quite came of it.

There was a girl named Cindy (I cannot remember her last name) that I met in email -- I sort of knew who she was by sight, but didn't really know her. I flirted with her in email and she took me up on it. We went out to dinner, had a fun time, she spent the night ... It lasted a short while, but she was interested in in being more serious than I was (after the first or second date she wanted me to meet her parents -- I wasn't quite ready for that, at that point!). So I actually cooled it off (yes, I broke off a relationship, even before it was "in trouble"!). I wanted to graduate and I wasn't going to let anyone keep me from it this time!

Somehow I managed to get through the classes without crapping out again, I think Kent Widmayer helped a lot in the Computer Science class.

I don't remember Christmas ... I know it happened ...

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

Bardic Circle

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