When I was younger, I was sure of very little. My future that was out in front of me extended a few days, maybe a few weeks. In the summer the time was marked out a little clearer starting with "how many days until the pool opened". Then once into the days of summer, it was all about "How many days until baseball is done, so we can go to the lake?"... which rolled directly into "How many days left of the lake before we have to go home?" and "How many days left of summer?"... each mark of benchmark that we reached came too fast or too slow depending on the amount of enjoyment we were getting out of the current situation. Summer in general flew by way to fast. I couldn't do enough nothing to fill it up and make it go slow. The only time it seemed to be perfect, the only time I can remember being so amazingly content that I vividly remember the moment was when the hammock was up in the back yard and the day was perfect for a nap.
Dad had buried two 8" x 8" posts that were about 7 feet long out just out from the deck behind the house at angles away from each other... like this: \ / .... the hammock hung perfectly between them and was a comfortable place to just chill out in back.
On one particular summer afternoon, mom told me to go take a nap. I think I was in about 9th grade or so and while I wasn't real big on taking naps, it sure seemed like a pretty good idea. I went out and sat in the hammock and just kind of swung there and stared up at the gently gliding white clouds in the blue sky. The birds were chirping and it had to be a perfect 70 degrees in the shade as I remember I was perfectly comfortable and when mom brought out a fleece blanket and laid it on me, it was none too warm, but a perfect way to fall right to sleep. It must've been late in summer as the walnuts had dropped off the tree and you could smell the bitter sap of the green walnuts that had been hit by the mower or stepped on and the green hull had started to rot. We never harvested those and tried to clean the walnuts, but I do remember picking them up in the fall and throwing them in with the leaves.
But I remember sleeping so soundly out in that fresh air for a couple of hours and I remember thinking about how perfect that moment was.
But besides thinking about the days of summer left or a few weeks or months to the next holiday, every so often I would have these visions about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some of my earliest ventures into predictions included being a radio DJ. Who couldn't admire those cool cats on the radio playing the hottest tunes. Who didn't think Johnny Fever was the coolest guy on tv? Exactly! After a few failed demo cassettes of myself trying to sound cool, it was upon listening to my own voice that I didn't like the way that I sounded and figured that this dream was not worth pursuing.
So then I moved onto wanting to be a stuntman. Burt Reynold's antics in Smokey in the Bandit and Hooper (a movie about stuntmen) led me to this thought. I remember trying to figure out how to take a fall off my bike onto grass but couldn't ever get the guts to speed up the lead up to it so instead of a controlled accident, it was really just me tipping over on my bike.
I wanted to be a fireman for a while, but that was usually just whenever I was playing with the hose... I think we've all been there.
I wanted to be a motorcycle cop for a while... CHiPs was a pretty cool show and Ponch was the coolest. I could emulate the idea, but quite impractical on a bmx bike.
I did want to be an artist for a while when I was younger, but the future of it didn't seem like a great idea... Garretson didn't even have art in the high school, so there was no instruction (albeit for a couple of years when Ron Borstad taught a group of students in some capacity... I took it at the same time as my chorus and would go to art one day a week and then meet with him on the side for independent study as well. But then that ended and I never had art again until college.
Archeology was really my focus in high school... I loved history. I loved science. I was really focusing myself to become an archeologist or paleontologist but starting with a Chemistry and Biology degree was going to be my first step. Plan B was going to be utilizing my Chem and Bio for Pharmacy. Then, Chemistry 151 hit me and it hit me hard. My lab instructor at SDSU was Chinese and he did NOT speak much english and did NOT care that we did not understand him. He spoke quickly and demanded that we follow along. He assumed that we all had the Periodic Table memorized and didn't seem to care if we struggled because our atomic weights weren't fresh in our brains.. I was about in tears in college that my future in science was going away quickly when one night it was like a lightbulb went off and I pulled an immediate 180 degrees....
I remember the night that the "enlightenment" happened. I lived in Brown Hall, fourth floor. It was the quiet floor of the quiet dorm. The two sides of the building were not connected except for on the ground level. So while the west wing was girls, we only saw them in the lobby. I had befriended a girl from Mitchell and a couple of us from 4th east were over in her room hanging out on 4th west. We were sitting around, about 4 of us just trying to visit and watch tv, but the girl I knew's roommate was sitting in the middle of the room on the floor with a large pad of paper drawing and drawing and drawing. She was working feverishly on one drawing then another and I didn't even pay her that much attention until curiosity from my artistic side finally spoke up and asked her what she was drawing. She said that this was homework and that she needed to get her "out-of-class drawings" handed in by the next day. "Drawing homework?... for what class?" I asked her. She explained that they were for drawing class. ..... I was floored. "We have drawing classes up here? For what?", I asked.
She had to then explain to me that there was ya whole art department... art degrees... graphic design degrees... printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting, drawing.... "You could even be an art teacher." And there it was.... the perfect chord was struck. My Plan C had always been to become a Chemistry Teacher as I just loved the idea of teaching, and now with the epiphany I had bestowed upon me, the two pieces went perfectly together.
This was the day before heading to Spring Break, I believe and I couldn't wait to go change major and get myself a new counselor. I was over to the art building immediately in the morning and talked to the secretary there about declaring a new major and getting started in the right courses the next semester. She assigned me my counselor, Helen Morgan, and I think I even got to meet with her right away.
I went home for break with a new sense of purpose and contentment knowing that I wanted to become an artist. It was what I had dreamed of doing a long time ago, but just never had the push to continue down that path by any teacher. It took a roommate of a girl I kind of knew and her homework to remind me what I really LOVED to do.
Later, I can go into some of my memories of what I remember from art classes and my journey to become an art student and maybe someday a teacher (spoiler alert, I have never taught), but I did enjoy the education I got and the friends that I made on the way.... besides, tipping over on my bike probably wouldn't have paid much.
I'm just a creative guy that's looking to throw all this spaghetti onto the wall and hope something sticks.