No Milestones continued…
Having possession of a green card gave me the freedom to enrol in schools, universities and apply for work anywhere I wanted at any time. I immediately enrolled in a nearby school that offered GED classes which consisted of Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics. There were three components to Language Arts: Grammatical, Writing, and Reading.
Since I had done CSE’s in English Composition and English Literature, I breezed through this even though I had to contend with various differences with spelling, some punctuation, and new world literature. Science is the same wherever you are… chemistry, biology, earth/space etc. and while it was not one of my strong points, (chemistry was the one I struggled with most) it was familiar enough not to pose any real difficulties for me. I found social studies to be the most varied with a completely different approach and perspective to how we learned in school. I found it extremely interesting as it was composed mainly of US geography and US history, (with some world history/geography) civics, and economics. Due to my intrigue, I managed to soak it up surprisingly well. Then there was my nemesis… mathematics. I have to admit, I spent as much time studying math problems and trying to come to terms with algebra in particular, as I did all the other subjects combined. However, I was determined not to let it beat me, just as much as I was determined to prove my high school math teacher wrong when she told me I would never pass my CSE in math. I did pass it, but by the skin of my teeth.
While all my studying was going on, I also did several jobs with George here and there. I soon realised that this was about the limit to where things would stand when it came to working with George. Even Ellen felt the need to keep pestering him to give me some work to do, but mainly so that I would have some money coming in from him for work I had done, which I found preferable to Ellen badgering him for money when we were skint. George and I enjoyed each other’s company enough and worked well enough together when we did, it’s simply that George has been used to doing his own thing on his own for God knows how long, and he found it extremely difficult to give up any sort of control… even for his daughter. The last thing I wanted was for him to think he had to do that anyway, so I found a part-time job as a cleaner in the Bowling Green Bank. This solved George’s dilemma and gave Ellen and I another steady, although be it, meagre income while still allowing me ample time to study, easing pressure all ‘round.
As other things went, Ellen was also becoming irritated by our living arrangements and it was beginning to put a strain on her relationship with Nammie. Nammie and I got along famously while Ellen was at WKU or working at the radio station, it’s just that we no room for privacy when she wasn’t. We both realised it was a recipe for disaster staying at Nammie’s apartment and was never to be a long-term solution. So when the fall came and it was time for Ellen to enrol in her senior year at WKU, she used up a good part of her student loan to pay a deposit on a small rental home for us and to purchase much-needed furnishings with the understanding that all our joint earnings would have to go towards bills and food rather than eating out so much.
We spent our first Christmas together in our one bed, little wooden house! I mention wooden because I’d never lived in a house of wood before. All the homes I ever lived in growing up were made of brick. It was absolutely delightful.
In March 1986 I had passed my exams and received my High School Equivalency Certificate. We celebrated by eating out with the family and Ellen bought me the ACT study guide to prepare for the college entrance exams. I was elated and had no doubt that I would be ready to take the exams in time to enrol in WKU by the fall. Finally, I was going to university!