It was 1979, and I was trying to find a job in my field of teaching Theatre in a college. I had sent out a lot of letters. I had gotten some positive responses, but nowhere that I would feel comfortable. Then, Lander College in Greenwood, SC said for me to come see them. Greenwood was the town where my father was from, and where my Grandmother still lived. I even have a street named allegedly after me (W Durst Street) that runs next to Lander.
I had to think about leaving Ft. Worth. I had a good job that I enjoyed at Sanger Harris. I had a girl who I loved named Kare. I had a great apartment across from TCU. All of those things made it harder to leave. I made the decision that I had to go. I quit my job. They understood. I terminated my lease from my apartment. They understood. I had to tell Kare. That was more difficult. We talked about her moving with me to South Carolina. She was in college at UTA and liked the courses there. She said she had an uncle in Atlanta, and we could meet up there, when she visited him. Our last time together was when she picked up my Stearns & Foster mattress from my apartment. I asked her to sell it for me, as I couldn't take it with me. It was incredibly sad.
I also needed to do something about all of my records and books, as I had accumulated a lot, and they wouldn't fit in my car. A friend told me about shipping them on the train back to Columbia, and it wouldn't cost much. I got everything boxed up and took it to the train station. When the boxes arrived in Columbia, my father picked them up. Somewhere along the way, a handler had stuck a metal rod into the side of each of the boxes, which put a dent into the cover of most of my records. I was not pleased.
I left Ft. Worth with my car and clothes. I drove to Vicksburg, MS which was my standard stop on the way back. I couldn't sleep that night, as I was missing Kare and the other people I had left behind. I got up at 3am, and left Vicksburg at 4am. I got to Atlanta around 5pm and called home. I told my parents that I was going to try and get to Columbia. By the time I started on that last stretch of highway on I-20, I was very sleepy and very wired. I didn't know anything about anything. My mind had cut-off, but I was still driving to Columbia. I had on the radio full-blast to try and stay awake. I had the window down to get fresh air. About halfway there, I realized I was running out of gas. Anyone who has driven on I-20 between Atlanta and Augusta knows that there aren't many gas stations on that stretch. I passed an exit where one was, and stopped. In my stupor, I backed up on the interstate to get back to that exit. I know it was stupid to do so, especially at night, but thankfully there were no cars coming. I got the gas and moved on.
I got to Columbia around 9pm and went to my parents' house. No talking. Some hugging. A lot of sleeping. After a few days, I contacted Lander about coming there for an interview, and I was told that they had changed their minds about me coming to teach there. I was back home. If I had known about Lander's decision, I could have had more time with Kare. God had other plans for me.