As I turned and saw the damp towel on the bed in my room in MA today, I remembered another damp towel on a bed in 1961 in Picayune, MS.
September 9 of that year, I married my son and daughter’s father. I met him at the Junior college where I taught. He was a student, flunked out of Loyola in New Orleans along with a handful of other guys. They all became my students. They were 19; I was 21. My first teaching job after graduating with a BA in English Literature, with minors in French, music, and journalism from Delta State College in 1959.
My position was to teach Speech (one would have to look carefully to find that as a major course, having had the one required course in Speech and nothing else) and Business English. Well, I did know how to write letters. My first day, my first class was Speech. Scanning the room, I saw all male faces about my age and one older female. My first thought was, “Oh, dear God, they forgot to teach me how to teach. Call the roll.” I never got through that task. All the names were French, and my knowledge of French escaped me…. not even Bourgeois seemed to come out right, much less Labiche, Toujacks, Seuzenio, etc. I have forgotten how to spell their names and not being home having no annual as reference.
The Bourgeois male leaned forward and said “That’s Bourgeois, you know,” in a Cajun accent. By the end of the year, these guys were my friends. The teachers/professors were so much older than I, that it seemed natural to me. I suppose back then it was not such a big deal and I knew from early on that I was too young to teach in college. Talking with the Dean, I said, and he agreed, that Soeech and Business English were not my forte and I should not plan on coming back. He made no reference to the flunked out Loyola students, one in particular. Thus my career ended there and I immediately found a position as a high school English teacher.
Oh, I married him. It rained that day. I had this strange feeling. This was a mistake.
He went back to the junior college; I drove to the high school in Kiln, MS. This particular day, I had to go back to school because I was also the cheerleader coach (once again something I knew nothing about) and in my rush to bathe and get back to school, I left my towel on the bed.
He declared I was having an affair with the gay English teacher whose classroom was adjacent to mine. Thus, the damp towel. It was all downhill from there even though we stayed married for 15 years and many girlfriends later.
The psychiatric physician he sent me to, because I was crazy, stated that he had projected onto me his own practices. This was years later.
Remember this. It comes around again.