Yes, we have, finally, sold our house in Sylva, so the last, physical ties to Jackson County have been severed. Of course, it’s much harder to separate from the emotional ones. Overall, Western and Jackson County have been pretty good for us….
When I first went to WCU, in the fall of 1971, to join the Department of Speech & Theatre Arts, Western was considered “the most rural university in the country” and was (in my opinion) a rather underrated little school of about 5000 students (as I remember it) in the mountains of North Carolina. A certain amount of that hasn’t changed, although there have been many changes along the way. Many of the current campus buildings didn’t exist yet and Western’s population (faculty, staff and student) has grown considerably. Personally, I had my M.A. from Indiana and had been working for two years with Theatre 65—The Children’s Theatre of Evanston, Illinois, then the longest continuously operating children’s theatre in the country, where I had been Technical Director and done some scenic and lighting design, as well as directing a couple of shows with, mostly, Middle School students. Simply the chance to work with college students was an exciting change, which I continued to enjoy, at least most of the time.
Down the years, I picked up my Doctorate at the University of Georgia; with my wife, Bonnie, I watched our two daughters grow up, go to school and move on with their lives; I had the chance to direct, design scenery and lighting (often both); fulfill professional roles as Technical Director, Producer, Faculty Fellow for Instructional Technology, Faculty Senator, Chair of the Faculty; and, most importantly, to know and work with numerous colleagues, faculty and student on about 300 productions and countless classes. We also acquired two grandchildren to watch grow up while we lived there. All in all, it’s been quite a run.
After retirement, Bonnie and I moved to Omaha, Nebraska to be near our younger daughter, Maggi. This is a surprisingly nice place to live and we are enjoying it a great deal. There is an active theatre and arts scene, several colleges and universities in the local area and it’s only about an hour from the University of Nebraska. I started a blog (this one) to discuss things of interest to me and, perhaps, others and it now has 76 entries (counting this one). I’m more conscious of taking better care of my physical health now than I was before, trying to get a bit more exercise, etc. and we get to go to the local museums, zoo, theatres, etc. with some frequency. We keep reasonably busy. While I do still miss the mountains from time to time, I do NOT miss 8:00 classes.
Still, a part of my heart will always remain in Cullowhee and with the people I have known there. Looking back, it’s been a good run, but, like all runs, it has closed and we are looking at new adventures and experiences.
I’d love to hear from old friends anytime they want to drop me a line. In any event, I hope all of my old colleagues remember to “Break a leg!” I’m looking forward to what the future may bring to all of us.
With great affection,