At any rate, I was glad I had made the decision, and I was determined to come. I knew, however, that Charlayne and Hamilton would not be there that summer, and that I would be alone. And that bothered me, because I am sort of gregarious. I like to talk, and to dialogue with people. And I thought, well, you know, hopefully I'll make some friends. Well, the students, for the most part, were not unkind. There were some incidents but for the most part they just ignored me. I was just a non-person. I could have been a ghost, I guess. And that bothered me more than anything else. The loneliness of being…you eat alone, you sleep alone, of course, you go to classes, and in class, I took only music classes my first semester, or quarter here. And in music, it seems that music people are a little more, I don't know, attuned to being human. They were friendly in class, but outside of class, no, which was okay. But when I went to the dining hall, I had to go alone. There was one incident, I don't know if you read about it, on my 25th birthday, because I was 24 when I came, and I had my birthday here on campus. And a friend who had….a white young lady who was in art, went with me to register when I came down for the first time. I don't know who, to this day, who arranged that, but we registered together at Stegeman, now Coliseum, then it was a gymnasium. And, as we approached the line of registration, there was a hush over this big crowd of folk outside the gym when we were in line. And they just looked us up and down from head to toe, and I thought, all I can hear is our muted voices talking to each other. That was a very uncomfortable moment, because I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't expect a riot, but I was uneasy because of that. And she had a lot of courage, I mean she certainly didn't have to do that. But she met me at a local black dentist's office here in Athens, and we registered together. I have never forgotten that. That was an act of kindness. But going on to my birthday, she told me that we would go to the Westminster House for hot dogs. And, you know, I didn't suspect anything. I had met Corky King, who was a minister there, and his wife and his family, he had two young daughters, had gone over because it was right sort of across the street from Center Myers.
And you lived in Center Myers?
Mhm, I lived in the same room that Charlayne did. And I thought, the first day I got there, I thought, “Why would they put her right on the street in a very vulnerable spot, on the first floor? That makes no sense." But of course, it was not a dorm room. It was a counselor's suite, and they were keeping her away from the other occupants, and me too. When I got here, after May March, was the young lady's name, and I had registered, I went to housing and found they didn't have a card for me. And I thought, “did they think I wasn't coming?" But anyway, I wanted to be on campus, though I was a grad student, because I thought, “You know, this is where you get to see the most people and people get to see you because I thought, this is what is needed. We need to begin to mix so people can stop being afraid. We are afraid of each other and there is no need to be, because there are more commonalties than there are differences.” At any rate, we went across the street to the Westminster House, and, lo and behold, there was a birthday party for me. And that was…I couldn't believe it. It just blew my mind that these people didn't even know me, and here they were celebrating my birthday. And there were other people there, and I really enjoyed it. They had a birthday cake, and they had ice cream, and they had the hot dogs. And it was just great. And I thought, “You know, this is not so bad after all.” It really lifted my spirits, and at that time I really needed that because it was pretty lonely.