JLO’s 1972 production of Oliver! on the set I designed
For the past eleven years, as my summer vacation waned each August, I would avoid for as long as possible thinking about having to go back to school. When that moment finally came and I had to focus on getting ready, I would prepare my tender psyche as best I could for all the new situations I would be thrown into and all the new people I would encounter who I did not know, and did not know me. The latter had always been particularly problematic for me, because I was shy and I hated being judged by other people, particularly people who I had not had the long time I typically needed to establish “diplomatic relations” with them. Those “diplomatic relations” involved the other person accepting and respecting me for all the aspects of myself that I had revealed and my doing the same for them. The more I could reveal over time the stronger the relationship became and the more I could relax and be myself. Any person I could not establish this sort of pact with I would avoid as best I could. School seemed always to be a problematic venue for my sort of interpersonal “diplomacy”.
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Me and my Ado Annie in Oklahoma
They say that the only two things you can be sure of in life are death and taxes. But for most every kid, the one thing you can be sure of is going to school, which for me was a taxing and at times felt like a near-death experience. For twelve straight years (I skipped kindergarten) , whether I liked it or not, whether it was the right place for me to develop myself or not, I reported dutifully in the fall and served until the next summer. At this point I had spent the last eleven straight years dutifully reporting to my designated school facility each September and dreading it each and every time.
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