My senior year was so much fun but I was ready to move on. My applications to college had been sent out and I ran for the mail everyday to see who wanted me.. To my great pleasure and surprise UCI, the new university in Irvine had accepted me. Wow, only three in my school made it in and for me that was major. My parents could not afford to send me out of state and at the time we lived in Anaheim and I could easily drive to Irvine..
Irvine was undeveloped when the university opened . On Macarthur road you were likely to run over squirrels, possoms, rabbits and other creatures and there was still a buffalo farm about a half mile away. Students would go over to the old buffalo farm to “watch the buffalo roam” at night… that was similar to parking on the beach and watching the submarine races, if you get my drift. I went there one evening with a date in a Nash. The Nash was an “endangered” car and has long since been put to rest, thank the Lord!! You see it had a very peculiar feature, the seats then were not divided, the front seat was just one long seat, like the back. And with the click of a lever the front seat fell al the way to the back seat.!!! I jumped out of that car (that is another story :)..
The campus was so nice and because it was new and in Irvine the students had come from all over the country and from around the world. Most of the students had wealthy families, I was the exception… And my circle of friends was made up of many different nationalities. But my circle of girl friends was a small one of five. Dana , the preacher’s daughter from Oakland, Maria, the mafia princess, Jeri, hometown girl, Marnie, the New York sophisticate and me, the one with rose colored glasses and the “I am a virgin, what is your problem” button. Buttons were very big then. My favorites were my Beatles and my Angela Davis. Every one wore a button of some kind on campus, it was part of your accessory tray..
We had what was called the “Quad”, which had a restaurant and some very large booths, that was our daily meeting place for lunch. We had so many deep conversations at our favorite spot, but we never seemed to settle anything because by the time we really got deeeeep, lunch was over!… We were young and discovering so many things and we tested everything we had ever heard, at least verbally. I had one Philosphy professor that had me hanging on every word he said. We would meet twice a month at midnight on a Friday night on the beach in Newport. He would bring wood and about forty of us would sit and listen to him talk and talk. I Ching was one of his favorites, I really did not understand most of what he said, but he had such charisma., who cared.
One day it was raining and so I left a class early and ran all the way to the quad, when I landed, my girl friends had not yet arrived, but Bernie, from my Statistics class, was there alone. So why not join him?? he was okay with that and we sat down and starting debating the need to study statistics, since we were political science majors. We both decided that rats had nothing to do with law, boy were we naive.. We were laughing over this when my group entered. I waved at them, they saw me, but kept on going and sat down at another booth. In fact, Marni even looked at me rather angrily… I was disturbed and told Bernie, “What’s their trip?”… “Maybe they don’t like me”.. he said… “Don’t be ridiculous, they don’t even know you.” He left shortly after that, said he had an apointment in the lab.
When he left, I moved to my friends booth and sat down. “Hey, why did you shine me on earlier?”……. Marnie looked at me with a very stern face, “We do not eat with Jews.”.. “Ok, what are you talking about?”… Marnie again “Bernie is a Jew.” The anger rose up in me and I spoke back “Bernie is my friend, I don’t care what he is, are you serious?”.. They just bowed their heads and went back to eating. I left rather confused. What did his religion have to do with friendship? and being the optimist that I am, I was sure that in the future, they would come around.
That first year and my last, it turns out I was not ready for college. 12 years of straight A’s had started to have it’s effect on me, burn out was showing up and I really wanted to just party, party, party!!!!!!! One of my most favorite friends of all was VT… that is what I called him, his real name was something like this Vahanajipanjara, (something like that). It was a very long Siamese name (Thailand then was called Siam). He was of royal blood and was a prince. He was exceptionally tall for his people, standing over six feet. To me he was handsome, funny, extremely smart and we became close. He also was artistic and he told me that in his culture, he had to learn certain dances that had been handed down and in one of them he could actually bend his hands backward, almost to his wrists. This was something he had practiced since childhood, not something you could learn overnight. He could cook and had a cute little apartment on Balboa Island. Balboa Island was very expensive and it was cool to have a friend there, and we went to a lot of parties on the island.
He was a great cook and I have been hooked on Thai food every since, especially the pho soups, and pad thai. He invited me to a dance and of course, I said yes, Dancing was my thing, just loved to dance, my body did not always co-operate with me, but it did not matter. Some of the best songs ever written, were written in the sixties. Even today Motown still makes you want to move!. We were hanging again in the quad and talking about our dresses for the dance, mine was a grey and white polka dot, mini dress and it was killer. So of course we were all comparing notes. Marni asked me who my date was and I told her “VT”………. she got real, real ,real ugly…. “Tell me you are not going out with that Gook.” she practically yelled. That was it!!!! “Don’t ever call him that again, and as of 12:35 PM, which is in about 1 minute, you are no longer my friend.” She had issues and she was out of my circle, clip, remove, gone. chain is shortened.
Dana had called for a little picnic in her dorm room later on that month and she assured me that Marni, was not included, so I showed up. We were laughing and having fun. We talked about Marni and agreed that she did not fit. Because of her comments, the subject of interaccial dating popped up. “You are a real radical Linda for dating VT, you should be a hippie.” Hmm, I thought to myself, I wonder if hippies party…
As we rambled on Dana threw this thought out “Would you ever date a black guy?” Maria our token mafia princess,was the first to answer, “Absolutely not, my father would have him snuffed, if he is not Italian, my father will not even let him in the house.”… Jeri was right to the point, ” I never thought about it, but probably not, I love blond, blue eyed men, especially if they surf.” ( Yes she was a little shallow)….and she turned it back to Dana, “What about you?”.. Dana told us this “My father is a Christian Minister and I think he would be very happy if I did .He has always taught us to love every race.”.. the only one left was me and for me it was real simple “I probably never would date a black guy, just beause ,I don’t even know one black person. .” NEVER SAY NEVER….