Usually we did no farm work on Saturday or, if something was pressing, we only worked until lunch--well, until dinner because we had three meals a day: breakfast, dinner and supper. The only time dinner wasn't in the middle of the day was if you went out in the evening, then that was dinner. You ate lunch at school. Anyway, when Grandmom called me one Saturday morning in August, she reminded me Granddad had a lot of hay which needed to be baled and put in the hay shed before rain spoiled it. "It'll take you two most of the day," she added.
The day was cloudy, hot and sticky--seemed like it always was when there was hay to be made. Granddad kept looking at the sky, anxious that we finish before the forecast rain came. When we got the last bale in the shed there still had been no rain and we had finished with most of the hay for the year. "Good job, Douglas," Granddad said putting his arm around my shoulder as we walked to the house. Mountain men are supposed to be distant, not showing affection, but Granddad was the exception to the rule, I guess, and I liked it. He was much more open in his affection than my dad had been. The first time Grandmom saw us walking with Granddad's arm across my shoulders, she laughed since he had to reach up to do it. He definitely took after his Cherokee ancestors in that he was short--about five nine, I guess--and stocky.
Saturday nights Granddad cooked or took us out to eat--usually to a fast food place. Since we had been making hay all day, we both were tired, sweaty and dirty as we walked to the house. Granddad opened the back door for me and said, "Get spiffed up, Douglas. I think we deserve a real night on the town."
I showered and shaved--I only shaved once or twice a month since my Indian blood made more than that unnecessary, probably even that often wasn't necessary. When I was ready to get dressed, I yelled downstairs, "How dressy?""Nothing too special," Granddad called back. "Shirt and slacks or nice shorts will be fine." I had learned that what I had called dress pants, Granddad called slacks. Shirt and slacks meant dress pants and a button-up or rugby shirt. I asked about dress because I had been treated as if I was stupid when I hadn't been "properly dressed" according to Grandmother Wilson. Well, you'd never get in the restaurant of my parents' country club in an open-necked shirt and shorts, which was how I dressed, on Saturday night. But Clarksville was different and I didn't want to embarrass my grandparents by being over- or under-dressed.
We drove into Clarksville and went to the Gourmet Uptown, a nice restaurant. I looked at the menu and the prices and decided Granddad had made a mistake. I guess he saw the look on my face because he said, "Douglas, we both worked hard today--in fact all week. We are not wealthy, but occasionally I think we deserve something special, so order what you want."
"Ok, if you say so."
"Even a shrimp cocktail?" I asked.
"Certainly," Grandmom answered.
"How's the sauce?"
"It will clean the hay out of your sinuses," Granddad laughed.
"Just the way I like it," I said and ordered a shrimp cocktail, prime rib, baked potato, a small Greek salad and a mixture of steamed summer vegetables. While we waited for our meal, the waiter brought fresh hot bread and real butter which I loved.
Shortly after our order had been taken, an elderly man walked out of the back and to a piano I hadn't noticed. He started playing show tunes and pop music from the fifties and sixties. He wasn't bad, but he certainly wasn't really good. Nonetheless, it was clear that Grandmom and Granddad were enjoying it.
"I really miss my piano," I said and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them. My granddad had said he'd have my piano shipped from Durham and I guess he had forgotten it, but I shouldn't have reminded him. My grandparents were, I was sure, making sacrifices for me and the idea of bugging them to spend money shipping my piano wasn't something I should have done.
"You really do like to play, don't you?" Grandmom asked.
"Yes, I really do. Granddad asked me earlier if I played because I was made to or because I liked it," I answered. "I started because I was made to then came to love it."
"Sorry I forgot to tell you," Granddad said, "but there was a holdup on shipping your piano. I was told that if I was willing to wait until there was a mover coming in this general direction, I could get it moved for about a third of what it would cost to ship it right away. I knew you'd be busy, so I told the movers to bring it when they had a load for the Asheville area."
"And, Gerald, I forgot to tell you there was a call from the moving company today. They had just picked up the piano and it will be here the middle of next week," Grandmom said.
Our food arrived and I think Granddad was as hungry as I was, because we both tackled the food and the talking just about stopped. When we finished, we walked to the town square wh
re a group was playing bluegrass. I knew it was mountain music as I had heard it a few times, but that was about all I knew about it and I had never seen it being played. What I noticed was that the people playing and those standing around or sitting on the grass were enjoying it tremendously. I was also struck by the fact that they were all ages.
The musicians were at the back of a low platform. As they played, an old man--older than Granddad--and a girl--maybe ten or eleven--got on the platform and started dancing. Mom made sure I had dance lessons, but I had never seen anything like what was going on. "What are they doing, Granddad?" I asked.
"Clogging. It's a mountain tradition." The two dancers had steel taps on their shoes and were really making noise dancing on the platform. They were soon joined by others, again all ages. People were really having fun and the whole thing was exciting to me. When the guys playing finally took a break, another group took the platform. They were much older than the first group and before they started, one of the women said, "We gonna play for a buck dance if we have somebody to dance."
Grandmom looked at Granddad, laughed and said, "They're calling for you, Old Man." The first few times I heard my grandparents calling each other Old Man and Old Woman, I thought they must be mad at each other, but I soon learned those were their terms of endearment.
"Old Woman, you know I'm worn out after working all week."
"Since when did that stop you? Go on up there."
Just as Grandmom spoke, someone across from us yelled, "Gerald, think you can out-dance an old man tonight?"
"Harry, you old buzzard, I'll take you on any day!"
Harry, whoever he was, was definitely older than Granddad, and had a long gray beard. As he approached the platform from one side, Granddad did from the other. The musicians started playing and the two men started dancing. "Used to be only men would buck dance. It wasn't ladylike," Grandmom said, "but these days women do. Anyone who wants, does."
"Do they always dance alone?"
"Sure, that's what makes it buck dancing--well, that and the fact that buck dancers are men showing off, trying to impress the women," Grandmom laughed.
"Did Granddad show off for you?"
"What do you think he's doing now, Douglas?" Grandmom smiled and, I think, was remembering earlier days.
We listened to the music and watched the dancers for an hour or so. As we were leaving, I saw someone standing at the edge of the crowd, watching. It was the guy from the park. As I looked at him, he looked up, directly at me. I swear, I felt as though he could see even my secret thoughts. It seemed as though he not only could see everything about me, but was asking me to look into his life. As I held his black eyes with mine, I knew there was something connecting the two of us. Then he just lowered his gaze and, I swear, disappeared before my eyes. After I came out of my daze, I was puzzled about my reaction to fellow in the park both now and earlier in the summer.
My grandparents and I went by the ice cream parlor and had ice cream before going home. It was a wonderful evening and, for the first time since my family died, I had really forgotten myself and just enjoyed being alive.
As we drove home, I kept talking a blue streak, I guess trying to make the evening last. When I paused for breath, Granddad laughed and said, "I take it you enjoyed the evening," which started me again.
Later, as I lay on my bed thinking about the evening, I thought about the guy in the park. He seemed like some kind of magical creature who could appear and disappear at will. As I thought about him, I felt--I don't know how to describe it--like he was a part of me... no, like he could make my life complete. I couldn't explain how I felt deep inside, but I did recognize one thing, I was horny and hard. Thinking about him and imagining him holding me in his arms, I took matters in hand, so to speak. When my climax hit, his face was before me.
The summer was drawing to a close and with it the summer's farm work. I had more time on my hands with little to do. Most days found me, at one time or another, on my rock. I decided the bear or deer must have a salt lick or something in the valley below me, for frequently I saw movement in the same spot. A couple times I thought I almost saw whatever was down there, but never saw enough to know what it was. I didn't know why, but I felt pulled to the mysterious presence across the meadow.
I had started taking a handful of tissues with me to clean up because I almost always took care of my physical needs atop the rock after I got undressed. Sometimes I took it slow and easy, other times I wanted to get off NOW. After my climax, I usually lay on the rock, nude, soaking up the sun. I didn't spend enough time nude to even out my tan, but I was definitely tanned all over.
One afternoon I felt very lazy as I lay on the rock, nude, glazing at the lazy clouds drifting across a blue, blue late summer sky. My thoughts seemed to be drifting along with them. School was less than two weeks away and I would not be returning to St. Stephen's. When I realized that, I also realized it didn't matter. It wasn't like I'd not be seeing my friends. Mom had kept me so busy doing "things proper young men do" that I didn't have time for friends--piano, dance, martial arts and art lessons, soccer, baseball and swimming--practically every minute of my life was scheduled. Well, that was over.
My grandparents and I talked about what was available and what I wanted to do. "Some things are out because they are not available," Grandmom had said. "There are no serious art lessons around here. The only dance we have is a cloggers' group which meets at the Methodist Church Thursday nights and sometimes has a dance or goes to one Saturday night. There is soccer for young kids, but none for your age. You'll have piano lessons and probably swimming on the Y team. There'll be baseball team later on if you make it and you should. I guess you'll be busy, but still have some time to yourself."
I thought about how full my schedule would be and wondered how I had managed to keep up with the one I had in Durham. Of course, in addition to the things on my schedule, there'd be work around the farm. I decided before I'd let every minute be scheduled as it had been in Durham, I'd drop baseball--I mean if I got on the team. But Coldsprings didn't have fall baseball, so I wouldn't have to worry about that until practice and conditioning started in February. Of course I needed to keep in condition until then, but swimming on the Y team would take care of that.
My thoughts just drifted along and I grew very sleepy. I heard a noise down in the valley and raised up slowly and quietly, hoping to see what my visitor was. The spot where I had seen movement again and again was about twenty or thirty feet below where I was, and a couple or three hundred yards out. As I raised up, I saw movement in the bushes. Whatever it as was, was approaching the edge of undergrowth and would soon be in the alpine meadow between us. I was hardly breathing as I watched, waiting, hoping the creature would reveal itself.
The bushes parted and the guy from the park stepped into the meadow, nude! I started to shout to him but thought better of it, fearing I would frighten him and he would run. He walked into the meadow, proud, his head held high. He raised his arms above his head and turned around slowly, allowing me to see his body was tanned all over--no tan lines. As he turned, he was shouting something. I wasn't sure whether he was shouting words or just shouting. Looking at him, I saw, as I had in the park, that he was well-built, the kind of build that comes from hard work, not time in a gym. His long hair was blowing in the wind as he turned toward me. I thought again, "No-one would call him cute, but to me he is beautiful." I fell in love with him on the spot.
Suddenly I felt something wet hit my stomach and as I did, I woke up. My heart pounding as I looked across the meadow and saw nothing. The guy from the park, at least today, was all in my imagination--in my dream--a very wet dream, I might add.
I grabbed the tissues I brought with me and wiped myself clean. "You know something, Douglas, you have it bad, really bad. You have to have it bad to have a wet dream in the middle of the afternoon," I said to myself. After sitting for several minutes, thinking about the dream and my reaction to it, I finally dressed and headed back to the house.
Nearing the house, I saw a moving van pull away and noticed a strange car in the drive. As I walked in the kitchen door, Grandmom called to me from the living room, "Get in here, Douglas. You have a surprise." Walking into the living room, I saw much of it taken up by my piano.
Suddenly everything came rushing back. I felt the tears as they started streaming down my face. My stomach was churning big time just before I collapsed.
The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the kitchen, my head between my legs and Grandmom was bathing my face with a cool wet cloth. "I feel like a fool," I said as soon as I had gotten a hold on myself. I looked up at Grandmom, then saw Granddad and a stranger looking at me. Seeing them, I managed a weak smile. "Why am I such a mess now? I mean, of course I have thought about my family. I've even cried a lot--by myself on the mountain, in my bed--but nothing like this," I asked myself.
When I spoke some of the same thoughts aloud, Granddad responded, "Douglas, a part of the grief process is denial. Sometimes we don't even know we are denying that we have lost someone, and in your case your whole family. Sure, at times, it hits you, but here you were not doing anything vastly different from what you have done the past summers you have spent with us. Of course you have been here longer, but most of the time it was just like last summer." Granddad's voice held concern, care and love as he spoke. "But today, when you saw your piano, something very close to you, not in your home in Durham but here, there was no denying what had happened and you were overcome. I'm sure it doesn't feel that way to you, but you are moving along in the grief process."
As Granddad spoke, what he said made a lot of sense. We sat quietly in the kitchen and gradually I regained control of my emotions. I was still recovering when Granddad introduced me to Mr. Hudson, the piano tuner. Finally, when I felt normal again, I said, "I think I'd like to go for a walk."
"Are you sure?" Grandmom asked.
"Yes, very sure.""Do you want me to go with you?" Granddad asked.
"Thanks, but no, I think I need to be alone." I really did want to be alone, but I wasn't sure Granddad would understand.
As if reading my mind, he said, "I understand, but I am here if you want me to go."
"Thanks," I said, "but I'll be ok. I just need some space."
I walked back to the rock and sat looking out across the valley, watching the shadows play as clouds drifted across the sun's face. I guess I stayed for an hour or so, then walked slowly back to the house. When I got inside, I went to the living room where Mr. Hudson was just putting his tools away. "Want to try it out, Douglas, and see if I did a good job?" he smiled at me.
I sat down at the piano and started playing. As I played I thought, "I have lost so very, very much, but I haven't lost my music."
When I finished the piece I started, Mr. Hudson said, "You have a grand piano, Douglas, and it has a fine musician."
We all walked outside to say goodbye to Mr. Hudson and when we got back inside, I sat down and played for an hour, stopping only when Grandmom called to tell me to get ready for supper.
After supper, the three of us walked back to the living room which, with the piano in it, seemed to have become very small. Looking at the room, I said, "I think we might have made a mistake, bringing the piano. There's hardly room to turn around now."
"True," Granddad answered, "but how much time do we spend in the living room?" The answer. we all knew. was very little. As a matter of fact, I don't remember any of us spending any time there. Any time we had for relaxing, watching TV, anything, we spent in a large den. "Anyone who wants to sit in the living room will just have to deal with a piano," he added.
After the eleven o'clock news, I went upstairs to what was now my room and felt that it was mine as it had never been before. Yes, tonight I knew this was my home. I guess I was finally beginning to face the fact that my life had changed forever, something I suspect, as Granddad pointed out, I had been avoiding. I thought about my loss and before I could become too depressed, I also thought about how lucky I was in having grandparents who really loved and cared about me. I had lost my family and nothing would change that or make it good, but I had not lost everything.
As I drifted off to sleep, I recalled my dream of the guy from the park. I wondered who he was and why I felt such a strange kind of connection to him. As I thought about him, I smiled when I realized I only knew him as the guy in the park and decided I couldn't just keep calling him "the guy from the park." While I didn't know his name, he was, I thought, a kind of mountain spirit who could suddenly appear in my life then disappear. "Maybe one day I'll learn his name," I thought. "See you in my dreams, Nameless One," I said to him, wherever he was, and I did. I dreamed of him again and this time I joined him is his dance in the meadow.
Labor Day weekend was approaching rapidly. In fact, suddenly it was Wednesday before the weekend, Wednesday before school started the following Tuesday. "Wal-Mart in Clarksville has school supply lists," Grandmom said at breakfast, "but I suspect they do not have everything on the list. I guess we could wait until school opens, but why don't we go to Asheville and get what you need? I haven't checked, but do you need clothes?"
"Don't think so," I replied. "I have the school clothes from the end of last year. I had a growth spurt and had to have new ones a month or so before school was out and Mom bought them a bit big so they would last."
St. Stephen's always had the school supplies we would need in a small school store, but public schools didn't have stores, I guess. Instead, each teacher made a list of materials needed for her classes and gave it to stores who wanted to make a pitch to students. We went to Office Depot in Asheville, used the lists from my classes and started filling our order. I was surprised at how much was on the list and a bit staggered when the total was over $100. "That's a lot of money," I said. "Maybe we should put some things back."
"You'll need it all sooner or later," Grandmom said. "Teachers are pretty careful about putting unnecessary items on the list. Many families can't afford to buy everything on the list, so you'll have noticed some things are listed as optional, some as needed later. We could have gotten by without spending as much by leaving off the optional items and those which could be purchased later, but I hope you'll share with students who couldn't afford the optional items. After your dad graduated high school, your Granddad and I have always asked that a student whose parents couldn't afford school supples be given everything and we paid for it. Guess you are the lucky student this year," Grandmom smiled.
As we were checking out, I saw a notice pinned to a backpack which read "Give someone a backpack."
"What's that about Grandmom?" I asked, pointing to the display.
"It's for grade school kids whose parents can't afford a backpack and supplies. The backpack has all the supplies inside for a grade school child."
A backpack was only $25, so Grandmom said we would buy one when I asked. I knew we had kids on scholarship at St. Stephen's, but I guess they really weren't as poor as some of the mountain kids I'd get to know.
I had started playing the piano for an hour each night after supper. The first couple nights, my grandparents sat in the living room and listened, but I finally told them I appreciated their support, but they didn't have to listen every night. They started listening for shorter periods and finally had just gone into the den to watch TV. I closed the living room door so they could hear the programs they watched.
Thursday evening I was playing when I felt as though I was being watched. I glanced up at the window and thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I quickly got up, raced to the window and looked out. I wasn't sure, but I felt I had seen something--or someone--just before it or he disappeared into the darkness. I decided I was imagining things except I felt a strange sense of connection with something I didn't know out in the dark. When I returned to playing, I still had the feeling someone or something was watching me.
Friday evening I asked Granddad if we were doing anything special for Labor Day. "Haven't given it a great deal of thought," he answered. "Most folks around here stay pretty close to home since the highways are clogged by "flatlanders" getting in a last long weekend before schools start. Did you have something you'd like to do?"
"I guess not, well, actually..."
"Well, we always had a cookout or picnic with friends on Labor Day, but I guess..."
"Douglas, would you like for us to do something special?" Grandmom asked.
"Well, since I didn't mention it before and you weren't planning on it, maybe we could do it next weekend?"
"You might enjoy that more," Granddad said. "Things will be pretty dull around here after this weekend until mid-October when the "leaf watchers" clog the roads again, watching each leaf change color."
The weekend seemed to drag for me. There was no work on the farm beyond daily chores and school hadn't started, so I felt like I was suspended in time for two days, but Monday finally came. When I went down for breakfast, Grandmom was packing a picnic basket. "Your granddad and I did some talking," she said, "and decided we really did need to go on a picnic for Labor Day. We'll take your Jeep and drive as far as we can and walk, if we have to, the rest of the way to a spot we used to go to for picnics."
After breakfast, I cleaned up while Grandmom finished packing the picnic and Granddad finished the chores at the barn. "You might put on jeans," Grandmom said as I started upstairs. "Take shorts or cutoffs if you like, but we'll likely be walking through some brambles. We haven't seen the path since we quit going to the picnic spot years ago."
I went upstairs and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and grabbed a pair of cut-offs to take with me. I was really excited about going to a place in the woods the grandparents hadn't been to in years and which I had never seen.
When Granddad came back, Grandmom and I were ready to go. I took the picnic basket and she took quilts for us to sit on. We put the things in the Jeep and Granddad put a sharp ax in the back, then went to open a gate into the pasture. After I drove through, he fastened the gate and hopped in the Jeep. The pasture was pretty rough riding so I drove slowly with Granddad pointing the way.
We drove to the meadow beneath hanging rock and on beyond it. When we reached the edge of the meadow, Granddad pointed out what had been a trail, but was now pretty grown up. A couple times we had to stop while Granddad used the ax to cut a sapling he was afraid too thick for the Jeep to push over. After cutting the first sapling, he walked just ahead of the Jeep, spying out the trail. We drove another half mile, I guess, before the trail became so overgrown that we just parked the Jeep and walked. Shortly after we started walking I heard a waterfall, and not long after we walked into a clearing. A small river and a low waterfall made it a perfectly beautiful spot.
When we got out of the Jeep, Grandmom spread a quilt and she and Granddad sat down. "How deep is the pool below the falls?" I asked.
"Can never be sure without checking," Granddad said. "Oh, it's plenty deep for swimming, but no diving until you are absolutely sure it's safe. Sometime rocks fall from the face of the falls. You dive into one of those and you could do serious damage."
"Wish I had brought my swim suit," I said, looking longingly at the water.
"Only family here," Grandmom said. "You have cut offs or you can go in your skivvies."
She didn't have to repeat herself. Practically by the time she had the words out of her mouth I was stripping off clothes and shoes and headed for the river in my boxers. I walked out on a rock and looked down into the water. It was so clear I could see the sandy bottom so I just stepped off the rock and into the water. IT WAS COLD!! And much deeper than I thought. I knew water could fool you, that its depth can be deceptive, but I was well over my head in icy water in what I thought might be four or five feet deep. I drifted on down until my feet touched the bottom, bent my knees and pushed up. When my head cleared the water, I saw my grandmom laughing. I didn't see my granddad until he did a cannonball right beside me. When he came up I said, "Granddad, why didn't you tell me the water was cold?"
"Thought a smart boy like you would know a mountain stream would be cold. Perfect trout stream," he laughed.
We both swam around, diving under the surface to check it out. The rock we both had gone off of was at the edge of the major part of the falls' basin. There were no rocks near it and the water was at least seven feet deep. When we both surfaced again I said, "Looks ok for diving to me."
"Sure does," Granddad answered. He just sorta paddled around while I dived from the rock several times. I was working pretty hard but, even at that, my lips were turning blue as I crawled out of the water, Granddad right behind me.
When we reached the quilt where Grandmom was sitting, she tossed us large towels. "Glad you brought towels," I said as I dried off, then wrapped the towel around me. "Also glad you have a fire going." Grandmom had gathered rocks, made a fire pit, then found enough limbs to start as fire.
"I knew Gerald would have to get in the water and thought you would as well. So I suspected you would need towels and would appreciate a small fire. Also, I wanted to roast some corn. Guess it's the last sweet corn of the season," she said as she turned the foil wrapped ears.
The sun was shining through the trees, but it was still very cool and I was still cold, so I slipped off the boxers and pulled on my jeans and T-shirt then lay back on the quilt where I could feel the warmth of the small campfire. "This is sure a great spot," I said, looking around. "Surprised we haven't been here before."
"Neither of us even thought about it until we got to talking about your being disappointed about Labor Day," Grandmom said. When I started to protest, she said, "No, you were disappointed and when your granddad and I got to talking about it, we realized we loved this place, but in recent years we have just become stay-at-home stick-in-the-muds. No real reason except that things just got in a rut."
"You have meant a lot to us, Douglas. Not just as a grandson--and don't get me wrong, that's important--but also by reminding us that life requires living and not just drifting," Granddad said. "It's been years since I had buck danced and we probably wouldn't have even watched, much less danced, except that it was something you needed to see."
"I guess that's something I have been thinking about--maybe not consciously most of the time, but thinking nonetheless--that there are no guarantees about life. I want to live every day as if it were my last. Don't do it all the time, but more than I ever have," I said.
"I think the same could be said of us," Grandmom said. After which we all fell silent for a good long time until she said, "Ready for some food?"
"Don't know about the older man, but I am. I'm a growing boy."
"I'm not growing, but I need food to keep from shrinking," Granddad laughed.
I helped Grandmom spread a table cloth and put out the food--cold fried chicken, sliced tomatoes, potato salad, fresh bread, while Granddad put on work gloves, took the corn from the fire and shucked it. He put it on a plate Grandmom handed him and she loaded each ear with butter.
After we had eaten--more than any of us needed--the sound of the waterfall was so soothing I found myself getting very sleepy. Granddad went to the Jeep and can back with two more quilts which we spread out and all three lay down. I was asleep in minutes.
I woke up when I heard a woodpecker pounding away on a dead tree somewhere close by. When I sat up, I saw that Grandmom and Granddad have been awake long enough to get everything packed and ready to go home."Well, we're all here," Granddad said. "Up to another swim before we go home?"
"Sure. How about you?"
"Think I'll just watch," he laughed. "One time in that water is enough for me."
"I don't have to swim," I said. "If you are ready to go..."
"We have all day," Grandmom said. "Swim."
I once again stripped off my jeans and put on my boxers. I knew that if I tried to get in the water slowly I'd never make it, so I raced across the sandy beach, up on the rock and dived from it. The water took my breath away, but when I opened my eyes I could see fish swimming around, plants growing in the water. It was beautiful. I swam and did surface dives until I was blue lipped again and crawled out, dried myself and got dressed.
When we got back to the house, I thanked my grandparents for giving me such a wonderful Labor Day. "Thanks to you, we also had one," Grandmom said.
We got back home in late afternoon and I went into the living room and played for over an hour. When I finished, I realized I'd had a wonderful day with two people whom I loved dearly and who loved me. I had, if not more fun, a much richer Labor Day than I would have had at the beer and barbecue cookout we would have had if my family had been alive.
When I finished it was time to do the chores and as Granddad and I worked, I told him again how much I appreciated the day.
After supper, I went upstairs to get ready for bed and when I had, I laid out my clothes for the first day of school. I was about to start something very new--school where everyone wasn't "the right kind of people" and I suspect no-one wpect no-one was pampered.