Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yes, Boise Was My Dead Horse But I love It Now

It was the 60s, a revolution and a war were underway, and I was stuck in Boise, Idaho, capital of famous potatoes.
I was quite proactive in getting off the dead horse I was riding in Boise for 4 years when I contacted universities and applied to graduate schools in 1969. By September 69 I left my own private Idaho where I was a reporter for the Idaho Statesman.
But it was my coworker, Ralph Nichols, who suggested I go to graduate school, because that’s what he had dreamed of but never accomplished. Maybe that was his way of telling me to get out of town. So with a clear goal in mind I was able to endure the craziness of my supervisor Jim Golden, the city editor. It wasn’t long before I would take the graduate entrance exam at the College of Idaho in Caldwell with an upset stomach.
My Statesman job was not always a dead horse; in fact I had researched and written comprehensive reports on pollution, urban renewal, city planning and zoning as local government reporter. What more was there to do having written the story on Hot Cha Hinton the 300 pound go go girl (that was Betty Penson’s assignment, not my idea). It was the 60s.
I look back wistfully at my Idaho years but I was isolated, lonely and I had virtually lost my close friend Ralph when he married and moved to nearby Nampa. Quoting a line from the movie The Graduate, I told Ralph I was drifting. I had no social life although I beat that dead horse to death, dating women who really didn’t interest me. I was inching loser to 30.
I was to be in a major metropolitan area with a large Jewish community, a decent university and a host of urban issues. It was Los Angeles or Minneapolis and having lived n LA for two years I knew I didn’t want to do that again. With my undergraduate dubious scholastic achievements, I was lucky to get into grad school.
In Boise I was living in Mrs. Cook’s boarding house with four other young men and her grandchildren. For about 13 years, I had very limited access to a TV set I could call my own. Mrs. Cook’s daughter in law when born again and made vain efforts to convert me to Christianity when she would visit from Mt. Home. When the Ladies Circle would meet at Mrs. Cook’s house I would disappear which wasn’t easy when I was working nights and trying to entertain myself during the day.
As Fagan told the boys in Oliver, I needed a change of scenery. In September of 69 I packed my Magnavox radio and my typewriter into my Plymouth Satellite and headed east. Farewell Boise.