Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Were You Doing in 1990?

I think I can guess what generated the topic for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  Randy Seaver found the Christmas letter that he quoted in his post and decided it would be a great idea for an assignment, with his already prewritten.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!):

(1) Do you recall what you were doing in 1990?  Family, school, work, hobbies, technology, genealogy, vacations, etc?

(2) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.


I don't have a convenient Christmas letter to remind me of everything I did during the year 1990, so let's see what I can dredge up from memory.

I began the year living in a house in Berkeley, California, as an unpaid housekeeper/nanny/cook.  Halfway through the year I moved two houses down the street, first to the main house and then to a little in-law cottage in the back yard.

I was still a part-time college student in 1990, as that's how I continued to defer my student loans until I eventually paid them off.  I was taking American Sign Language and creative writing classes at Vista College in Berkeley (now Berkeley City College).

At the beginning of the year I was doing part-time work as an in-home aide for a woman with cystic fibrosis.  One of the errands I used to run for her was dropping things off at a local independent thrift store.  One day while I was there I was bitten in the face and neck by a dog belonging to an employee.  I was calm about the whole thing, while the dog owner was hysterical.  He drove me to the hospital and paid for all the bills, though, so there was nothing to worry about.  I used to have a 2" scar on my cheek from the attack, but it seems to have gone away with time.

The other exciting thing that happened in 1990 was a little more unusual.  The couple for whom I was a housekeeper/nanny (let's call them "Bob" and "Carol") was engaged in a wife-swapping arrangement with another couple (say, "Ted" and "Alice").  "Ted" apparently was not actually that happy with the situation.  One night when "Alice" was at our house with "Bob", "Ted" came over, started screaming at "Alice", and dragged her out of the house physically.  Brilliant me, in a long nightgown and with no shoes on, but concerned about "Alice", followed them down the stairs and asked "Ted" where he was going and what he was going to do.  He told me if I wanted to know to come along.  So I did.  He drove all around Berkeley, up and down streets, in circles, and eventually ended up at his and "Alice's" apartment.  He dragged her in there, where she collapsed in the corner cowering and crying.  I followed him into the kitchen, where he picked up a big knife and looked at me.  For a moment I considered whether he was going to kill me and/or "Alice", and I was going to die trying to defend someone who didn't seem inclined to defend herself.  Then suddenly he calmed down and put the knife away.  It was like a switch was turned off.  He collected "Alice", we all went back to the car, and he drove us back to the house.  He dropped me off, but I don't remember if "Alice" stayed or went back with him.  And nothing was ever said about that incident.

I began working at Chessex sometime in the late summer or early fall when I needed a job with more income.  I started out asking at Berkeley Game Distributors (which no longer exists) about work, but they didn't have any openings at the time and pointed me downstairs to Chessex, which was in the same building and was looking for an assistant production manager.  And so began my career in the adventure game industry.

My brother came out to the West Coast early in the year, probably for his once-every-three-years trip to Reno for the big amateur bowling tournament he used to participate in.  He was able to stop by and visit me in Berkeley for a few hours.  It had to be the early part of the year because I was still in the first house, where I was a housekeeper.

The primary traveling I did was to and from the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire (maybe in Devore by that time?) in the spring on the weekends.  In fact, the day I was bitten by the dog had to be a Friday, because we drove down to the faire as soon as I got out of the hospital.  I worked the Northern California faire also, but that was only going from Berkeley to Novato.  I probably also went to Los Angeles once or twice for game conventions.

I remember that I went to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving.  I drove back on Sunday, which I discovered was a horrible mistake, as that's the day everyone else goes back home.  I had bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-5 for pretty much all 400 miles of the trip.  I swore I would never do that again!

I don't think I was able to visit my family for the Christmas holidays due to a lack of funds.  I don't remember if they were still in Texas or if they had already moved back to Florida by then.  It might have been the year I worked on a cross-stitch Christmas piece for a present for my aforementioned brother.

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