When I had my first lonely Christmas in Milwaukee the previous year, one thing I vowed to do was go to the movies. I followed through on this promise and it continued mostly through the Nineties, either by attending or working at a theater. I think the only year which broke the streak was 1996 (up next). Why this activity? It was my original plan when I was living in Milwaukee; with Carrie away at her family’s place, I could see something she didn’t like and continue working until her return for New Year’s. By the Fall of 1991, Milwaukee and Carrie were gone. At least I could catch a flick in Bloomington-Normal’s vast selection.
Let me pull back a couple weeks though. The solitary nature of Christmas wasn’t 100 percent in 1991.
My parents came out from San Diego earlier in the month, took us to dinner at Jumer’s, exchanged gifts and then took Brian back to Southern California (I could be wrong this one). I didn’t go with them due my new gig at GDW (deadlines), nor did I want to. The grandparents refused out of their stubbornness.
Beyond work and the holidays, there was the pre-occupation of getting settled into a new apartment. This guy named Greg I had become friends through our mutual acquaintance Phil. Sadly, Greg was renting a room in a craphole and when he was burglarized, that was the final straw. Being a nice (or naive) person, I scored a place on the nicer east side, invited him to be my roommate. We were roomies for about 18 months before he dicked me over but I got the last laugh, I moved to Austin a few months later. Don’t worry, I bear no ill will toward Greg, he was a good person to share the place.
Once the swinging bachelors pad was established, I did what I could to enjoy the bleak week (Christmas was in the middle). I dropped by Grandma’s house to make sure everybody present was alive and functional. She had plans to spend the day with another family for the big meal, and probably talk crap about her family being away. Next, I spent a couple hours working on some book for GDW. The office was freezing so I probably accomplished very little. Then I hit the local multiplex to see Beauty and the Beast with my feast of overpriced popcorn and soda. There must’ve been nothing else to see. I recall being skeptical about Beauty, CBS had a weekly show while I was in college, why was Disney trotting out this tired story. I ended up enjoying it more than expected; the Princess formula was relatively new, by Mulan it was predictable and dull.
Post Christmas was the greatest time! Phil returned from his folks’ place to play D&D during his holiday break and when New Year’s Eve rolled around, we headed to Chicago to ring in 1992 at the Silders’! I hadn’t seen them since graduation. The several years I spent at their house made New Year’s the tradition I preferred. Said celebration entailed drinking beer, hitting the nearby cop/fireman bar, Nerf battles (William Tell is a favorite game), eating chili, watching Slapshot and cheering against Notre Dame, back when the bowl games weren’t dragged out over a month.
The Silder Party was the greatest ending to the Pyrrhic victory 1991 turned into: I landed an interesting job (GDW) yet lost my girlfriend (Carrie) and current home (Milwaukee). Too bad I was too blind to all the other warning signs on the horizon for 1992: Mythus, GDW’s legal problems, an alcoholic co-worker, ISU being a lame scene and the real cost of living in Central Illinois.