On August 2, 2001, at 8:30 p.m. — exactly 48 hours after leaving Albuquerque in the Pontiac with Sam, my computer, a duffel bag of clothes, and my philodendron — I pulled into the driveway of Bob and Ken’s house in suburban Miami. I was there to start a new job teaching theatre at a private school, and it was also a return to where I’d gone to college, graduating in 1974. On a previous trip in June, I had found an apartment, and two weeks later the moving van with my furniture finally arrived, just as school was starting.
As I may have said in previous posts, it did not go as expected at the school. When I was hired I was told I would be teaching dramatic literature and history, which was a good fit with my PhD in playwriting and dramatic criticism, leaving the teaching of acting and directing the plays up to someone else. But when I arrived at the school in August, I was told that plans had changed; they had found someone to teach dramatic lit — she had a masters in English — and I would be teaching acting and directing the plays. I had never taught acting, and my directing skills were acquired by observation only. I gulped, settled in to the apartment with Sam, and gave it my best shot.
It didn’t go well, and suffice it to say that when my contract came up for renewal, both the school and I were happy to part ways. I spent part of the summer of 2002 looking for work and dealing with the loss of Sam, who died July 20th. But a week later, thanks to Bob, I found an opening at the grants office of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I started there in October and… well, you know the rest.
I’ve lived in three different places in Miami: the apartment, the house in Coral Gables, and now the house in Palmetto Bay, where I’ve been since 2008. I have made many friends, written a lot of plays, found new places to go, and even though Miami is a far different place than it was when I first arrived for my first tour in 1971, it’s still an interesting and new place to be.
Of course I didn’t know what would happen twenty years ago tonight when I arrived in an August thunderstorm. Sam is gone, the Gateway 2000 computer has gone wherever antique computers go, but the philodendron still thrives and the Pontiac is in the garage. And I am still finding new friends and still writing.