IN 1972 LACKING A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION and any sense of self confidence, I took a job working as a maid at the Oak Park Arms Hotel making eighty dollars a week, or four thousand dollars a year.
Back in 1972, Oak Park was a predominately White upper middle class suburb west of Chicago.
The Oak Park Arms was, and still is, a residential hotel for the well-to-do elderly. Their ‘hotel apartments’ came complete with maid service.
The hotel also catered to the relatives and friends of their elderly residents by maintaining some nightly and weekly rooms for their permanent residents’ out of town guests and/or family.
I made beds, cleaned toilets, vacuumed, dusted, washed dishes, cleaned ovens, and kept the elderly guests company while saving money for college. And in September of 1973, I quit my job at the Oak Park Arms and enrolled at Triton College taking Secretarial courses. I received the usual encouragement — none.
My year at triton was marked by an overwhelming feeling of loneliness (isolation). But at least it was better than my one semester at Roosevelt University in the heart of Downtown Chicago.
In spite of not receiving my High School Diploma, I was accepted at Roosevelt University, primarily, because my SAT scores were so high, eleven point two in reading, fourteen point zero in Word Comprehension, and eight point seven in Math.
Talk about being blind to your skills. With my word comprehension skills off the charts and my math scores lower than a pair of old ‘bobby socks, I selected Business Administration as my major. I found economics to be the most boring subject known to man and woman kind. Nothing about business appealed to me except for dressing up in nice clothes and walking around with a clipboard looking authoritative. I might have toughed it out, but whenever I walked down the hallways at Roosevelt, I had the feeling that people were either ignoring me completely, or laughing at me behind my back. (It still hadn’t sunk in that someone was following me and causing the other students behavior towards me.)
Things were better at Triton. The college was not as upper crust as Roosevelt and I didn’t feel so completely out of place. I managed to stick it out for two semesters. During the summer break, I found a job.