Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
See my website at

14 March 1996

Email, CEB to RJE to CEB


Well, the strike's still on here and the latest word is that classes probably won't start until after Easter Break, i.e., April 16th. Then we'll probably have to work like crazy to catch up. There was a big student demonstation today on Hauptplatz that snarled up the public transportation pretty good, but I just walked to my favorite Chinese restaurant where I met a friend for lunch. That's basically what I've been filling up my time with -- social engagements.

Tonight though, I have a three-hour tutoring session with a new client (we met last week to see how we clicked). I'm not looking forward to it particularly - it's always strenuous -- but I can really use the $20 an hour. My other client hasn't wanted any sessions lately, since we usually work on her university assignments and there haven't been any classes. I wish this damned strike was over because I was really looking forward to my classes.

Day before yesterday we had a full-out snowstorm. If the wind had been blowing, it would've been a blizzard. I think there is about ten inches of new snow on top of the old snow. Very slushy and messy, although it was beautiful for a while. It's supposed to warm up into the 40s this week and it's above freezing today and sunny, which feels good. The natives say this is unusually cold and snowy for Graz.

Dr. Boles, the Rice professor, wrote me that he was "thrilled" that I was probably going to accept and come to Rice in the fall. He's really a top man in my field and I'm excited about working with him - especially if he appreciates my historiographical theses, which he must or he wouldn't be "thrilled"!

The brochure says that the Rice campus is bordered by Hermann Park, "one of the nation's largest urban parks" and that the Texas Medical Center bounds the east side of the campus, with all kinds of museums in the neighborhood. Sounds great! I just hope the park is safe enough for wandering around in.

By the way, do you know what my address will be? (Did you ever live in that condo yourself?) Do you remember if there is a sunny exposure or a balcony, where plants would thrive? -- you know me, I have to have plants around. Is there some central office or something there, in other words, do you think it might be possible for me to ship some stuff directly there before I come and have it held on the premises for my arrival? (You probably have no idea, but just in case you do, I'm asking.)

By the way, there is a graduate residence hall on campus at Rice, so, if for any reason, you'd rather not throw your tenant out, I COULD make arrangements to live in the residence hall. Naturally, I'd prefer the condo, but there are other options if things don't work out. But I'd need to reserve a room soon, if I was going to live there.

I've already emailed for information about student health insurance and will get that arranged ASAP. I'm sure they have a clause about pre-existing conditions, so I probably won't have the surgery on my foot for another year. It's been killing me lately - I limp everywhere. I've been thinking about getting a cane. Ask Feryal if there is ANYTHING that might help the pain until I have the surgery. I've already had steroid shots and they really didn't help.

I hope you do get a chance to come visit, when mother is here or anytime. I'd love to see you (and Feryal too, if that works out).

I've gotta go. I'm full of Chinese food and this room is so warm -- I think I may need a nap before my evening appointment. Tell me what you can about the condo. I know you don't remember much about it. It sounds wonderful, but you know how I am -- I like to know everything about everything. Friends tell me I can be a real pain in the ass that way! But hey - at least I'm an INTERESTING and ADORABLE pain in the ass!

Love, CarolynDate: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 09:00:37 -0800

To: (Carolyn Earle Billingsley)
From: RJE
Subject: Re: Strikes and Snowstorms

Well, the address is [snipped]

It's on the ground floor on a corner of the building, so it has windows on two sides of the bedroom and a sliding glass door facing west off the living room. There is a patio with wrought iron around it--I'm guessing it's 5' by 10' facing a small common courtyard between two wings of the building. The courtyard is very quiet, since the jacuzzi, pool, barbeque grills, etc are in other courtyards.

The condo is light red & white brick. They're located at the intersection of Kirby and North Braeswood. Herman Park is fairly large & has a golf course in it, as well as a zoo and amphitheatre. It has a lot of oak trees, but as I recall, it's not dense enough to be dangerous--I would say it was safe, at least during the day when I last lived there. Rice has a beautiful campus is is great to walk around--it's parklike.

You sure you won't miss the socializing (and convenience) you would have living in the on-campus dorms? I would be very happy for you to live in my condo, but make sure you won't get lonely. Campus/dorm life can be fairly lively and social--a lot more fun than living off campus. On the other hand, having a roommate or a room the size of a double bed is a big negative (unless graduate residence halls are better than regular ones). Maybe what you need to do is live in the condo and sign up for an on-campus residence halls meal plan. I'm sure the food's not great, but it's convenient and sociable.

There is an on-site office & manager at the condo during normal business hours. There is a small outdoor storage room at your covered parking spot. I would say it's 5' wide by 3' deep by 8' high. The bedroom is large, with 3 tall windows (mini-blinds), and if I recall correctly, has a dressing area with a fairly large closet between it and the bathrom. It seems there must also be a half bath off the entryway (you enter the condo from an interior hallway. I think the 1/2 bath is on the left, the kitchen is on the right (with a small utility room just big enough for the washer/dryer & some pantry shelves on the other side of the kitchen. Continuing in from the kitchen, is the combined living/dining room. I believe the ceilings are a
little taller than typical apartments (maybe 9'?). I think it's about 900 square feet of space.

There is a card-key controlled gate to enter the condo, either through the parking entrance or through two main walk-in entrances.

Most of the people living there (at one time) were medical students, interns, doctors, etc. There are strict rules about scheduling move-ins (mainly because of the expectation of having large moving trucks in the parking area), and there is a move-in fee of some kind to cover potential damages--meaning only that we need to communicate with the management when it's time to move in.

That's about all I can remember.

I'm down in Los Angeles, picking up the RV and planning to head east toward Florida, where I want to be by April 8. I may stay in Florida for a month or so. Maybe after finishing up there, Feryal and I can come visit before returning to the west coast--I can't say for sure right now, though. More later