After bicycling from Southern Texas through Carlsbad Caverns, Albeuquerque New Mexico and the Grand Canyon, we finally settled down on July 28th of 1982. All told we had gone 5000 miles and it had taken us 10 months. We both got a job, but the difference in lifestyles was quite a culture shock after having had such complete fredom while on the road.
We bought a television at the thrift store, but the picture kept breaking up all the time.
The urge to conform being upon us once again, I bought this TV at a thrift store for $50. However, soon after bringing it home I found that we'd been gyped. It often would roll and the picture quality was poor. The apartment was so damp, being made of cinder blocks, that black fungus would creep up the bedroom wall behind were we slept. I suffered many strange symptoms at the time, but never thought that the fungus was the culprit.
I remember feeling strangely dizzy after standing on a chair to hang something at work and it got so bad that I went home. The next morning when I woke up, Chris looked at me strange, "Why are your teeth all black?" When I looked in a mirror, not only were my teeth as black as soot but my tongue looked as dark as coal. It took me three brushes with toothpaste before it was gone. I also remember during that time period wake in the middle of the night to find myself standing on the bed asking, "Am I in a pit?" Later, research showed that I was most likely suffering from allergic reactions to mold and yeast. We had lived in such moldy conditions for 10 months, and apparently our bodies had developed antigens against molds.
We didn't have much money at the time, as I was only working 13 hours a week at the Boys and Girls Club teaching kids art. We also would do science experiments and performing magic tricks. On Saturdays, I taught a wood shop class. Since Christine worked at a house for handicapped kids, I'd rarely get to see her as she'd sleep-over each night. She'd bicycle nine miles each day just to see me for an hour, then would bicycle back.
I worked there for three years. One summer, I taught a class called, "Baking with Yeasted Breads". Surprisingly, all the kids loved it and would patiently line up outside the door because only two sets of the first five kids would have a chance at it.
The first baking class made all the difference because I'd told them that we'd be making pizza. They'd all expected to be putting spaghetti sauce on hamburger rolls with a slice of american cheese as they'd typically done in 'Home-Ec'. But, once they saw they could pound dough, and they could pound it as hard as they could hit it, they were hooked. We used real mozzarella, grated, and made our own secret pizza sauce recipe.
One of the reasons that it was so successful was that the kids were starving. Since they got to eat the food they'd bake afterwards, it took off. We made everything from pizza and bagels to cookies, donuts and pretzels. After they were baked, the kids would take them outside the room and would proudly display them to the other kids (but rarely gave up any of the precious food). They were always highly surprised that the food tasted exactly like what you'd buy in a store.
The bathroom in the drawing would have drips of yellowish brown water on the ceiling sometimes. I'd wipe it down with a sponge, but it would always come back. Once, I stood on the toilet rim and touched my finger to the liquid, smelling it and found it was yeast. I was baking so much bread that the mist was rising to the ceiling and yeast was growing in the little hanging water that would condensate.