PART I: BEFORE // Chapter One: Where He Came From: 8

Two years later in the spring of 1971 Gilbert’s college career was over. Though an indifferent student because of his extracurricular activities, he had earned enough credits to graduate with a BA in English. He had achieved only a C average, but that didn’t bother Gilbert. He knew he was never going to pursue the kind of career for which his degree would be useful. He had gone to college mainly to get away from his family and make a life for himself, and he had accomplished that.

But he was still ambivalent about leaving school. On the one hand, he had made such an impression on the faculty with his filmed events and acclaimed documentary, that he was offered a special faculty position by President Godfrey (who had survived the student protests thus far) and the Board of Trustees. They would give him a special paid position as Official School Recorder (for they had grown used to his filmed records of school events which brought in a not-inconsiderable sum of money from sales to parents and friends). After a long struggle with himself, Gilbert refused their offer. He didn’t want to be like his father, still doing the same things in the same way for the same living when he was his father’s age. He knew it would drive him to drink as well.

So, determined to become a “real” moviemaker, he said goodbye to Eastern Penn. He wrote a long letter to his parents (whom he had not seen since he left for college), and packed his bags for Hollywood. He had saved some money, and desperately hoped it would be enough.

 

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