I was having lunch with my husband and Addie this noon. Hunched over a burrito at our counter, she was talking about college classes and what she is taking this summer and how she plans on going to take summer classes in Hays where she can say with her bother and sister in law and how things were going to work. I looked across the bar at Mike and I we instantly thought the same thing. He says to her, “Well, how about you go to K State Salina, or Bethany, or Wesleyan, or somewhere really close and you can just stay home with us?” The answer didn’t even take a second and she explained how none of them offer the program that she wants, and how Hays will be a good fit, and how she will have enough credits to get a year and a half out of the way. The picture is becoming clearer every single day. It is hitting Mike and I right in the face that in less than a year, our last child will be ready to take on the world. I don’t have any idea how he and I will do with just each other to hang out with! Been a long time!! How I wish I could take on all of the bad crap that goes along with growing up. It’s not like she hasn’t experienced crappy people, or drama or things that hurt, but this world is getting tougher. Then I remembered….
In 1986 I had a horrible time deciding where to go to college. All of my friends were going to K-State and I just didn’t think that was going to work for me. I wanted something completely different. There had been a recruiter from Southwestern College come to our high school and I talked to him. It looked ok, but it was in a little town down by the Oklahoma border. Who wants that? I applied at Drake University and had to write a composition for a full ride scholarship in Journalism. I hadn’t planned on winning, but I did! Then my dear old Dad thought that Iowa was too far from home…..I had never been more disappointed in my life. It was heartbreaking. A full ride to DRAKE! Woulda, shoulda, coulda…..I begrudgingly registered at Kansas State, only to get 3 days before time to leave and I decided to pull my registration and go to Southwestern College in Winfield. I don’t now what the heck the difference was, it was five and a half hours from home in the middle of nowhere and it was really mentally as far as Iowa. No cell phones, a 1979 Buick Special named Emma and a car loaded down with crap. Away I went. My mom and dad drove down with me to help me get settled and the first stop was Stewart Field house to get registration and welcome packs. There were tables set up and people were very friendly, I got my Freshman Orientation package in a paper sack and headed back down the stairs with Dad in tow! He says, “Well Sister, this is it, looks like a fine place and I hear this is a dry town.” I immediately perked up and told him I was going home. No beer?? I can’t live like that!! He said, “nope.” “Hey why don’t you open your gift?”, he says. So I opened the sack and I screamed, “A DOUCHE???? SOME PENCILS??? A FRIGGIN DOUCHE? What the hell is this??? I AM GOING HOME, YOU ARE NOT LEAVING ME HERE! THIS IS CRAP!!!” My dad broke out into hysterical laughter. He wouldn’t stop laughing and he couldn’t wait to tell Mom! I was quite literally hanging on the car window and he continued to drive, I had no intention of staying at that campus, much less at one that provided a douche for freshman welcome!!! As I recalled that story this noon to Addie, she laughed and said things have changed a little in 32 years!! My Dad recounted that story over and over throughout his life. He thought it was the funniest thing ever! I did not. I never asked if my roommates got the same thing, or if I was just the lucky recipient of the hygiene award!!
I know now what my mother meant when she talked about the rite of passage. I am there. I am now looking at my beautiful blessing of a daughter who is excited about her future. I hope she gets a full ride to Drake University. I would let her go! I wouldn’t like it, but I would let her go. I did graduate with decent grades from SC with a degree in English Lit and a business degree. I did ok. I didn’t start writing again until recently and I am rusty. I always thought I could change the world! I suppose I did. Three children at a time. I managed to succeed at motherhood, family, and ended up following Joseph Campbell’s motto “Follow Your Bliss” probably more than conventional education. I don’t think college is for everyone. I wasted a lot of time partying. But in retrospect, it wasn’t a waste, it was liver training! And I knew what fun is!!! I do however wonder how many times Dr. Willoughby believed me when I couldn’t make it to my Norwegian class due to the flu, when the sun was shining and the deck was loaded with people?? I am guessing he knew.
Just some random thoughts
Until then…..It’s June…..LOVE EVERYONE it’s easy