My mum was the oldest of seven and always wanted to go to college. Even with her high IQ, the depression quenched any possibility. She would, however, see that her daughters were educated.
Mum worked as a keypunch operator (forerunner of computers) to help pay tuition.
Our dad was the eternal optimist and believed everything good was possible. He was a fire fighter, then an inspector for the Army Quartermaster - and a part time salesman in his friend’s men’s store. I worked for the town newspaper, among other jobs.
Both my sister and I are eternally grateful. We are both living our dreams and it would not be so if we had not had the opportunity to get an excellent education.
to borrow money for college
and somehow found the money
to pay as I went.
Children do not always know of parental sacrifices, at least today. Years ago life was slower and there was time to absorb reality. Life had a slower pace. We even sat down to eat “supper” together. Picture Tom Selleck at Blue Blood’s family dinner each Sunday. Ours was daily, including extended family on Sundays.
How large families sent all their children to college I don’t know. I remember my cousin telling his mother how he really wanted to go to Harvard but couldn’t afford it, so why apply there? She answered, “Apply, and when you get in, you will go. We’ll find a way.” It must have run in the family. Their five children were superstars and included three doctors, one of which was the Harvard grad.
Today, if a child is accepted to Harvard or other Ivy League schools and the family makes less than $150,000 a year, I understand they get a four year free ride. However, most students rack up suffocating bills at their local colleges and pay for years following. I was lucky that we couldn’t afford to borrow money for college and somehow found the money to pay as I went. It worked!
I have never felt I missed anything in life. College was a big part of that. There is nothing like it. Joy.
Once, a high school diploma was enough to land a good position. That is no longer true. A college degree today is similar to a high school diploma years ago. One doesn’t have to have a college degree – apprenticing for a good trade or special position is fine. What I am suggesting is that students get certified in something that will give them a satisfying career.
Hopefully, parents/grandparents can still help. And there are part-time – even full-time - jobs at and around universities. When one truly wants an education, it can be done. It is worth it.
My parents have been gone for a while and I miss them. We never really know what we have until it is gone. And that is always sooner than we expect.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - 10 Shopper Magazines, Doctor to Doctor Magazine and Main Street - The Business to Business Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 37 years.