Going back to college while in breast cancer recovery? People look at me as if I am nuts! Well, I have always drifted a little to the ‘odd’ side in my years. That’s ok. I am comfortable with that.
It was my wish to explore my world right from the beginning. From the third grade on in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was not encouraged. I remember the wrinkled up look in my father’s eyes. A man with a sixth grade education yet managed to work his way up in the Railroad system for over 40 years before retiring at 59. He could not even envision making a living with writing. What for? What do you have to say?
I have a lot to say!
Education was not valued in my immediate family. I however watched as I grew up, how my cousins went on to college and trade school. Our little leg of the family didn’t seem to value growth through education. Yet I now believe education is the only way out of many things: poverty, ignorance, and gives so much to a person’s life. That’s why I am pursuing this advanced degree in IT. Besides its fun! I love learning. It opens doors.
As time went on I realized my mother had dreams. She was cleaning people’s houses and ironing clothes both of which I was entirely ashamed of when I was a kid. When she came up with the plan to become a nurse’s aid…unsupported by my father although he was very much in to her making money and providing a second income.
I remember she didn’t think she could do it…get her certification. I encouraged her. Yes, you could I told her. You are not dead yet, you can do anything until then. She went on to finish, and I was very proud of that fact. It changed her. It changed our lives. She finally felt worthy of something. That would all come to a crashing end laced with alcohol and divorce shortly after I left home to get married. She would however, rise from the ashes later in her life when the second husband died and she was left alone to fend for herself.
My mother started a hot dog stand by the lake, in the city park. She made good money for years doing that. Money she never paid taxes on, and money that allowed her to buy some extras for herself. Yet she never seemed to have enough. She was constantly borrowing from me and whomever would give her money (this I wasn’t aware of until years later). I was making good money and I was glad to do it. I took her to Florida, and we went to Alaska on very nice vacations. We hiked in the mountains above Ancourage and wandered the beaches in Florida both on the east coasts and on the Mexican west side. I think she hated taking money from me and didn’t understand why I would do it for her. She said to me once why are you doing this for me? I never did anything for you. It wasn’t about that, she was my mother.