My mother graduated from college in 1982. If you are a regular reader and have caught that I have two teenage daughters myself, I can imagine your brain is kicking into calculator mode, wondering just how old I am and how is it possible? Let me give you another hint. My mother and I graduated from college the same year. Ah! She must have been an older student! Yes!
My mother attended bible college in Phoenix, Arizona for one and a half years. She got married at 19 and had three babies by the age of 25. That’s what you did in the 1950’s. But my mother has always been a learner. She had polio when she was four years old and spent the next 3 years of her life in leg braces. To this day, one leg is withered and one foot is two sizes smaller than the other. My mother is a hard working woman but often, by the middle of the day, she would need to put her feet up. Always she had sewing in her hand, her Bible or a book. The books she chose were deep, thought provoking non fiction books that she loved to discuss and ponder with us. We never knew she had the desire to go back to college until my sister signed up for classes at our local community college and my mother said she was going to sign up for two classes too.
Each semester she would take more classes. She said that while remembering things was a challenge, the material was easy for her to grasp because she had the framework of her life experience in which to place the content of the college classroom. Unlike many of her younger classmates, she always attended class, participated in discussions, and did the work required of her.
Finally she decided, if she was going to take college classes, she might as well work toward a goal, so she transferred to the University of Arizona and declared elementary education as a major. It took her eight years to complete her degree and she graduated with a 4.0 grade average, receiving special honors from the College of Education. She never actually got a job in teaching but she has spent hours volunteering in the kindergarten class of her neighborhood school. The teacher was delighted to have someone with an elementary education degree as a helper! Now, at 71 years old, my mother is still using her education. She is a literacy volunteer and spends several hours a week, reading to children.
My mother is a wonderful example of the fact that you are never too old to learn, you are never too old to accomplish, and you are never too old to give back. Thanks, Mom, for the life lessons!