“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.”

The grey day is in anticipation for the rain coming tonight. It feels cold to me, a bit raw. My sister has snow. She says it has been snowing a while but not much has accumulated on the roads, and the grass is barely covered. Her weatherman says a big storm will hit them next week, could be as many as 8″. She can’t see the mountains. They are socked in. Happy May Day, Moe!

In the Globe this morning I read some college had its graduation yesterday thus ushering in the season of graduations. That brought back a jumble of memories. I remember my mother telling me that she and my father had never imagined they would have a child go to college. No one in the family had ever gone. I also remember my father telling me I’d have to transfer from my college to a state school if my brother wanted to go to a private college as I had. He told me my brother would have to support a family so he should get the better education. That struck me to the quick because he wasn’t considering me. He was considering the role of women and throwing me into the mix, but it wasn’t an out of the blue idea for my dad. His generation believed women stayed home and men worked, but I knew I’d never have to transfer. I knew my brother better than my father did.

When I was a senior in college and the future loomed, I started to make choices. My first choice was always the Peace Corps for as long as I could remember. My second choice was law school, and my final choice, my back-up, was teaching. First I filled out and sent the Peace Corps application. I then took the LSAT. I did well and applied to a few law schools. Suffolk accepted me. I told my father about law school and wanted to know if he would help me pay for it. No was his answer. He said law was not for women. I hated his mind set, but I was okay with the no. In January I was accepted to train for Peace Corps. I called Washington right away and accepted the invitation. I then had my mother tell my father. It was cowardly, no question about it. He forbad me to go. I would have chuckled when he said it, but that would have made his veins pop in anger. A few months later my dad told me he and my mother had been talking, and they would be happy to help pay for law school. I recognized the offer for what it was and thanked him but said no.

In the spring I started to interview for teaching jobs just to go through an interview process. One interviewer told me they only hire teachers with masters. I told him that wasn’t true or he wouldn’t be interviewing any of us as we were getting our bachelor’s. I was totally frank with all my answers. I had nothing to lose. At the end of the interview he offered me a job. I admitted then I wasn’t looking for a job, just interview experience. I was going into the Peace Corps. He offered me his card and said call him when I got home. I didn’t.

If I hadn’t chosen Peace Corps, I would never have been a teacher. Of all the gifts those two years gave me, teaching was the ultimate. I had found the place where I fit the best and loved the most, the classroom.

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12 Comments on ““Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.””

  1. Richard Says:

    Much as it may pain me to admit this, it’s a gorgeous day outside. Buttercream clouds against an azure sky … all the green things are green once more, and there are flowers in abundance. Tonight that all changes, and we get back to wetness ’n greyishness oncet again for the next three days or so. Or not. We’ll see, won’t we?

    I was the first in my family to go to college. My brother followed two years later. My sister chose to not go. The surprising thing is that when, after graduating, my work in Philip Sage’s print studio taught me more in a year and a half than did the entire four-year stint in college. There’s a huge diff’rents between working with a producing artist and being in a theoretical atmosphere that doesn’t have to compete in the business world. College is more directly concerned with theoretical constructs than it is with the necessity of paying the bills.

    For a brief time I considered going for my MfA at Tulane University, and that was mainly to study with Jim Steg, but the tuition at Tulane then was $2,500 per semester, and that was before accounting for supplies, etc. It was out of my price range, so I became a wage slave. No regrets – it’s probably one of the best things that could have happened to me post-graduation.

    In keeping with the theme of possibilities and paths taken, we have as our Melody Of The Day the Angelo Badalamenti theme from the ever-so-popular series ‘Twin Peaks’ … which is diff’rent from ‘Twin Peeks’ … he does a nice job gettin’ his ‘Duane Eddy’ on with this one …

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      I’m happy one of us has a beautiful day. Am I complaining? I am. May Day should be warm and beautiful!

      My brother didn’t make a whole semester before he flunked out of our local community college. That was one dumb move as he got drafted. Luckily he went to Germany.

      Student teaching was real teaching. I chose middle school level and hated it. Teaching in Ghana taught me so much about how to teach, how to engage my students and how to vary instruction. The students learned, and I thought that the most wonderful part of it all.

      I watched Twin Peaks and was devastated when it was canceled. The theme too was wonderful!!

  2. olof1 Says:

    The day started grey and dull but turned in to the best day so far this year. Siúnshine, warm and the wind came and went as it pleased but it wasn’t cold so I didn’t mind it.

    I’m so glad that education has been free here since a hundred years or so, all the way up to the university so no parent has had to chose between children but we had other problems with parents, workers usually didn’t like it if their kids became more than their parents. The law of Jante we call it, don’t ever think You are better than anyone else, don’t ever think You will reach higher than anyone else and so on. It was something people in Scandinavia lived with back in the days and thankfully that’s totally gone now.

    I wish we had had something like the Peace Corps here, that could have helped me to finally make up my mind on what I wanted to do 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Today is ugly, cloudy and cold. We haven’t yet had a great day. WE did get into the 60’s one day so that’s out best do far.

      School, starting at kindergarten, up to university is also free here. State universities are less expensive than private universities which is why my father said what he did. You can also choose to send your child to a private high school, many are Catholic. None of them are cheap. I went to one as did my brother.

      Peace Corps was the best decision I could have made.

  3. Bob Says:

    “Those were the days” This morning I watched Oprah interviewing Norman Lear. He was the creator of such iconic TV shows as “All In The Family, The Jeffersons and Maude” which aired in the 1970s. It’s funny how parts of the Archie Bunker character pop up in my mind when I’m remembering my parent’s generation who grew up in an entirely different America. What’s more amazing to me is how much of the mean spirited and prejudice side of the Archie character still exists today among my colleagues and is being expressed through both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump’s rhetoric and crazy policy positions. Both of them are, “meatheads, dead from the neck up”. 🙁

    I also found teaching extremely rewarding. Many people say things like, ‘Those who can’t do teach’. In my field we have to pass the same knowledge and skill tests twice a year that our students have to pass. If we can’t perform we can’t teach. Teaching is a lot like love. You can give a person all of your love and you still have all the love you began with. 🙂

    Although lawyers are the second highest paid profession after doctors, I would not have liked practicing law defending unscrupulous corporations or known criminals. The doctors are the only people who can legally kill you and the lawyers can legally steal from you. 🙂 “I’m sorry, the operation was a success but your father died”?

    Today is gorgeous with clear skies and a high temperature of 75 degrees.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I remember Norman Lear and all the programs he produced, especially All in the Family. My father was outspoken about his prejudices, but my mother never said anything. My father told me I couldn’t go to Africa because they smell. My students took two bucket baths a day. I took only one shower.

      I loved my students and still see many of them around town. I get invited to reunions and go to some of them.

      I think you can choose a different sort of law which doesn’t include unscrupulous corporations or known criminals. Real Estate is one example. I have friends who are lawyers, and I can guarantee they don’t steal.

      Our day is exactly opposite from yours!

      • Bob Says:

        Of course not all lawyers are crooked, but they have the ability to steal and what can the victim do, sue his lawyer. They like the doctors won’t testify against each other in court. What lawyer is going to take your case against their colleague. An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client goes a famous lawyer joke.

        The biggest complaint to the Texas Bar association against attorneys is taking a fee up front and then not doing anything for the client. I think it’s called theft. The state Bar association rarely dis-bars a member lawyer unless their crimes are egregious and their crime gets into the media and embarrasses the profession.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        One of my longtime friends is a lawyer and I would go to her for advise in a heartbeat.

        I have no idea what the complaints are to the state licensing board. The only lawyers disbarred are those found guilt of a variety of white collar crimes including bilking clients.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Finally sunny here, May 1st is a public holiday and we went on a bike tour today. Downtown. With whistles. Beside the usual Labor Day demonstration some nazis decided to walk through our town. Bad idea. A lot of people including us came to show them that we don’t want nazis here. It was necessary, it was fun and it was loud. Back home, it’s getting dark now and just the birds are singing.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      We get one day of sun then it disappears for a while. It sounds like it went your way.

      No May Day celebrations here at all. It is just a regular day.

      The rise of Nazis in Germany has been on the news here at some point. The US has a few home grown Nazis of its own. They re not welcome here either.

  5. Hedley Says:

    It’s one of those days. – me Mum should be 87 today, she isn’t, cancer killed her at 71

    University was a luxury not offered to me after school. So I became a clerk for 4 very long years until I had enough to go to school and the London School of Economics changed my life.

    I read Birgit’s comments at a time when the Labour Party in England is being destroyed by the presence of anti-semitism and a leader inadequate to deal with it. Wilson and Callaghan would never have allowed this. We can even get a straight answer on a stolpersteine in Ulm – I want our brewery back.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      With Mother’s Day coming I think of my mother often. She would be 88. She also died of cancer. My siblings would agree with me that she was a wonderful mother who was funny, generous and so very loving.

      I had always expected to go to college. I was trained for nothing in secondary school except college. My parents were proud that their kid was going to college.

      You are here and you hear the hatred. I can’t do that-just hate because of religion, nationality or politics. All of my life I have believed in the inherent goodness of most people, and I’d never want to let go of that.


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