Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Midlife Farmwife heads back to The Quad


The senior Peter    www.frampton.com

As if our lives were not busy enough.
As if our days were not short enough.
As if we SAID we were going to slow things down.

What do I go and do?

I apply to the University of Illinois as a full time student.

And what do those misguided folks do? They accept me. Really. What have I done? I start as a Junior this August in the Creative Writing Program. I plan to continue straight though and obtain my Masters in the very same field.

Why not? I'm going to get old and die anyway, I might as well finally learn the correct use of colons and semi-colons.  If I really want to write and be published then I best learn the techniques. Besides, spending the day in a library trying to sort out the poetry of Yeats is a day well spent in my mind. (well it would be better spent at Galway University but I'm still wading through the Study Abroad requirements.)

The desire for this end result has been a very long time coming but ALWAYS in the back of my head, since 1976 when after a disastrous first semester at the same University I was non-ceremoniously expelled for a grade point average lower than the ground I was passed out on back in those days.

Seemed I love attending all those Peter Frampton parties a wee bit more than I actually attended class. Do you do?  Well I did. To say my mother was pissed, sorry there is no better term, when she made that 3 hr RT drive to collect my sorry (not enough) butt, is a gross understatement.

She brought me back into their home and said "You got two weeks Madame Butterfly, to get a job and find a lace to live." She had four other children who needed her and as far as she was concerned I had already flown the too crowded nest. I was 17, part of the problem. I graduated HS after three years and had no more enough maturity for campus life than a new born calf is ready to produce milk.

Two weeks later I was living in a rented trailer and working as a nurse side, which lead me to South Dakota and nursing school and marriage and kids, a divorce, a wonderful remarriage,  36 years in health care and a farmer and BAM! here I am at almost 55 and ready for a big change.

So , you might ponder, how does this fit in with our Poor Farm plans? Very well I hope. At first, until this farm is sold and new house is built it will indeed be insanely busy. But the University is only an hour away and classes can be scheduled for three times a week.  Since I plan to actually ATTEND classes this time it's likely I'll get better grades than oh say 38 years ago.

That will allow me, outside of study and travel time, and I'm a big believer in listening to classes on CD while driving, 4 full days to work with my Keith on our new place, and continue to write free-lance articles as I do now for additional income.

I still believe the only reason they have accepted me this time is that my records were so old they had returned to dust, unable to place blame where it was due. In fact my old immunization records are so ancient (1959) I have to have new measles, mumps and rubella shots, a health requirement of the school.

I just hope I get a nice bottle of something warm and soothing to drink right after, like any good baby would.

Of course being the most brilliant blog followers in the world you might wonder "How is she going to pay for this little venture.?"

I'm not. My parents are.

You see, due to a  limited scholarship which grants full tuition waivers to U of I for the children of war veterans whose parents served either in WW2, Korean Conflict, Vietnam , Southwest Asia Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have been blessed with four years of paid tuition. I received notice of this award just two days ago. Here is the link in the event you are interested: http://www.osfa.illinois.edu/aid/scholarships/waivers_COV.html

Even though my parents, both veterans of the Korean Conflict, who have been dead many years, who were never able to attend college themselves, never made more than $16,000 a year.

I believe my mother is up in Heaven right now hysterically laughing at the irony of this more than anyone.




20 comments:

  1. How marvelous! Anyone who will travel 800 miles with a pregnant sow can do anything!

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    1. Ah Susan what a fabulous memory! Remember though we were paid well by the University of Penn to bring them that sow. Don't want you thinking we were totally unselfish in our travels last year :)

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  2. So .... you had the same academic performance that I did on campus! Drink .. party ... attempt to study .... I actually can't believe I didn't get kicked out although it was really really close!

    Have fun ... study hard .... and I can recommend a good sorority if you like! :)

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    1. Oh Miss Eff, was that you I shackled my leg too on the Quad that night not wanting anyone to steal us apart? Fun times. So happy my liver survived. Can't wait to see you April 5Th!

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  3. Glad you're getting a second chance! Try to stay away from those late night parties.

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    1. Carolyn, I'll be doing good this time around to make it home before by 6 pm bedtime!

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  4. Another adventure to be shared with us. Good for you.

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  5. Gosh; I wasn't expecting that. Good on ya. Just remember; it's fun to start a sentence with either 'and' or 'but', and it's even more fun to split your infinitives. Oh, and you'll have to take up smoking grass (unless you already do).

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  6. Ah Cro. You know how to get to the crux of the matter everytime. With my luck I'll be splitting the doobies and smoking the infinitives.

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  7. You are definitely astonishing, Donna! Good for you, Girl! Gosh, I could benefit from that program at 68 -- my father was a WW II vet! Wonder if there are any other states with similar programs...

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    1. Go broad go! I'll bet there are. Here is the link and maybe they can connect you to other states and universities http://www.osfa.illinois.edu/aid/scholarships/waivers_COV.html

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  8. Ah. I guess Sophie the Sow has set a good example. AFter all, if a pig can go to university, so can .... you! Good luck. And hey - has the sow graduated yet?

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    1. Sadly we've lost track with Sophie. We've called but she never answers. She is just a...pig.

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  9. that's pretty cool re the grant for the fees. I haven't a clue how much they are but American college fees are always perceived as being hundreds of thousands.
    It's a wonderful adventure and you will enjoy every minute :)

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    1. On average Lorna tuition for one year at this university is about $13,000 or $52,000 for a four year degree. Books will average another $1000 each year . If you live in student housing (not me!) add another $10,000 per year. About 60% of the students at U of I do receive some sort of financial aide and many are required to work part time to pay it back. I am very blessed to have received this 4 year tuition paid scholarship!

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    2. That's not as steep as I thought but yep, it's still a lot of money. It's about $3K here a year plus yes, the living accommodation etc.
      I had heard of fees of $100,000 but had forgotten that courses and universities can vary. I was a mature student myself btw, at the grand old age of 24 I went back to uni. Luckily no fees then and I even got a small grant of €2,500 a year :) That was in the UK but there's fees in place there now.

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    3. WOW. $3 K seems so cheap! I'm looking into the Study Abroad program at U of I for summer of 2015 where I can spend a month in Galway (woo-hoo) but even that 30 day cost is estimated at over $6000. So nuts. But at least you and I can finally meet in person and that Lorna would be PRICELESS!!

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  10. Well congrats to you and I am going to check that out here. too funny on your Ma. MB

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    1. Yeah, my ma. She was funny but her humor was underappreciated. If it wasn't for the inevitable physical decline of parents, I would wish that all of them could live to be 100 and FINALLY get to see their kids really grow up. !

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