My mom and I graduated from college the same day, June 1967. I graduated from Fordham in the morning; she graduated from Hofstra in the afternoon. She is beaming with pride in my accomplishment; I on the other hand look sulky about her much greater achievement. Mom’s father died when she was 17. Because he has been ill so long, he wan’t able to get life insurance. Although mom was a brilliant student, she had to give up her college plans and attend secretarial school to help support her family. She tried to go to college at night, but got pneumonia and had to give it up.
When Mark, my youngest brother, was 5, she returned to college. Knowing her only as a mother, not an intellectual, the family was staggered by her straight A average. In 1969 she got her master’s degree in American History and taught high school. Fortunately, she was able to teach at our local school, just down the block, so she was available to my younger brothers when they came home from school.