Tuesday, July 28

Tuesday Teaser: Blue Hairs Returning To School

"Grandma Sallie" (Denham) Cupp
around the time she enrolled in college

Going back to school is hard enough if you've only been out a few years, but what if you left at 14 and are now in your sixties?

Angela of Incense & Peppermint shares how it was for her mother in ...in which I humiliate my mother. (Be sure to have tissues handy toward the end.)

Angela's post reminded me of my own great-grandmother, Sarah (Denham) CUPP, who in letters to my mother as a young girl never missed an opportunity to champion education for women.

Born in Iowa in 1849 and then transplanted to rural Kansas at the age of 7, "Sallie" did what girls were expected to do in the 1870s: marry, have children, and keep house. Therefore, she repeatedly cautioned my mother not to fall into the same trap. First get an education! More often than not, her gifts to Mother at Christmas and birthdays were books.

Sadly, the only "degree" my mother ever wanted was an MRS from my father. Worse, she had absolutely no curiosity whatsoever about the world. None.

To placate Grandma Sallie, who had bought her a typewriter to practice on, Mother attended (and graduated from) the local secretarial school, but never used the training. Obviously she could read, but simply had no desire to do so for pleasure. The only book I ever saw her open was the Bible or a hymnal, and only in church.

Grandma Sallie, on the other hand, had a insatiable thirst for knowledge despite - or because of - the lack of schooling in her youth.

At 83, she decided "I don't know enough", and enrolled in a nearby community college. At 83! Her advanced age apparently didn't deter a door-to-door salesman from selling her a set of encyclopedia on "time" at 10 cents a week, which she paid off long before her death ten tears later.

Have a great curious day!

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Cal said...

What a wonderful story. You're never too old....age is a mental not chronological state! I popped over to Incense and Peppermint too - another inspirational story. Thanks.
Have a great week.
Cal x

Angela Montague said...

Thanks for sharing your story, so pleased you enjoyed mine and wished to share it with others.


LondonGirl said...

What a wonderful woman she was! My mother went back to university last September, at the age of 60, to do a post-grad diploma in music. That's not been easy, although she's loved doing it. And my mother already has a degree and post-graduate degree, albeit from nearly 40 years ago!

What about the intervening generation, your mother's parent and Sally's children? Did they persue education?

Nina P. said...

I tell my students the day I quit learning is the day I'll quit work... I love to learn I love to teach. Life has so many lessons to share! Great Post in honor of a Gracious, Educated lady. Love and Light, Nina P.

david mcmahon said...

Terrific tale - I don't think there's ever an age when we can truly say ``We know enough''!

Anonymous said...

None of us know enough, but she was so smart, she realized it, admitted it and then did something about it. Great first story to absorb today. Thank you. David McMahon linked to you so I stopped for a visit.

JamaGenie said...

Cal, Angela, LondonGirl, Nora - I posted replies Wednesday, but the Comments Grinch apparently ate them! (Other blogs are having similar issues - hopefully it's fixed now.)

So I'll try this again.

Cal, you are so right! Age IS a state of mind!

Angela, your mother's story is such an inspiration - how could I *not* share it!

LG, the women in your family will never stop learning. How lucky you are! As for Sally's children, none sought a formal education after high school, and only a few of their children did.

Nina P., what a great attitude and a wonderful inspiration to your students (if they'll only take the hint)! The day I stop wanting to learn new things is the day they can plant me. ;D

JamaGenie said...

David, I'm flabbergasted (and flattered) that you mentioned this post in your Post of the Day! Thank you!

Mary, glad you enjoyed this tribute to my great-grandmother (and by extension, Angela's mother). Wise ladies all!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing woman, you must be very proud to have her as one of your ancestors.

CJ xx