It was my privilege to send the first copy of the “The Giving Grandpa” to my aunt, Geneva Graham in Craigsville, West Virginia. Aunt Neva is a special lady who invested years as an elementary school teacher. I remember visiting her as a child and feeling I was important. Aunt Neva included kids in the conversations and placed value on youthful insight and comments. Isn’t that a mark of a great teacher?
I knew part of the story of Aunt Neva’s college education and how she became a teacher. Coming from a large family with little in the way of finances she had to want that education. The goal required hard work, employment while attending college, and a determination that the reward was worth the sacrifice. Aunt Neva was an inspiration to me as I worked nights to put myself through college years later.
Now I know more of the story. Aunt Neva attended Marshall University in 1940 to begin a 2 year teaching certificate curriculum. Her Uncle Spencer gave her the $60 for the first year’s tuition with a promise of another $60 for the second year once the first was completed. Thank you, Uncle Spencer, for believing in education and in Aunt Neva. I understand Aunt Neva repaid the full loan years later.
But her story continues. Aunt Neva taught school after completing the program and took additional classes as she could. In 1969 she finished her degree from Glenville College after a 29 year quest. Her grandchildren were able to attend the graduation. What a lady and what an accomplishment!
I earned my engineering degree 32 years ago. We’ve lived in NC – MD – WV – VA – NC. I have worked for such companies as Western Electric, General Instrument, FiberCom, Bell Northern Research, Northern Telecom (aka Nortel, Nortel Networks, Bankrupt, and now Defunct), and Alcatel-Lucent. In those years I married a beautiful lady and we were blessed with 2 adorable daughters. That cumulative life experience taught me a vital truth – I don’t know it all. My education continues year after year.
After many weeks of soul searching I’ve decided to take a new path. I’m stepping away from engineering for a time of renewal. During coming weeks I will be writing to capture and develop some of the loose ideas roaming my mind. This old dog is ready to learn some new tricks.