Thursday, April 12, 2012

Like Abe Lincoln, I walked to school uphill--both ways

In a comment on my last post, beloved Mimi in Dublin asks whether I've always been so resourceful and positive.  

Hmmm...  I believe the answer to your question is "yes."

I know I've always been a positive person; I was a nice kid, though I'm nothing like how I started out.  As I say in my book, I was a shy and quiet child.  Believe me, no one would EVER have looked at me and thought, "This one's going to do stand-up comedy."  Little did they know I'd sent my favorite jokes to Johnny Carson for his consideration (my first experience with rejection). Evidently I always thought "big." 

I actually looked up the Dictionary. com definition of resourceful ("able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.")  Yep, I've always been resourceful.  If you read my book, you know that I had two kids at age 21, which actually is much younger these days than it was in the late 1970s.  Back then, hell, you were an adult at 18.  In today's age of helicopter parenting, kids become an adult now at, what?  Thirty?  Thirty-five?   

Anyway, yeah, I had two kids at 21 (they were less than 13 months apart!) and guess how old I was when I finished my bachelor's degree?  I was 23. 

Did I ever tell you my Abe Lincoln story?  Well, it's about time.

I'd gotten pregnant for Christopher at the end of the spring semester of my sophomore year of college at Plattsburgh State University in (way, way) upstate New York, and I left school after the next fall semester.  Christopher was born in February 1978 and Court was born in March 1979.   Less than a year later, I went back to school part-time at the State University of New York at Albany to finish the last 33 credits toward my degree.

We had only one car back then, which Chris (my first husband) needed for work.  So I packed up both babies and took a bus a little more than a mile to my parents' house, where I dropped them off (my mother watched them while I was in school).  Then I walked a half mile to get the SUNY bus, which took me to the campus.  After classes, I'd take the bus back, but thankfully, on the return trip, it left me off just a few blocks from their house.

Can I remind you I also did this during the Albany winters?  The thought of putting two babies in snowsuits, hats and boots, and then waiting at the bus stop in the cold and wind, and then piling the kids, a diaper bag, and my school books onto the bus... I'm exhausted just thinking of it!  But I did it; I got my friggin' bachelor's degree when I was 23.  Yep, I was resourceful.

Can you imagine the Pussy Nation children of helicopter parents doing all that?  Kids today (old person speaking) don't walk a quarter of a mile, much less get on a bus. 

And let me tell you something else.  I see a lot of young women--even teenagers--that look like they need a good workout.  I may have been too poor to buy a car when I was their age, but at age 54, my ass is in much better shape!


~Coach said...

So are you a Rangers fan then? :) My dad was stationed at Plattsburgh when I was in grade school...

raydenzel1 said...

you forgot to mention barefoot and walking backwards! lol
yes, I remember!

Mimi said...

LOVE this post Linda, and not just cos I'm mentioned in it!
Isn't attitude everything?
Fair play to you!

Taradharma said...

in addition to being resourceful, you had grit and determination! I bow down to your awesomeness! That story of bundling the kids onto the bus, etc., is amazing, and yes, makes me tired just reading it.

I hate sounding like an old person, but dammit, you're right: many kids today lack the sheer determination that you had. Or maybe we're over-generalizing and there are a lot of great stories out there of kids today who have overcome extreme hardship. I like to think this is the case.

Debbie said...

JEEZ I need a drink now! And you are so right. This generation of youth are the most coddled, spoiled, UNRESOURCEFUL brats ever. My 58 year old cousin has his 26 year son and daughter-in-law living with them. This kid has two kids from two different girls and works PART-TIME at UPS and recently took a stress leave!!!! Can you fuckin' believe that?!?!?! WHAT STRESS? Your dad gives you free room and board, feeds you and helps clothe you kids. DISGUSTING.

You must have been very smart Linda to get your degree while taking care of two babies at the same time. Damn impressive. I, on the other hand, as you've probably learned by now am a glass half full person. Negative Nancy. I just shared a long email with Ruben (Heavenly Minded blog) an we were discussing this very topic. Do you think people are hardwired to be one way or the other?

Anyway, great post. And congrats on the new gig ... I hate you.