“Why in the world would you want to go to college? That’s nonsense. You’ll just end up getting married anyway.” So it came as a shock that as adored as I was, as indulged as I was, my parents did not encourage my talk of college. In their defense, I will say that college was another world to them. Neither of them had gone to college, nor had anyone in their families or anyone among their friends. So, a child of theirs, particularly a girl, go to college? Ridiculous.
I was extremely fortunate that there were a number of people in my life who did strongly encourage me to go to college. The first was my sixth grade teacher who advised me to start a picture file right then as she was sure I would go to college and become a teacher. The next was my junior high school guidance counselor. A friend’s sister was in the cooperative course in high school, and the fact that as a senior she could work in a business and earn money appealed to me. But when I tried to choose the business course instead of the college prep course, Mr. Gallivan wouldn’t let me. He called me into his office and told me I had such ability that I MUST go to college. When I told him my parents did not want me to go because I would probably only end up getting married he said, “When you educate a man, you educate one person. When you educate a woman, you educate a family.”
My next-door neighbor Eileen also advocated for college as did the pastor and the choir director of my church, along with many parishioners. You can see that I had a lot of support. But my parents were adamant. I could go to college if I insisted, but they could not pay for my tuition. Looking back I realize that in spite of my mother’s careful budgeting they would not have been able even to contribute to tuition.
Somehow, more out of innocence than faith, I went ahead and applied to two colleges – Boston University and Tufts – and was accepted at both. B.U. offered a substantial scholarship, Tufts only a small amount, but, again, more out of innocence than faith, at Eileen’s urging, I accepted Tufts. Then came the miracles: scholarships from the American Legion, The Baptist Convention, my old junior high school, a benefactor at Tufts, and a $500 scholarship for coming in second in the state of Massachusetts in the Betty Crocker Search for the Homemaker of tomorrow.
I became an Off-Hill student living at home, not even five miles away. I used some money I’d saved from working in Filene’s for my books that first year and after that I worked summers in a diode factory and during the school year in the Tufts Bookstore. My parents agreed to give me an allowance which covered lunches and things like bus fair, and I think Aunt Dot bought my clothes and often provided transportation.
So somehow, on June 12, 1960, I graduated from Tufts and, indeed, six days later I did get married. But my Tufts education has always been of great importance to me. Not only did it open the world of poetry, literature, psychology, and philosophy, but it allowed me to have a career in teaching which has not only been something I’ve loved but also a valuable means of support.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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