One Small Thing Omitted

I didn’t get to college in 1965 after graduating high school, instead, I went to nursing school. My parents (actually my father) had told me that there wasn’t enough money for my college education and I shouldn’t even apply.

Anyone who knows me knows that I never wanted to be a nurse. When I first started as an RN at a local hospital, I would call off as often as I could without losing my job. I knew what I had once wanted to be…a journalist. I’d enjoyed my English classes, wrote short stories and themes, even worked on the high school paper, but it wasn’t to be my profession.

I trudged my way through staff nursing and then home care. I went into nursing home nursing and through many twists and turns finally found myself a VP of Nursing…another job I hated. I was surrounded by males, not nurses, telling me how to do my job…the job I didn’t want to do. Just as my father had. But I was single and needed to work. So I trudged on.

Recently I was at my high school’s fiftieth reunion. I’d made some comments about how out of place I’d felt all through school. And not going to college just underscored that feeling.

At the end of the dinner as my husband and I were leaving, an old friend came up to me and said, “I had to tell you, Mitzi. Of everyone in our class, you had the highest IQ.”

I smiled and thanked her for telling me but I walked out with lots of emotions swirling inside of me.

I remembered my English teacher being shocked that I wasn’t going to college but to a nursing school instead, and not a university one at that.

I wondered if my parents had been told of my IQ. And if they knew why didn’t they help me to do what I wanted to do.

Why didn’t the guidance counselor at the school lead me to college? Why wasn’t I given help for scholarships or grants?

But I kept coming back to the major question: did my parents know? And if they did, had they just shrugged their shoulders and said, quietly to themselves, “So what?”

As I approach my seventieth year, I know my IQ is now lower than what it was at 18. I don’t even care about the number anymore.

I think about what could have been.

The best thing to come from my life is my daughter, very bright, another one who loves English. I know if I’d gone in a different direction, I wouldn’t have her.

But still I wonder…


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