Saturday, August 6, 2016



Quick decisions can sometimes get you in trouble.  Or it can lead to a roller coaster ride that might be missed by being a scaredy cat.   I jumped into a whirling jamboree without considering the work or the consequences.  When 21 year old Tia, third great granddaughter, walked out on Hoy Field to receive her Phoenix College diploma, little did I know how that was going to affect me.   

Without thinking it through, I told son Fred, “I can do that.  I only need two more credits,” and with a sigh, “in Science.”  I had lots of credits in the fun courses, writing, newspaper, photography, art, history, but lack of Science credits had kept me from graduating forty some years ago. 

It wasn’t easy.  Short term memory caused me to give up all other activities for 100 days.  I had to concentrate solely on finding a way to pass the online “Science of Nutrition.” I strongly considered dumping it after the first test.  However, I couldn’t face telling my PC graduate kids – son, grandson, three great-granddaughters – that I was chickening out. 
Three blogs give the story of the struggle if you want to check the blog file.

Then came the big day, G-Day, Friday, May 13, 2016.  It is now almost three months later, as I write this, and I am trying to get those fireworks days organized.   The URL link shown will show the story.
This will be my filing case.  I’m putting out a red flag now that this file might be rather dull.   The next blog, three weeks in Texas, will be much more lively.

Megan, from Phoenix College, emailed and asked if I would talk to a reporter from Channel 3 and Channel 5.  Wow!  You’re durn tootin’. Send ‘em over!   You're never too old to follow your dreams. Reporter, Jason Barry, TV channels 3 and 5, KPHO/KTVK, May 12, 2016.

We made a date of May 12 at Laura Danieli lunchroom where I had arranged to give a talk, “Hear Her Story – 71 years to Finish a Dream.”  My desire was to encourage others to follow their dream, regardless of age or disability.
The action began when two special friends, Amanda and Ursula, came to my apartment.  They helped me put my gown on right side out and the cap at the proper angle.  They attempted to calm me to a slow run, but it wasn’t possible, I was keyed up to high gear.  

 One of the very best Arizona Republic feature writers, Dianna Nanez, appeared with her camera.  This link is to the e-version of the Arizona Republic.  After you get past the ad, it also captures my five-minute talk.  88-year-old Phoenix woman chased her dreams and caught them.  Arizona Republic story, Dianna M. Náñez, June 4, 2016.
 In the lunchroom, two cakes and flowers magically appeared to give a party appearance.
More friends took time out from a busy day.  Daniel, a one-of-a-kind-reporter who remained a good friend despite Ed saying “No” to his writing about our romance, came for the show.   Jack, who had been Ed’s best Phoenix friend, surprised me and I couldn’t have been happier when I hugged him. 

Family had told me that they would be at our family dinner on graduation day and I didn’t expect anyone here.
I was ready to give my talk, notes in one hand, mike in the other, wanting someone to hold up my book, “The Alternate Safe World of Sanctuary,” when out of the blue, great granddaughter Tia appeared.  My cup floweth over.  

So much of what happened next has become a blur.  Jason Barry and his crew took me over to Phoenix College, in my cap and gown, on a hot afternoon and I walked up and down that sidewalk dozens of times for the photographers to get 30 seconds of shots. That evening I set the VCR to tape both channels and went to bed.  While I slept a couple of dozen stations picked up the story. 

Next day would be even more exciting.  Colleen arrived first, coming in from Detroit.  I know she came to support me and show her love for me, but I also felt she represented Duane, a major person in both of our lives.  Then wonderful niece Kathy, from Houston, parked and a beautiful young lady came walking up the sidewalk.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Dolores had come along, first time I had visited with her since the families had explored the zoo together.
What a crowd we had at “My Mother’s” private dining room.  There never can be so much happiness as to when all of one’s family is together in one space, all talking at once, laughter from one corner and then giggles from another. 

Yes, just about every one of my family, plus my apartment friends who had cheered me on from the beginning; plus Tim and Alice representing the Lewis clan and always standing by me; and our special out-of-town visitors.  My cup not only runneth over, I was crying with happiness. 

Another blur – only two moments stand out for the ceremony.  Five hundred or so graduates were sitting together for instructions.  The channel 5 recording was shown on the tv screen, I was introduced, took my bow and my fellow graduates rose and gave me a salute.  The next I recall – walking across that green grass to the presentation stand.  The rest is a blank. 

Well, it’s all over.  The coach turns back into a pumpkin, the silver slippers are gone. 
Almost.  Shanna Hogan called me.  Shanna of the New Times, ASU journalism teacher, author of best selling true-crime books, with a bunch of awards.  What could she do with someone who is not spectacular and doesn’t have a problem?  As it turned out, she wrote a great story and one of my best moments was signing our books for each other.     88-Year-Old Phoenix Great-Grandmother Graduates from College.   Phoenix New Times, Shanna Hogan, May 25, 2016

Some nice things have happened because of the media attention.  I sold a few more books.  We had some nice family get-togethers.  And I enjoyed every moment of my Roller Coaster Ride.  

Here are more links to stories.  I hope I haven’t missed any.    ”88-year-old writer donates book to library”   June 30, 2016, Glendale Star. earns diploma at the age of 88”   June 24, 2016.  Hendricks County (Indiana) Flyer        June 7, 2016 – Graduation story “It Doesn’t happen Often”    website, The Collected Life of Mariam, long-ago published stories, current blogs and the first chapter of Sanctuary.  

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