Friday, May 12, 2017

Point of No Return

Abigail Bieker

This weekend my darling granddaughter, Abigail Bieker, will be graduating from Northern Arizona State University. I'll be driving down with my daughter, her mother Mary Beth, tomorrow. We are so proud of Abby!

A college degree is an enormous advantage in today's economy. What's more, it can't be erased. It's there. Forever.

During historical interviews I've been struck at how much everything has changed. Women from a preceding generation told of canning little jars of beef to take for their food. Casually running home during a semester was unheard of. Rules were strictly enforced and expulsion was a constant threat.

Curfews reigned. Dorms were either men or women. Women were forbidden to ever, I mean ever, visit a man's living quarters. Even sororities locked their doors promptly at certain times every night. Over time the rules were relaxed and dorms yielded to men's floors and women's floor, then even that has given way to shared mixed gender rooms.

Calls home, which often involved party lines, were expensive and traumatic. Imagine chats with the parents with all the neighbors listening in. There were no credit cards, cash was scarce and skimping was a way of life. Friends chipped in a quarter to provide refreshments for a party. There was little relief from constant study.

Library, Rack, Books, Shelves, Newspaper

Libraries were hallowed ground. With no internet available it was essential to devour as many books as possible to do a decent job of writing papers and responding to assignments. It was study, study, study. This was the only time one would have access to this quantity of books.

Girl, Computer, NotebookThere has been a sea change globally in about every area, especially in how we do research. Having lived in small towns with limited libraries my gratitude for the internet knows no bounds. I cannot fully express my appreciation. Yet work is work. The young woman slumped over her computer knows this. The internet hasn't erased the need to think, and thinking is hard! The publishing industry is now totally dependent on electronics. A couple of weeks ago I broke my little Surface computer. I bought it in 2012 so it was ancient by current standards. I have a large desktop but it won't do me a bit of good when I'm in Arizona. I need something portable to take with me. I can and do compose in longhand a lot of the time. Especially when it comes to fiction.

But longhand is no good for transmitting documents. My weekend guest post is by the fabulous Tammy Kaehler and she has a wonderful series with Poisoned Pen. I won't be able to send her post before I leave. But the hotel has a business service center.

I've reached the point of no return. It's electronics or perish.


Rick Blechta said...

Yes, things sure have changed -- but sadly not enough. Women still often have the tougher road in post-secondary, let alone the job place afterwards.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Congratulations to Abby! And may your use of business services go smoothly.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

The family resemblance between you, Charlotte, and Abby, is astounding. I'm sure you've heard that before. Enjoy your trip, and congratulations to Abby!