Starting a new life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2005

I have written about all the crazy things I did growing up in New England. I have no regrets about any part. Now I am embarking on another phase. Stick around. I have many phases to go through. If it wasn’t interesting I would have just refused.

God goofed when He made the getting old phase. I was doing great in life until someone said, &uot;Go on,&uot; and He came up with getting old. Now I refuse to be part of a ‘getting old’ plan. I won’t even say I’m old. Elderly, yes. Old, no. When I think of old I think of fruit out too long. Not a pretty sight. And you know where it goes. I’m not ready for that yet. Even told the Lord that.

So where are we? Back to my story…I’m through college. Never held a job in my life. (Irish father guilty.) I had just finished three years of teacher’s college and things were about to change. I was in

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the last three year class. After me it would be four years. I had a diploma but not a degree. I could teach but could be dumped for any reason good or bad. No one dumps a Coyne. If it every happened big mouth Uncle George, superintendent of schools in my city, would never let my dad forget. So my scheming mind went to work. I needed a degree. I was a degree person. I decided that for myself. I couldn’t go back to my college. I had left with a three-year diploma in my hand.

Then it came to me – summer school!

Kids failed and summer school was born. Why not the same in college? I acquired at this time enough catalogs to start my own business for anyone interested in questions about the next step in education.

One night out with friends someone mentioned they were going for two weeks to the Cape. There is only one Cape in a Massachusetts citizen’s life – Cape Cod. I knew it well. Spent summers there. How could I have been so dumb? Hyannis had a teacher’s college. Happy days. Couldn’t wait to call there! I emphasized that I needed 12 credits and I had all the others required. When I said I had graduated from Salem I think they said, &uot;We’re better. Come and we’ll prove it.&uot; Wow!

With enrollment, books, activities (I’ll make my own activities, thank you.) You may all gasp here as I mention the cost and what it costs today. My cost – ready? $200. To be fair, $200 was high then. Today those four classes would be $1,200 – $300 a course. So I borrowed $200 and off I went to the Cape. Happy day! If it had been a million (so low these days) I would have found it.

Next to consider – the young men I thought I was in love with. Eddie, four years older than me, was talking marriage. I wasn’t ready. I had some living to do (and how I did it. Will tell you later.) Eddie was a chemist. Smart and a good salary, but I’d always be a doll to him and I wanted to let it be known I had a brain.

Next was Bob. Holy Cross College, rich father, always ready for a good time and a good looking charmer. Both got the same answer. No fun and games and definitely no marriage. Strict orders to visit me every weekend. Both promised and did. Meanwhile I met a guy from the Cape. He showed me the Cape north and south. So I loved the Cape and three guys. Education? I played but with four easy courses I could play. If you don’t play at the Cape you’ve lost your mind. Didn’t miss a class. Got two

A’s, B+ and B. How about that? Play and keep the guys in line. You’ll love it. I guarantee it! I passed, of course. I had my degree. I was ready.

Florence Arena lives in a Smithfield retirement home and writes an occasional column for the News-Herald.