May 24, 2010
This week, we have a story written by Kimberly Baird, from Morell, PEI. Kim has recently been enrolled with the Adult & Community Education Program at Holland College in Morell. She is now taking courses at Holland College in the Bioscience program.
"You know, I used to walk miles to school through any kind of weather."
"Yeah Dad, I know, barefoot and uphill both ways too." I rolled my eyes. "You've told me before."
"You don't know. That one room schoolhouse was hot as Hades in summer and if you weren't lucky enough to have a seat by the woodstove in the winter, well, your fingers would cramp trying to scratch out your lessons on your slate. And getting water, now that was a pain, chipping through ice at the stream with an old, dull axe. Wonder we ever learned anything." Dad's eyes roamed over my school texts splayed across the kitchen table. "Things sure have changed since my day," he mumbled.
"Trust me, Dad, they've changed during my time too," I declared. His eyes rose inquiringly over the rim of his coffee cup. "I can remember having to search through card catalogues for my research at the library and using Nanny's old typewriter to hunt and peck out my essay assignments." I smiled at the memory. "The darn ribbon used to slip. Half the type was red; the other was black.
"Being back in school now as an adult is an eye-opener. It amazes me that I have the world at my fingertips with the click of a mouse. There's so many more choices now than ever before too and no more traditional roles for women. It's exciting to be preparing for a career in what would have been considered a man's job only twenty five years ago."
Nodding slowly and staring off into the distance, Dad murmured, "Yes, I imagine it would be exciting. Wish I was your age again and had the chance to go back to school."
"I have an advantage I think too, being an adult – I know what life's like without an education and appreciate the opportunity so much more because of it."
"Are there many students at Adult Ed?" Dad wondered.
"Yep, quite a lot. There are people of all different ages, taking all different things. Some are working toward their GED's, some are getting upgrading for college or university and some are just going out to see what's out there and what interests them. Everyone has a unique story. Everybody fits in."
Dad flipped through a sheaf of papers. "Your marks are good," he murmured with a smile.
"Not bad. I'm doing better than I originally thought I would. I wasn't sure how I would do after being out of school for so long, but two plus two still equals four. My self-confidence got a boost to know I can still learn and compete. I just wish I hadn't wasted so much time. Youth truly is wasted on the young," I said with a sigh. I looked up to spy a grin on my father's face. "What's so funny?" I demanded.
His eyes twinkling, he leaned forward and whispered, "You're starting to sound like me, old-timer!"
[This story was taken with permission, from Live & Learn, Spring 2010, published by the PEI Literacy Alliance.]