Mrs. Blumenschein Matriculates at Sixty

Mrs. Blumenschein Matriculates at Sixty

Enough with the babies. It’s time now for you.
Cease with the usual. Do something new.
For once be the player instead of the coach.
Let this school year start out with a brand new approach.
Before you’re a grandma, face your heart’s desire.
Matriculate college as others retire.
Sixty’s not too late to make use of your mind.
Create the life for which you have pined.
As your youngest departs to expand his knowledge,
pack up your own bags. It’s your own turn for college.

When I entered college in 1965, one of my fellow freshmen was Mrs. Blumenschein, age 60, mother of nine, who, when her youngest packed up for college, packed up and enrolled herself. She had long red tangled hair, the nicotine-stained fingers and cracked voice of a chain-smoker and a sharp mind. Graduating in four years with an A average, she became a graduate assistant in the English Department as she went on to get her masters. One form of discrimination rarely mentioned in this age of protest against racial, sexual and gender discrimination is ageism. Mrs. Blumeschein conquered that prejudice long before it ever became an issue elsewhere. So, here’s my tribute to Mrs. Blumenschein.

Prompts for the day are enough, baby, usual, matriculate and coach. Image thanks to Alonso Villa Ulloa on Unsplash, used with permission

17 thoughts on “Mrs. Blumenschein Matriculates at Sixty

  1. koolkosherkitchen

    Wonderful tribute.
    I have a friend who, when pregnant for the 9th time, went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (may his memory last forever) for a blessing. The Rebbe said, and I quote, “When you recover from giving birth, you should get a Master Degree in Special Education because our children will need it soon.” She did, after having twins, and for many years taught Special ed. kindergarten.
    Also, I occasionally have students of this age group – they deserve the highest admiration!

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      1. koolkosherkitchen

        She had gone to college for her BA right after the first child, then took a break, actually never thinking that she would ever go back. She started on her Masters when the twin girls were 3 months old and finished by their third birthday. Nice, quiet, organized, keeping a beautiful house and a delicious array of kosher dishes, entertaining endless relatives and friends – she is amazing.

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            1. koolkosherkitchen

              Adoptive; birth parents perished during the Holocaust, and nobody knows who they were. Her adoptive father got his Ph. D. from Columbia. His dissertation has been published as a book “History of Lubavitch Movement,” considered the most comprehensive analysis of a religious movement written during the last three centuries. He knew 8 languages (the Rebbe knew 11), translated the seminal work of Chassidism “The Tanya” into English, and worked as the Rebbe’s private secretary. Because of that, my friend Frida inherited the archive of the Rebbe’s letters, about 80,000 of them. Ever since she retired, she has been thematically compiling, translating, and publishing them, for instance “The Rebbe on Science,” “The Rebbe on Education,” etc. Her mother was also a translator. Yet she is so very humble; in every book she publishes, it says “Prepared for publication by Rabbi and Mrs…” i.e. her husband’s name comes first. Her husband’s grandfather was the Rebbe’s only teacher, until the Rebbe entered the Sorbonne.

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  2. slmret

    This is such a wonderful tribute — I have great admiration for those who go back in later years to complete their education — not only to they attain their degrees, but they also share life experience with the younger generation!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      Me, too. I just remembered her name–Alice. I spent more than an hour trying to find her photo in the Wyoming yearbook but evidently she didn’t have her photo taken for it. Too bad.

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