TexasEscapes.comHistoric Texas: The Past As It Is Today
Columns: Historical, Humor and Opinion
Over 1000 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : RESERVATIONS : : TEXAS TOWNS A-Z : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
FORUM
RESERVATIONS
Hotels
Cars
Air
USA
World
Cruises
TEXAS TRAVEL
TOWNS A to Z
Towns by Region
GHOST TOWNS
TRIPS :
State Parks
Rivers
Lakes
Drives
Maps
LODGING
TEXAS
COLUMNS
FEATURES :
Ghosts
People
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
ARCHITECTURE :
Courthouses
Jails
Bridges
Theaters
Churches
Gas Stations
Water Towers
Monuments
Statues

Schoolhouses
Post Offices
Depots
IMAGES :
Old Neon
Murals
Signs
BOOKS
Links
TE
Site Information
Recommend Us
Newsletter
About Us
Contact TE
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Old Dogs, New Tricks
by Peary Perry

Peary Perry
Weíve all heard the old adage that ÖĒYou canít teach an old dog, new tricks.Ē

Well, Iím an old dog, and Iím about to find out if thatís true or not. I have enrolled in a local university and am trying to go back to college after 37 years to finish up and get my degree.

Now, you might ask yourself Öwhy would he do that? And I would tell you, I donít know, but as they sayÖ it seemed like the thing to do at the time. It isnít as if I donít have enough things on my plate as it is now, but I guess this just adds a little more to the pile.

First off, I have to go in for an interview to see how many hours Iíll need on a degree plan. Iíve decided to go for a history degree since a business degree isnít needed any longer. They suggested a degree in English or creative writing, but I passed on that as well, since I canít stand anyone to critique my stuff. Iíd hate to learn that everything Iíve been doing for years was all wrong. In this capacity, ignorance is truly bliss.

No, I figured if I am going to spend the next three or four years trying this out, I might as well dive into something I enjoy rather than something I dread. I love history, so that makes sense to me.

During the interview, they checked my last college grades. I had made a ĎDí in a course, which had put me on academic probation. Since I never went back to school, I was still on probation after all of these years.

They wanted an explanation. Said they had to have one before I could be admitted.

I looked at the transcript and realized the last time anyone had even looked at this stuff was in 1968. Thatís 37 years ago. I thought back to what was going on in my life and told themÖI was a cop, the city had a riot, my wife was pregnant, she lost the baby and had a nervous breakdown, I had a new business getting started and was trying to make decent grades, but some how other things got in the way. They told me that was fine; they had more information than they needed. I got the impression they were looking for something along the lines of Ö.ĒI went on Spring Break and forgotĒ. I suppose kids out of high school donít have many excuses like these. Well, they havenít lived as long as I have either.

Anyway, here I sit in a class of 25, and Iím trying to figure out whoís the oldest, me or the professor. I canít tell for sure. I can take notes, and I can listen and I can learn.

My kids think this is a hoot. I have a parking sticker on the back of my car, I have my books. God, are they expensive. I have my notebook and I have homework.

I spent all weekend reading 100 pages of my assignment and then writing a paper to be turned in next class. Over the past 30 years, Iíve written hundreds of papers, letters and proposals relating to various businesses that Iíve started or been involved with. I can tell you none of these has produced the kind of anxiety Iíve gotten over this first paper. My palms are sweaty and Iím nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs while my wife reads what Iíve written. She says she likes it, but then Iím filled with doubt, because maybe sheís lying and doesnít want to hurt my feelings. Can it be this bad or is it really good? The only true way to find out is to turn it in and let it be graded.

For years I had this nightmare that I was in a geometry class again and had this final exam, which I had zero possibility of passing. If I didnít pass I was doomed to repeat this course over and over. I suppose thatís one reason Iíve waited so long to determine if I could muster up enough gumption and brain cells to get back into the habit of studying and learning something new again.

So, Iíve paid my tuition, bought all of my stuff and am now committed to doing this semester. Weíll see what happens and how it goes from here on out.

At least itíll give me something to write about each week.


© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - March 30 , 2005 column
Search:
Keywords:
Search Amazon.com
HOME
Privacy Statement | Disclaimer
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2005. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: March 30, 2005