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To help adults and children understand psychology.
THE MAKING OF A COUNSELOR This is the story of a life time struggle after a near death illness that left me at six years old handicapped. It is the story of a struggle to try to regain what was lost or to try and compensate, to try with much effort to do the things others were doing with ease. This struggle lead me to be a counselor and to help others with or without handicap to live happier and reach out to do more. It is the story of unsung hero's that helped me.
Start at the bottom and work your way up to the lastest post.
The Next Try Was Success But Another Set Back
|Posted on December 25, 2012 at 9:35 PM||comments ()|
One step forward, one step back, or at lease one foot nailed to the floor. I passed my prelims with not problems as the conditions were just right for me. We have to build our environments to work for us. That I did and it was exillerating. The next step was to get my research done. The doctorate was awarded but not yet granted. I had to finish the resarch. I had done all the hands on and book research, just not finished the book of my readings, experiment, and statistical results. A new set back. If I had stayed at the University it would of taken a few months. But my son became ill with asthma.
I had not explained why I had traveled 300 miles to take my prelims. Before I had finished my prelimsI had moved back to my home town because of my youngest son's health. The last year there I had rented a house from the teacher that had removed herself from my commitee. The house, unknown to us, was a sick house, the vents were open to the filth of under the house where animals had lived and perhaps died. I had heard from neighbors and a passer by that two children had died in the house. When my son's asthma had gotten bad I had taken him to the doctor. He had him run around the block. He came back weezing. The doctor said he was fine, but when we went home to my home town for winter vacation he got really sick and the emergency room said he had a really bad respiratory infection. I vowed I would not take him back to the area of the university. His life was way more important then a degree. I went back only to pack up everything and move home. It was then that I got my three jobs, working with families, sexoffenders, and Native Americans, many victims. .
Correcsponding with my advisor and sending my disertation back and forth was a slow process. I did not have access to their powerful computers for my statistical analysis. I bought a TSR 80 from radio shack. I was so excited to turn it on and cried when I realized it had little to no programs, nor almost nothing to buy. My brother programmed it for statistics and I began to enter the data. I lost count of the amount of times I crashed his programs. With my damaged nurvious system I do not always have control over which button on the keyboard I push. My brother said he could not predict my next mistake. It was an excruciating long and involved process to do by hand. Months went by, my computer was stollen, and then found in another town when the theives tried to pon it. It was returned with the drive damaged. The soga drags on for sex years. Six years is the limit to finish the disertation. I was down to the last summer. I had to go back to finish it up.
We Can Not Predict the Future Only Build It
|Posted on December 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM||comments ()|
I studied my lists intensely and was ready for the four days of testing. The night before I was to leave and travel 300 miles to take them my second son had friends over and they would not quiet down. We can not always control other peoples teenagers. I did not get much sleep.
I headed out the next morning early, I was sleepy. I had driven about 200 miles and I almost feel asleep at the wheel. I looked up and the landscape was a blur. I could tell nothing. Something in my mind told me to swerve to the left and then to the right. I was expecting to go over a cliff and turn upside down and was waiting for the large boulders to dent in the ceiling of the car. What boulders? When the car came to a stop I was surprised the road fences were so strong. What fence? I had seen nothing but a blur.
I jumped out of the car and sure enough there was the fence and looking over I seen the boulders. There was water down below. I knew that we see more then we are conscious of, I knew from the experiment in a psychology class. So I went over where the car has swerved to the left. Sure enough the water could not be seen from there. I seen where I swerved to the right, if I had not I would of hit a cliff. The finder was torn off the front of the car and the car was all dented on the side, it was definitely totaled.
I called a friend to come and pick me up. She took me to her apt and left for a weeks vacation. She and I both thought I was ok. In the night I was really sick and sick all night into the morning, I lost a lot of fluid. The next morning I was very weak, I could hardly move. I found one of her girl's bikes and peddled a few miles to the town and a doctor told me to take electrolytes. I bought them and drank them in the store and I began to feel better within a few minutes.
The next day I went to the testing. My lists had been approved and I began the tests. All went fine for an hour or two. Then the headache began. I had a concussion. I kept going until it was had to see, my writing had deteriorated until it was impossible to read. It was scribble. The headache was too great, the pain excruciating. I had to quit. I took my papers to my advisor and told him the situation. He put them in an envelope and said not to worry that I could sign up again to take the prelims again. What a bummer. All that time and effort down the drain, and no car. It is bad enough to be handicapped, but to have set backs to is extra discouraging, what next, why me.
Everything Had To Fit Together Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
|Posted on December 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM||comments ()|
My task was to make a list of words to jog my memory. I knew I was a top down learner, that is I had to see the whole picture first as I could not remember details without it. I had to have the concepts first to give enough meaning to the details so I could recognize them. A fresh list of words was meaningless to me, but if each word was a character in a concept story I could recognize it. I could recognize the word as part of a story and the story would give me the definition. It was the story that I had to have first. I had to make psychology a story, a story of the making of concepts. In a sense I had to understand the concepts better then others in order to remember the details, or to recognize the details. My masters degree had made me take all the different theories of counseling and melt out the universal core theory, what they all had in common. That way I could remember the individual theories not by all the details and different terms they used but by how their concepts differed from the universal core. I now had to do this for all the theories in psychology. Every thing had to fit together in a progressive story of concepts.
This was not an easy task. I set about it for weeks, diagrams of how concepts fit together into one story. The diagrams I made in high school to remember lectures had prepared me. Even all the verbal stories my grandmother had told me now helped. All my unsung hero's lessons and love had prepared me to do a task I was really unable to do without their past help. They had given me the courage to try.
Finally the list was complete, the list of words were the mountain top peaks in a journey from the rudimentary concepts of psychology to different valleys of different throes but all one landscape, diagrams of details glued together by common concepts, like streams going into bigger and bigger rivers but all in the same system. I took my list to the director. He glanced at it and he approved it. I was scheduled to take the exams again. I was on top of the world again. Life is ups and downs. The tragedy to follow I did not foresee.
A Blessing In Disguise
|Posted on December 4, 2012 at 7:15 AM||comments ()|
I did not feel good about my prelims. I waited for the mail, the uneventful moment of opening the envelope and reading that I had failed. Sure enough it came, and yes I had failed. That would not stop me, not now, not after all I had gone through to stay in the program. I knew I had to have more memory aids to pass. I had gone through all the testing and established my disabilities. What had seemed like a tragedy and waste of time (the student lying about me, going for testing, and finding out what had happened) was to turn out to be a blessing. I went to the adjunct, the lawyer for student rights, and told him I needed more memory aids to pass my prelims. He was an unsung hero. He took me to the director of my department and stated I had legal rights to help me with my disabilities. The director asked me what I needed and I said a list of names and words, without definitions, to jog my memory. He said to make up the list and show him for approval.
I was back in the game. But it would not be an easy task to make up a list that was fair to me and to the integrity of the testing rules. I would have to think through this one. I wondered if it would be a blessing or a curse. Only time would tell. It was my next task.
Finally, the Truth Comes Forward, Answers
|Posted on November 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM||comments ()|
Then the answers began to come. The math teacher said she thought I was unsociable because I did not go to the Tavern with the others. From there she had assumed I did not go because I was unsociable. That is where the other student, that lied about me, had found a weak spot in the teacher's thinking to plant the lie that I had tormented the YWCA student for the fun of it. There was no way I could of seen it coming or avoided it.
The math teacher thanked me for being a student and apologized for her misperceptions, she said she had been detriment to my success and had only hurt me. So she removed herself from my committee. It was a relief. She was a perfectionist and outside of math I could not meet her expectations. You could say we were incompatible because of my disabilities and her need for correctness as all times. It was a paradox that my life was actually in better shape then hers, as I found out later. She did not realize that a student who was a mother of three little boys did not even have time to go to taverns. Now she also realized that I could not hear in a Tavern as it was too noisy. I respected her for removing herself from my committee. All was well that ended well.
All went well, that is until the final exams of the whole program, the prelims, the four days of testing everything you had learned. I went into a blank room with a page of questions to answer in a four hour period for four straight days. My recall memory was minimal and there was nothing to jog my recognition memory. I knew the concepts and could talk about them, but the questions demanded details. In real life there are many reference books, situations, and conversations that jog our memory. In a blank silent room there is nothing. I did my best and waited for the results.
The Suspect Does Not Know When To Stop
|Posted on November 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM||comments ()|
An overly ambitious person will eventually hang themselves. The one I suspected of setting me up to get my teaching job could not settle for only that. Some where their was a rumor that she was not loving and was too selfish and she had flirted with the wrong person. She soon announced that she was getting married. So sudden and unknown to anyone. She would drive through town with her new husband to show others she was a family person.
She then decided to get rid of one of the untenured professors, accusing him of something unknown to me. That was a grave mistake. He had more power then she realized. Her character now was in question. Add to that my letter from the counseling and speech department that I was quite normal. Her advisor no longer protected her. In graduate school your advisor is your protectorate and mentor. When he or she withdraws you are vulnerable. My advisor had not done much for me but had not turned on me. I was told earlier to leave but not forced to leave. She was terminated.
What made it worse was she left town without telling her alleged husband. He may not of even known that they were suppose to have been married. With her gone what followed was a surprise to me.
Finally a Crack in the Cold Silence
|Posted on November 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM||comments ()|
The Counseling and Speech department sent a letter to my department with the testing results. I wondered what effect it would have. They now knew I was in many ways blind and in ways deaf. If my behavior seemed odd to them they now knew I was mentally normal and intelligent but handicapped. The rumor that I was the instigator of the incident that had occurred with the YWCA women was in question, they had no evidence that I had a personality disorder that would drive me to such a thing.
Things would change, nothing evident or obvious to the eye. The first sign was the statistic teacher came to me and apologized for her misconceptions in class with lessons and asking questions. She thanked me for being a student there. That was the first crack in the silence and cold shoulders. What would transpire from here was a total surprise to me.
I Was Normal and Intelligent and Handicapped, What Next
|Posted on October 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM||comments ()|
Well, I took the Personality test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the best psychological test ever designed. My results were so normal the tester said I was boring. So my Mental Health was ok. I told the tester that I had struggled all my life, that I was challenged to keep up with others. Something had to be wrong. I could not have had so many problems to be ok.
So he decided to test me further. He gave me an IQ test, the best there is. I came out in the upper 90 percent plus in the nation. But there were discrepancies, my verbal was one standard deviation lower then my performance and that made me legally disabled, but how? I asked about the memory and he said I did better on the memory part then anyone who had taken the test for him. I insisted he test me further. He must have done thousands of dollars of testing. Then one test I failed miserably. He had read me a short story and I was to recall the details. I couldn't.
He sent me to the speech department. They tested my hearing, it was fantastic as usual, except if there was any noise in the room, then it was only half as good. But that was not good enough to explain my dilemma. Then one day they gave me a new test and I failed miserably. They were amazed and asked again if I was indeed a graduate student. I said yes. They brought in various students and others who were behind a window to observe as they gave me the test again and yet again. Was I to be assured or scared? Was I a circus clown or a marvel? But they had found the dastardly little glitch that had put me into tails spins, that would continually put me in tail spins, that there was no cure for to this day but perhaps in the future. The fevers had burned out my recall memory, I had absolutely no short term memory. That made me not only half deaf, half blind, but an amnesic patient. They marveled that I had made it this far.
I asked how I had done so well on the IQ memory test. They said I had developed methods to compensate on that type of test. The test had assigned numbers to letters and I had to translate letters back to numbers. I had seen each letter as a disfigured number it was, something people do not always do. A simple trick I had developed out of necessity, I had often drawn ideas in class into pictures as a youngster. But what about all the things I had failed at and continued to fail at. They said they would work with me to try and overcome some of them. There were tricks of the trade and they would be helpful, but only bandaids. I could pass tests as the department used multiply choice questions, they are the most reliable and valid. I could recognize the answer, or if math work it out, but if I was given a question to answer with no cues to recognize, I was totally in the dark. I had done so poorly in public school because of the way they tested. I could not read then because I went to slow and would forget the word or sentence before it had meaning to remember at a higher level. I would forget speech if I could not take notes to keep reminding myself what they were talking about, and that made me half deaf, or more. Sometime listening to someone talk sounded like a foreign language, especially on the radio where there were not enough visual cues to follow. Cut your sight and hearing in half or more and the world is a different place, keep cutting it until one lives in the world of Hellen Keller. At times I did. My mistakes, such as forgetting what the statistic teacher said about turning in homework, were not from a bad attitude but a result of a handicap.
But all is fine in a world held together with meaning and familiarity. It is true with all of us. Drop us in the dark in a foreign country without resources or a map and it gets harder. I had to go back to my department, it was like a foreign country that had played a trick on me and I had to learn the language and investigate. At least now I had testing behind me to show I was a normal person with intelligence, I only had a handicap. And they legally were not allowed to discriminate. I wondered what the testing results would do to loosen up the investigation and allow more answers to my questions. What would give?
My Sign Was I Was In A Corner
|Posted on October 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM||comments ()|
The sign was unusual, I had to take a test, in Statistics. My teacher, one of the players, taught a series of lessons, I was not following her. She knew I was her best student, but instead of taking note that if I did not understand her the others may not either, she sent me to the back of the room after so many questions and I was not to speak. The days went by and then the test. Of course I flunked it. But so did everyone else, then she realized that her teaching material was beyond us. She decided the text book was not explaining enough. She had to back up.
When the grades came she had given me a B when I had all A's except the test that had to be thrown out. I asked her why and she said I had not done the homework. I opened my book and showed her I had done every problem in the book. She said I had not shown how I came up with the answers. I replied I had done them in my head. She said she had told us specifically to hand them in and to show how we came to the answers. I knew she was right, that I had forgotten that she had said that. I knew I had problems with that. I was so down hardened because I took pride in being her best student, math was my best strength.
I was in a corner. Someone had lied about me. The person I suspected had the most powerful teacher on her committee. My advisor was now doubtful about me, the ethnographer was silent, and the Math teacher was suspicious of me, that perhaps I had been cheating or something. How was I to prove myself? This was my sign, my sign that I had to do more. I had to prove myself a worthy person. I decided to go get tested. It is free on a large university, I would go to a counselor on campus and ask for the works, what was wrong, and what was right, an intelligence test and a personality test. I had no idea where it would lead. But that would be my first move, and was I amazed what they found.
|Posted on October 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM||comments ()|
I had learned early in life that to ask questions can turn against you unless you ask in all humility and are sensitive to the other persons feeling, and to give them plenty of time to answer. Otherwise people will get defensive and they are much more likely to lie to you or do more harm then good.
So I looked at all the players in the game of keeping the secret as to what had happened that I was blamed and chastised for something I knew nothing about and was not being listened to when I told them I was not involved. There was the ethnographer, the teacher that taught how to go about mapping out situations to better define them and see the patterns. He was an unsung Hero. Yet he was advising me to let it go and not ask questions. I found that counter to his teachings and make up. He was a very honest and fair man. What could intimidate him? Someone with more power. That would be the oldest member of the department and the advisor of the student I suspected. I now suspected her more. But what could she have on me to warrant using her advisor's power to silence me? Lies of course, but what would make her credible?
The other two players, that is who had any say over me, who were on my committee, were my advisor and a math teacher who was always nice to me. I did not really have to worry about others, only their influence on these players and not their direct actions. I knew I had to be very nice and polite to those on my committee. I asked questions but did not push anything. Something had to give, a sign, what could it be. I talked frequently to the ethnographer as I knew he was the one to understand the most. I had to have him on my side. I had learned from the military to find the person who had power but who was sympathetic, objective, and out of the politics of hurting.
I had to wait, wait for a sign.
Ask Questions, Too Many, and Ask Some More
|Posted on October 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM||comments ()|
I never did go to the YWCA where the women had originated. They came to my study class and I asked them what they knew. They had been given and published the wrong date. Their little gathering had happened spontaneously. So I reasoned that the event had not been planned, someone just took advantage of the situation and blamed me. The result of blaming me lost my the teaching job I enjoyed the most, it was a prestigious job. It was given to a fellow student who had been wanting it. My first suspicion was that student. But I had no evidence, only a motive.
Like any mystery I had to hunt down motives of the players and unravel the mechanism and the events that allowed this to happen. I was innocent and determined not to take the fall for someone else. I began to ask questions of the students and staff. The students did not seem to know anything and the staff were mum. Several staff members advised me not to ask questions, to let it go. So I suspicioned they were involved somehow.
To not ask questions was to me like living in the dark. I had done enough of that. I had to find out why, I knew I would never be granted a Ph.D with such a blemish on my record. They were not kicking me out yet so I continued on my quest as I took classes and asked questions. It is amazing what one can learn about people by asking questions. You can not take their answers as the gospel truth, but everything they say tells you something about them, reveals how they perceive the world, feel about it, think about it, and react. Most of what I learned did not help me with my quest of who set me up but I learned tons of other things. I was seeing the people around me at a deeper level, it was like a soap opera, reality show, or a sitcom. Secrecy was the word and cover up. I should tell you about the key players. Really, there was just a handful.
I Was Given a Teaching Job, Unbelivable.
|Posted on October 11, 2012 at 6:45 PM||comments ()|
I always wondered why some people get all the good luck and others none. Well, I was given the good luck of a part time teaching assistant for the Counseling Psychology program. They were impressed with my research. And it went really really well. I enjoyed teaching the class. All my counseling classes were easy as I had had a very good masters program, better then their Ph.D program. So I took additional classes in developing psychological tests and in ethnography. I was in seventh heaven. I was even asked to teach an additional class in how to study. Me? I had taken the class in the BA program, and now I was going to teach it.
This is when the politics began. That was a trip. I was scheduled to teach the study class to women from the YWCA. It was to start the next day. I heard yelling down the hall, had no idea what it was. So I did not respond as an official was taking care of a group of angry women. The next day there was a grievance against me and I lost the position to teach psychology. I asked what the grievance was and they told me that the YWCA had the wrong date for the class and a group of women had came to find the class was not until the next day. They had accused the department of harassment and false information as an act of discrimination against women. I had been accused by someone for inciting and setting up the chaos.
That was a shock to me. I had never been to the YWCA, I did not even know who these women were. Yet someone said I planned the whole thing for some unknown motive. I was no longer trusted in the department and they suggested I leave the program. This was unbelievable. I asked where the rumor of my guilt had came from. I was told by a particular teacher that I should not even try to find out who or why. That it was just better if I left the program.
No way, no way was I going to give up and leave. It had taken so much for me to get there, I was not going to just walk away. I had to figure out how to find out what happened and what to do next. It was a familiar feeling of helplessness, of incomprehensible events. Nothing new for me. I had to do something, I just did not know what. but I would start. Politics, I had to untangle politics.
I Was Accepted in the Ph.D Program, Now What?
|Posted on October 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM||comments ()|
The letter came from the other University. I half heartedly opened it. Not in a million years would I be accepted. Not I, not I who could not read until college, not I who still could not spell, who had such a slow start, who never succeeds at much at all, who seems to always be a day late, dollar short, and behind everyone in what needs to be remembered.
I had joined the Army Reserves in 1974 and could not seem to get beyond E5. Because of all the memory work I was always at the bottom of the pile. I was in a Hospital Unit as a Social Worker and I seemed to fail or barely make it on most common military tasks such as uniforms and shinny boots and shortcut vocabulary. I couldn't even march correctly. In the current unit someone had put me in a permanent KP position because I had complained that a medic in the local hospital had left a needle in the pillow of a semi-comatose elderly man weighing almost 200 lbs. Why I alone was given total care of him, when I weighed only 128 and others had partners to care for much less heavy patients, should of been my first cue that someone was sabotaging me. It took me finding the right senior sergeant to stop the prank.
So, if I was that bad at politics, how was I going to go to a Ph.D program. I opened the letter reluctantly. I was floored, I was accepted. Little did I know that a Ph.D program has tons and tons of politics. What I had experienced in the Military was child's play. But unknowingly I decided to go for my Ph.D.
As We Move Up More Others Take Notice of Our Talents
|Posted on September 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM||comments ()|
If I had stayed at home no one would of ever noticed my unique talents, just my failures. People often judge us by our failure rather then our successes. Failures are more noticeable and can stick out like a sore thumb if it interferes with others lives. But our talents are often not seen because there is no situations to bring them out, or no one around us who is in-tune with or looking for those talents. If we are digging ditches there is little opportunity to display our art talents, but if we are artists we may not show our talents and strength at digging ditches. At college in the department you want to excel in there are always people looking for your talents in that subject and ignoring other failures and talents. Going to college is like asking others to help you shape up your passions in the direction you want to go.
I could not believe my ears when on of my professors suggested I go on to get my Ph.D. Me? You got to be kidding. Surely that was beyond my reach. No, the prof had to be out of line. So I applied to prove to myself that I could not even be accepted much less go through with it.
Past Efforts Become Our Tools to Succeed
|Posted on September 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM||comments ()|
I never thought about my past efforts, which did not seem to lead to success, that they would lead to success in the future. But they do become our tools. When I had been sick for about six months and had read about one hundred books on one subject, I had not even imagined they would be the bases for my masters thesis and then from there to my Ph.D dissertation.
I had taken classes at one university after being sick and I had written A+ papers from the materials and new ideas I came up with. But even then I did not think it would be the bases for my masters thesis. But everything we do accumulates and can be used in the future. That is the key, to focus on themes of our passions and keep plugging in the direction we want to go. Like a snail, our efforts create the smooth path to move forward. Maybe a more pleasant image is ants building their castles of sticks. Or there is the old story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The Tortoise keeps moving ahead, even at a slow pace, while the Hare looses focus and wanders around loosing time and efforts.
I wanted to show with an experiment that my new ideas about how boys see the world differently from girls is a significant difference under competition but not without it. All the books I read seemed to point to this. The experiment went like clockwork. I used pictures they made to show the competition, light boards also to show the intensity of their responses. The more intense the more pegs they used. My ideas were beginning to prove to be of significance. Had i became my own Hero? or at least my own efforts? I was learning a lot but what would I do next. I had not even in my wildest dreams thought about going for a Ph.d. Me? You got to be kidding. Not me. Would I have another Hero?
Past Efforts Begin to Pay Off
|Posted on September 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments ()|
MY HANDICAP SAVES ME
Because of my handicap, to compete, I had to learn things better then most. It may take a bit longer, and I may have to understand a bit better, and I may have to learn a bit more but it pays off. I was required to take a class that most students failed. I read the book like most others but I had to think about it more, highlight the book more, take more notes in the class.
I was scared. This was a class to eliminate students. The day came for the test. I was slower as usual. Others were more confident then I. I was not sure what to expect.
The test results came out. Two of us passed, his favorite student the intern had the highest score, I had a few points less, the rest had flunked. I love to understand why and asked questions so I asked the others what had gone wrong for them. It seems what the teacher had done was take passages in the book for a, b, c, or d multiple choices, but he had rearranged the wording that changed the meaning. I had to study for meaning and not just use rote memory, which is not as easy and accurate as most think, so the mixing of words did not fool me.
After passing this class I did not have to repeat it so I was now ready for my research thesis. Past efforts would again pay off. If only I could make life this easy and rewarding all the time. Maybe we can?
Patience, Gentleness, Stop and Think
|Posted on August 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM||comments ()|
I was in the office of the counselor that was to help me set up my graduate classes. He had just told me all my arrangements with the fellowship was withdrawn and so my acceptance to the university was also withdrawn. I was stunned. I just sat there speechless. I had learned from undergraduate dealings with universities to be patient, there is a way, its is trying to find the path. I just stared at the man and gently said that I had just rented my house, had given up the job for the fellowship, and had packed up my kids and had no where to go but that I wanted to go to graduate school. I told him I had to find a way, I had traveled a long way and I was determined to find a way. I looked at him with the same look of ambition I had had at seventeen when the counselor realized I could not even read but wanted to go to college.
There was a long silence, it seemed an eternity. He had been looking at some papers, perhaps mine, and he set down his pencil and became my hero, tears were in my eyes, he simply said the words I had heard all my life, 'if you want to do it that bad you will succeed."
He set me up with family housing and grant money for tuition. He told me how to get a paying job. I applied and got the job. I would work on the midnight shift for the crises lines. It was my luck that I had already taken the training for it before I had came. The training had been free and I was always looking for ways to increase my skills. The lady in the apartment next to me would watch my children during the night in exchange for watching her child certain times in the day. A miracle had happened again. Never give up. It took me ten years to reach that goal but I had done it.
A Break, A Fluke, It Wouldn't Last But It Was Worth A Try
|Posted on August 8, 2012 at 11:55 AM||comments ()|
I couldn't believe it and perhaps shouldn't have. The department was offering a fellowship to go to graduate school. I immediately jumped on it. I applied to graduate school and for the fellowship. I could not believe it, I was accepted for both.
Months before this (both my Grandparents had passed years before). My paternal aunt offered me the opportunity to buy my paternal Grandmothers house. There was no way I could but my mother purchased it outright after the banks denied her a loan. What a relief to be in a real house. I had applied to be a police woman. I had passed all the tests and was ready to go to the academy when a relative hid my acceptance letter feeling it was in my best interest. I had applied to be bus driver and was waiting to come up on the list. But to go to graduate school took precedence over any other plans. I packed up my kids and away we went.
Little did I know the state department would withdraw on the fellowship at the very last moment. Me and my kids arrived at the University penniless and homeless with no doors open. I was told all had been withdrawn. What a last blow by the department. What was I now to do, my house was rented out and all had come to an end. 'Never give up,' went through my mind. What next.
It Forced Me On
|Posted on August 8, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments ()|
I had been living in a small three room shack with my three sons. There was only one bed room too small for three beds so I constructed overlapping beds for them from plywood. There was no shower or tub so I bought a large wash tub and would bath them in that after heating water for it. It was quite primitive for the times but much like life long ago.
I had taken two independent studies at the university created from what I had read and learned when I was so sick and had read 100 books or so. I had learned to write papers and so I had received an A in each discipline. I was ready for graduate school and looking for an in. That time was about to happen, but took some time.
I had applied to be a social worker, the person who helped people on welfare get their lives together. But they refused me three such jobs. I knew I was qualified and so I put in a grievance. That resulted in a trial within the system. Officials came to conduct the trial. They heard everything I had to say and seen all my credentials. At the break on of the judges came up to me and said I was very qualified but they would judge against me because of politics, once they had split the social worker into two positions, one being the financial worker, they made a policy that workers could not go from one to the other. It was a bureaucratic secret. He was a hero for being honest and helping me understand and look for another path.
I really appreciated his honesty. I knew I was facing a dead end after months and months of trying to advance. At the same time the policy for using the medical coupons changed. There was a deductible that went with them for the elderly, as it was a state medical and not federal. The deductible had been flexible and could be paid over time. That changed, now the coupons were no good until the deductible was paid. My heart sunk, it was a death sentence to many elderly as they would go hungry or go without medical. I was in a dead end. Now how was I to get out of it.
To Be A Hero Can Backfire
|Posted on August 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM||comments ()|
I watched people with pleasant personalities become cold hearted working with the system and not wanting to loose their jobs. I was put in that position. We are all handicapped in some way. And the system is not made for us, that is what makes us handicapped. In this case it was the elderly. Now I had a special spot in my heart for the elderly. My grandmother was my first and biggest hero.
I had moved on from being a receptionist to being a financial worker. I had learned that policy was not always made from the needs of the people on welfare but on the needs of running a system that was political. I would listen to desperate people who had not been able to feed or house their children being accepted on the system but they had to wait one to two weeks, sometimes more, for the check to arrive in the mail. Every time I asked the auditors to cut a check they refused without a blink of the eye. Then all three of them got jobs elsewhere or promoted elsewhere. We got three new auditors, and they were gentle and empathetic. I would get a very desperate client and they would cut a check. It was a dream come true overall. But I noticed they were getting more and more hardened until they just out right refused and were as cold as the last ones. I asked them why. They said because every time they cut a check the state officials would ream them a new one. It was not neat and clean book keeping. The job had changed their hearts.
But this was not the problem that got to me. I did not feel cornered, I would give out information on food banks and shelters and call it a day. What was irreconcilable was the medical program for the elderly. When I would set up food stamps for others I noticed that the elderly would go without medication to pay other bills. They did not want to fault on their bills. I would tell them about the medical programs and set them up so they would be healthier and live longer. It was a wonderful feeling to help these honest dedicated people.
But a book keeper in higher places came up with a new policy to save money and he could not see the consequences. And I could not reconcile with it. I knew they would go without medication and would get sick, weak, and some die. I did not have the heart, or lack of it, to live with watching the results.