Girls and drinking were my big fall 61 discoveries. The combination led to academic probation: I was invited to drop out. Friends predicted I'd never return: Dad cried. Dad's tears had a lot to do with my returning five years later to complete a baccalaureate degree.
The most significant acquisition of my return to The University of Illinois was Marylyn Patton. She made me drive 300 miles to propose to her father.
July 20th Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon as I passed Chatsworth, Illinois on U.S. 24 on the way home to Peru, Indiana. While everyone else was gazing in awe at the moon I was immersed in thoughts of heaven. Marylyn became Marylyn Patton Bradley on December 27, 1969.
On the road by 4:30 A.M. Monday morning: Return about 6:30 P.M. Friday evening. That was my schedule the first few months of marriage. I was working for International Harvester: They made very expensive and very troubled combine-harvesters. It was my job to teach mechanics how to fix them. While I liked teaching mechanics how to mechanic I hated life on-the-road.
Being married to Marylyn gave me the courage to change careers. Otherwise I would have continued to work for International Harvester until it went bankrupt. We withdrew our $500 in savings and drove to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Everything we owned fit into the back of Dad's pickup truck.
I still had two years of GI Bill. We got me registered for classes and an apartment rented on the day of our arrival. Next Monday I began classes, a week later I had a part-time job as a Research Assistant and a week after that Marylyn began working full-time in the Admissions Office. We were too naive to expect anything different.
Dessie Page was blind and needed someone to attend class with him, do his library research and write his papers. I volunteered then grew to hate the relationship. Dessie couldn't be abandoned because he depended on me. Doing Dessie's work first meant I had to do twice the work of anyone else. Two things happened.
Southern Illinois University was a refuge to which I could retreat, lick my wounds and sally forth rearmed to again do battle.
But all the opportunity in the world wouldn't have made a difference if it weren't for Marylyn Patton Bradley. Marylyn always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and was willing and able to do whatever it took to allow me to soar.
But nothing lasts forever. After a few years it became obvious the only people secure in the type job I really wanted had Ph.D. after their name. It was time to either join the union or decide some other career was an alright choice. Being married to Marylyn, and still having a few months of GI Bill left made it possible to enter the obligatory apprenticeship.
Ice inches thick glazed the road
and there were cars and trucks abandoned in ditches all
along Interstate 74 the day we moved our few earthly goods
and ourselves back to Carbondale two days after one of the
worst ice storms in recorded history. When we approached
Effingham, unofficial gateway to Southern Illinois, the ice
had melted enough for the road to be safe and we were home.
After two and one-half years I had my journeyman's Ph.D. and
Marylyn was an MSRD (Master's Degree in Nutrition;