Schooling Without End


I'm the ultimate slow-learner. The cost-effective thing is to go to school just long enough to acquire the knowledge and skills it takes to earn a living that affords the degree of affluence and lifestyle to which one aspires. Marty Rink and I matriculated to The University of Illinois in the fall of 1959. I spent almost all my professional life in college. Marty was responsible for my arrival and survival at the University of Illinois. We had been classmates since first grade.


Mother's Day
University of Illinois 1960

Our Father's farms touched at one corner. Marty seemed so sophisticated but I doubt he was since he was right off the farm like me. Marty was focused and for some reason knew what to do. He graduated from The University of Illinois in 1963.

Marty obtained a university application for himself and an extra for me: We rode to Urbana together to take the entrance examination. He encouraged me to apply for the Kankakee County Vocational Agriculture scholarship which I won. I majored in Agriculture because I had that scholarship. Marty and I were roommates for two years.

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.



Ignoring me he asked "Are you
going to marry this man whether
I approve or not"
to which she
replied "Probably" to which he
replied "Then I give you my
blessing."

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.

It's all Dessie's fault.

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.

First I became a "Straight A" student for the first time in my life.

Doing twice the work had the exact result I would expect now that I know people remember 90% of what they teach someone else.

Second my professors decided I was a "Good Guy." When a well-paid teaching job became available they gave it to me. After graduation they touted me for a prestigious position at the Illinois Department of Education and it became mine as well. Dessie was very good to me.

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; Registered Dietitian).