Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Summer Fishing

My Mama always aspired to live in Charleston. Thank God, she wasn't one of those women with airs who tried to claim roots from Charleston that did not exist. Now one would think being so southern she would claim Tara, but she didn't have to do that. She had been there and done that (in her mind). She grew up on a large tobacco farm in Marlboro County, SC (she pronounced it Mawlbōrō). And to hear her describe it,  one would have thought it was a plantation.  I think not. But, I digress.

When Mama and Daddy graduated from Wake Forest in the '50s Daddy was accepted into the pharmacy program the Medical College in Charleston to begin, what my Mama for most of her life would refer to as his career "in the medical profession". All I could figure is she wanted him to be a doctor and since a pharmacist was all he aspired to she would work the semantics to meet her needs. Daddy never had airs about him and if he had wanted to be a doctor he would have gone to medical school and been one.

So, they graduated on May 30th, got married on May 31st, and after a week long honeymoon moved to Charleston. Mama started work as a social worker at the Welfare Department (these days in political correctness called the department of Social Services). Daddy was going to find a summer job, since classes did not start until the fall. When he went to register he was told, for some reason, the Medical College would not accept one of his Biology class credits from Wake Forest. He was going to have to take that biology class again that summer before he could matriculate that fall.

Mama was a little peeved. What would their friends think? After all, only the slow students had to take summer school classes. He had come out of an excellent school with excellent grades, this was unacceptable to her. Dad was nonplussed about it. The course was a class and a lab so it took up a good portion of the day. Fortunately, Mama's salary was enough for them to live on, since he was going to be in school for several years any way. The next day she went to work and he reported to class.

So went their life for a week or so. One afternoon when Mama got home, she found Dad cleaning fish. She asked why he wasn't in class. "I'm going to fish this summer." Panicked, my mother said, "Bill, you can't do that. You know if you don't take that course you can't start school in the fall." And, without that her dreams of being married to someone "in the medical profession" would be down the drain. 

"But, that is my assignment." As it turned out, the professor learned that Daddy had already taken the course, made an "A", and had meticulous notes. Since he had never taught the class before, the professor offered my father an "A" and excused him from class for the rest of the summer in exchange for his notes. When Daddy joked and said, "I'm not sure what to tell my wife." The professor said, "Tell her I told you to go fishing."

Knowing her dream was still on track, she was living in Charleston, and her husband was on his way to a career "in the medical profession" Mama was happy. And, she knew how to spin a story.  If anyone inquired as to Daddy's summer occupation, she was quick to tell them that "Bill did so well, that the professor wanted his notes for the class." Daddy didn't care. He got to spend the summer fishing. 

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