Some photos can be so deceiving and can even change your memory of any given day. This photo of me and my dad was taken on graduation day in 1971 in front of CCM (County College of Morris), where I earned an Associates Degree. We look very close and happy to be together to celebrate this momentous occasion, don’t we? In reality, my dad and I were in conflict about so many things on that day, including my continuing education plans.
I wanted to continue college in Boston, as my brother had before me. Armed with my acceptance to Boston University, I broke the news to dad and he was not supportive, emotionally or financially. Dad said so matter-of-factly that a degree was not important for “girls.” I was also about to make the biggest mistake of my life by marrying someone who was very wrong for me, and frankly, my dad tried to talk some sense into me about that, but I was too rebellious, too stubborn, too alienated to listen. But most of all, I was determined to prove him wrong about what a “girl” could accomplish in this world.
Because I loved my parents so much, I made a very bad decision that year so that they wouldn’t disown me. I wish I could get a “do-over” on that. But I will never regret the decision to attend Boston U to earn my Bachelor’s Degree. I paid for my BU education with scholarship funds, loans and by working a part-time job every day after classes, and I managed to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Science, magna cum laude. I lived off-campus in the Back Bay, and I supported myself best I could. On weekends, I drove to New Jersey to visit mom and dad because mom always made sure I had enough to eat. She surreptitiously packed the trunk of my car with steaks and chicken and sundries, just so I wouldn’t starve.
I love this picture and I love my dad, but seriously, on that day, while we posed for that photo, I could have flipped him the bird for minimizing the importance of my education!