After my boss and mentor Dr. Ann Whitten passed away in 2003, I got a call from her son Chip, urging me to go back to school. Not too much later I got a call from Dr. Bonnie Buntin, then Dean at The University of Mississippi-DeSoto Center telling me the same thing.
Somebody must be telling me something I should listen to. After getting permission from my administrators, I started back to school at age 48. Most of my work to that point was in Broadcasting, but it was not enough for a major. Driving back and forth to Oxford was not an option. So my advisers suggested Liberal Arts with emphases in English, history and sociology....right up my alley.
You know that scene in Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase gets locked in the attic and instead of panicking, he puts on an old hat, gloves and a fur coat and remembers his Christmas pasts and happy moments from his children? Well, it was that kind of moment.
I remember telling my sociology instructor that I had once ridden horses, but that chapter was closed in my life. Term paper, Criminology—Corruption in the Equine Industry; Juvenile Delinquency—State 4-H programs help deter crime in first-time offenders; Cultural Anthropology— Paper on Subcultures, Cowboy Poetry Gathering Culture in Elko, Nevada. I even interviewed one of the Cowboy Poets and they are not much like the Mississippi cowboys, let me tell you.
So maybe horses are still in my blood.
I did an Anthropology of Blues Culture paper Sharde Thomas, who was about 13 at the time. Sharde lives not far from me, and is carrying on her grandfather Othar Turner's tradition of fife playing. Since that time she has gone on to play across the country and in Germany. Here she is with the Great Slow Hand himself, Eric Clapton. WOW!
I loved my lit classes, Film as Lit, Literary Criticism; and other Sociology classes and English classes.
I don't know how I worked all day, drove to DeSoto Center and sat from three to six hours, four nights a week, and intersessions, and summer school. But it paid off and I finished my career at Northwest right where I wanted to be until the heart said time to go.
So many to thank for that adventure. Dr. Buntin, Dr. Gary Lee Spears, our president who allowed me to do this; Mark Franks; sweet Jim Mercer for getting me through math, which is probably why I didn't finish in the first place; Kevin McCarthy, Liz Burns and so many more. Especially my team who cut me some slack.
Coming down from the attic now. I saved a few special papers.