My father grew up in Oklahoma during the early years of the Great Depression. He was the only living child of a hardworking farmer and a devoted mother. When Dad completed eighth grade, my grandfather believed his only son would work on the farm. My grandmother, however, understood the door that an education could open even in tough economic times. She persuaded Grandfather to permit Dad to finish high school.
Dad worked hard and completed high school at the age of 16. At last, Grandpa was to have his wish. Dad would work on the farm, easing the economic and physical burdens Grandpa carried.
But Grandmother intervened again. She begged Grandpa to permit my father to go to college.
After reflection, Grandpa made the most difficult decision of his lifetime. He walked to the chicken coop, where he did his banking. Taking a shovel in his work-worn hands, Grandpa dug up a mason jar that held all the family's savings. He offered the jar and its precious contents to Dad, saying, "Here boy, go make something of yourself."
Realizing that his family was sacrificing all their savings by investing in his education, Dad became a steward of those funds. He received his bachelor's degree and then went on to the University of Oklahoma, where he graduated second in his law school class in 1936. Dad flipped hamburgers to ensure that the family savings would suffice for him to obtain his education. Jobs were hard to come by when Dad graduated, so he opened his own practice and lived in a home with a dirt floor. He worked long hours, but I remember him sharing the great books he discovered in the course of his education with me.
Our family was changed by the long walk Grandpa took to the chicken coop. Education is more than an investment in our family. It is a treasure. I followed my father to college and law school, and all of my children have also sought higher education. We have been transformed by a sacrifice made two generations ago by a loving, if not fully convinced, grandfather and a persistent grandmother…and that has made all the difference.
Submitted by Anonymous
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