Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September Hankerings

"Con darling--All your football games!
I got a whiff of the excitement in town the other day--
a bright, cold day and the yellow leaves blowing...
men with red feathers in their derbies
hurrying girls across the street,
and a band in the distance." 

This was Anne Morrow Lindbergh writing to her sister Constance. I can't remember which diary this was from but it has always expressed the way I still think of September--football games beginning again! 

I'm not a big fan of pro football games, although I love seeing R.H.'s excitement for them. College games are more exciting to me, and I always, always remember the first September Friday nights of my high school football games. The excitement of sitting in the bleachers and watching our team in their orange and white uniforms, and envying the cheerleaders and majorettes with their tan legs. 

That picture above, of the cheerleaders in their long skirts? That could be a replica of my high school cheerleaders, their legs showing only from the calf down in their gored skirts unless they twirled or jumped. That's the way girls' skirts were when I was in high school.

Those girls of us sitting in the bleachers wore straight wool skirts to the game, and even with a "kick pleat" in them, we still had to pull up our skirts to climb the bleachers. We were greeted with wolf-whistles from the top row where the hoods sat.

R.H. would pick me up in his '47 Chevy Coupe and take me to the game. My father would be at the game too but we would never have dreamed of letting him ride with us. After the game was over we and some friends would go back to the house where Mama had her wonderful chili waiting for us, or else we'd drive to Shoney's and circle several times around the canopy where you parked to order food just to be sure we were seen. That was cool to do. We almost always ordered fries and hot fudge cake.

Life was good. 

 I hanker for those days every September, but I also hanker for the college days that I never had.

[McCall's September 1937]

I see a picture like this one above and it makes me long for the days when young women went to college dressed like ladies. [And for your information, 1937 was a little bit before even my mother's time!]

I didn't go to college after high school but went to work as a receptionist and instead got married. Y'all know the story by now, after six years we had our first child. Later, when the first two kids were in elementary school, I went to a community college, taking all the fun courses--literature, creative writing, histories, social studies, and one quarter of psych--no science or math. And no degree, a big regret of mine.

And when I see clothes like this in September issues of my vintage magazines, I hanker for a campus of ivy covered Collegiate Gothic buildings and a Liberal Arts degree.

[Woman's Home Companion September 1941]

I know, today a Liberal Arts degree and $4 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and you might even end up making the coffee.

Still, I hanker after it every September, and for college football games, and most especially for college dances.

This would have been my choice of a dance frock if I'd been a sweet young college freshman in 1927. In 1961, when I would have been a freshman it would probably have been almost as demure since I had been bound for Union University before I refused to go, and they had a strict dress code then. But you know what? It wouldn't have killed me, and I still like demure frocks on young women.

 [Woman's Home Companion September 1927]

If you, dear reader, were smart enough and fortunate enough to get that Liberal Arts degree or Engineering degree (like Tara!), or that PhD (like Sheri's daughter!), a round of applause from me! And all of us can do everything we can to encourage our daughters or granddaughters to continue their education. Bribe them if we have to.

My daughter went back when her kids were in school and got her degree and it has opened up career choices that she never would have had without it. 

And if you got the degree and turned down the career to instead put a Mrs. in front of your name, the way that many from my generation did, that education is still a "jewel in the pocket" as poet Phyllis McGinley wrote about. You know it's there and it glows just as brightly while you raise children as if you were the CEO of a big corp.

I didn't get my degree and neither did my mother, but we did do a pretty good job of educating ourselves. How? You know the answer to that question....books, books, books, and a lot of curiosity.

What say you, dear readers? How do you feel about what I've written. There's no wrong answer. We're all women friends pulling for each other here at the Window. Here's where we celebrate each other's good fortune and send out love and kindness when one of us is down or on a blogging break due to pneumonia like my friend Tammy.

We won't look at it as one-upsmanship if you tell us you have 3 degrees, we'll pat you on the back and say "well done!" And if like me, you never got that degree and want to tell us how you feel about it, we'll nod our heads and say "I understand, and I'm glad you told us."

Could we possibly do any better than emulate Mr. Fred Rogers and say "I like you just the way you are?"

That's another hankering of mine.


  1. No degree for me. I got married at nineteen and stayed home to raise my son and daughter. Like you I am self educated through reading many, many books. I was also exposed to European culture, history and arts as a child and teenager living in France and Germany where my Air Force father was stationed. I do regret not going to college and getting a degree but I wouldn't change the life I've had for anything!

  2. No degree for me. I got married at nineteen and stayed home to raise my son and daughter. Like you I am self educated through reading many, many books. I was also exposed to European culture, history and arts as a child and teenager living in France and Germany where my Air Force father was stationed. I do regret not going to college and getting a degree but I wouldn't change the life I've had for anything!

  3. Dear Dewena, I don't really care much for titles, way too much emphasis on those nowadays I believe success is doing what we love, more than anything having PEACE in our hearts because we're following our Father's perfect will for us, and that may not always involve a degree. That said, I have an AA which I intended to extend toward a BA in elementary education, but instead, I was led home to be a full-time maker of a home. I gladly took my position in the beautiful tapestry of life, perfectly woven by the Artist of artists.
    I have no regrets, don't believe in them. Every single experience is a lesson learned, gain in our Father's hands.
    PS I prefer college football, GO CANES, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of my favorite writers.

  4. I got married right out of high school and didn't take any college classes until our kids were in elementary school. I changed my major several times and then ended up getting a professional certification instead of a degree. (All the same classes without the English, etc.) Still got me a good job that helped put our kids through college!

  5. I got a college degree and never used it. Got married... And the degree isn't worth 2 cents today, since my field has changed so. Today Business Education, it is 'light years away', from when I graduated in 1958.

    Thankfully, I never needed to use it. It was not anything I was passionate about anyway. Just what was 'left over' when I had no interest in the couple of other things, I could have taken. Remember! Entering college in 1954, was back in the middle ages! So very few choices were offered.


  6. Special hugs for you Dewena... I too used to dream of college. I was married at 16 and a mom before the year was out...did not even finish high school....but years later got my GED and 4 years of college. During the years of raising my daughters, I would dream I was in college and wearing wonderful clothes and going to all the games. Fantasy keep from going crazy at times. LOL. But during those times, I had my attainable dreams also. I do like college ball better than pro. I have only seen one college game and one pro..LOL. Blessings to you, xoxo,Susie

  7. I love this post! So many great memories, plus a lot of thought and wisdom for good discussion. I graduated high school in 1980. I knew I wanted to go to college - but didn't want to leave home, nor did I have any idea what I wanted to major in. So, community/jr college ended up being my choice. My mom urged me to take business and secretarial courses because "it's always something you can fall back on." I never really liked any of it - it definitely wasn't my passion. Writing and interior design were. At one point, I even got a catalog from a well-known college in downtown Chicago to check out their interior design program. I remember seeing the cost of the tuition and almost had a heart attack. I knew I couldn't afford it and in those days, I knew nothing about the possibilities of scholarships or loans. In the meantime, I met my (would be) husband and we started dating. I also got a FT job. I was taking a couple of the college courses at night, figuring that's how I'd end up getting my degree. Well, I saved my two worst courses for last - science and math. I got married in 1984 and then I was thinking, "I'll finish those two courses when our wedding is over and we're settled into our new place." Ha! That never happened either. I was too busy working and settling in and having fun with my new husband and our new place. And then the kids came along, and the rest is history. I never finished my degree either. I don't have any regrets about it though, as I never did have any desire to be in the corporate business world. To this day, I still love writing and design. :-)

  8. Really enjoyed your post. I didn't get that degree - I took a semester in junior college and turned it into majoring in beach - used the money my parents gave me for gas and headed for the coast. (dumb me)...but anyway, got married at 21 and had my first of four boys at 25. Trained myself in medical transcriptionist - way before the days u had to have a degree of some sort - and worked at home doing medical transcripts all the while my kids were growing up. Served me well and then I retired from it in 2006 and glad I did - it was so boring but I appreciate what it gave me - freedom to be home. Now all I want to do is play, lol.

  9. Hello Dewena!
    I married my high school sweetheart and starting having children right away. Four of them, in fact. But when my last started school I went back to college and even made the Dean's list. A year later my husband and I bought a business and that was the end of my education-I was needed at the store. I can't say I regret it. It might have made life simpler at times, but I try never to look back at what might have been. It keeps me happier in the present! I do think today in most cases it's a necessity for young women to work, and they will find it a lot easier if they have an education that will (hopefully) provide them will a better job opportunity.
    I did love the trip down memory lane, back in the day when ladies dressed like ladies (something I'm very guilty of not doing).

  10. Life in recent years has changed ... some would argue for the better - others may not agree.
    One thing I think may have a lot to do with it, and that is working hard,taking the opportunity, having ambition and doing our best to stick to our values. Values which I think in today's modern age could do with looking at ?

    Interesting post, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  11. Such sweet memories Dewena! I too am a huge college football fan and care nothing for the pro games. The photos of our cheerleaders in their uniforms would be much different than the photo you shared above. Everything above the knee showed, even their belly was just the times. Now, so much more shows, if you can believe that! Much love to you my sweet friend!! Hugs!!

  12. I have a LOT to say about this subject Dewena, as my observations and my opinions, have changed throughout the years.

    I didn't take school too seriously. When it came time to apply to colleges, I let it be known (stupid me), that I wanted to go to school in California to 'party'. Well, that was the end of that. Instead, I went to secretarial school and worked as such until I was 23. I wasn't very good at it and didn't like it very much, but I learned a lot about the world of business.

    I started college at 23, aiming for a degree in psychology. Starting college at that age, there are pros and cons. You take it more seriously (I earned excellent grades for the most part), but you miss out on the experience of dorms (I rented a house), and having my parents pay for it was not an option any longer.

    I graduated at the age of 26, but not being willing to continue, the degree didn't do much for me job wise, but I'm glad I got it as it was the sole reason I got a job promotion to a position I loved as a trainer for a cosmetic company.

    When I had my daughter,there was never a question as to whether or not she would attend college. It was mandatory. She went to GW right after high school and earned a degree in international marketing and finance. During and immediately after college you know what she did? She was bartending, and loved it! She ended up meeting her future husband thru that, and the rest is history. They moved to Singapore where they now are partners in a corporation that starts and runs clubs and restaurants. The moral of the story is she learned more from her now husband about business than she ever did in college, and instead of costing $200,000, it was free. Her husband does not have a degree, but he is one of the most sought after in the world (not an exaggeration) in his field, and because of what she's learned from him, she is as well.

    I've always felt, and probably always will feel, than an education is important. What I've changed my mind about is the KIND of education that is important. I know people that have a degree, perhaps even a doctorate, but they're not very street smart and have no common sense. And some of the smartest people I know, don't have a degree, and yes, you are one of them.

    To me, a degree is just a piece of paper. One can go through college, literally paying others to take your tests for you sometimes, and graduate and know next to nothing. I have far more respect and admiration for someone who is self taught, self motivated and self sufficient. Someone who took the time to read and like you said, has an innate curiosity about the world around them.

    I've also seen, over the last decade, entrepreneurship gaining in popularity and seems to be the wave of the future. Having a degree, particularly one that isn't specialized, doesn't do much these days in the real world.

    Your post is very thought provoking Dewena, and it also brought back some memories, as I'm sure it did for most.


  13. Loved this post! I didn't go to college either. But to a college affiliated Radiologic Technology 2 year program. I became board certified and got married right after that. I worked the entire time our child was growing up. Was told in 1993, that I did not have the proper education to do that job any longer. We bought a business and have evolved it into different things over the past 22 years. Retirement is now 15 months away. I would loved to have gone to college and become a teacher. Had started that when I first got pregnant. Never went back. But our son has a degree in psychology from an Ivy league school and is having a hard time in that field. He has half finished a masters. But last year took courses in welding. He said he needs something to supplement that expensive diploma! So we now question whether the degree was worth the expense. I do know he enjoyed the games, parties, social life and girls~! I think if you have had a happy and successful life, then a degree is probably not necessary.

  14. So much to ponder, Dewena, in this most thought provoking post of yours today that, in itself, reads like a thesis on the question of 'Degree, or Not Degree?'.

    Firstly, those campus woolens, (and especially the one on the left), would have been enough of an incentive to get me to college (or university, in my case) - how stylish these students were!

    I began my post secondary career studying drama/performance, and after one year, switched my major to English Literature, with a minor in Psychology. As a graduation gift, my father sent me to Greece for the summer, to learn about my roots. It was on a trip to Crete, to meet up with a friend from university, that I met my husband. Within a year I was married, and a year and a half after that, we were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Liberty.

    My B.A. in English has been very useful in teaching ESL and drama, but what I treasure and miss most about my university experience was the academic allure of a dynamic duo called Theory and Practice. One minute I'd find myself in a fiery Socratic exchange in Philosophy, and the next I'd be lost for words improvising pantomime in Drama!

    The process, the plot, the work, are what that piece of paper is all about!

    Happy Thursday, my friend!


  15. I have a college degree, but I have to tell you, Dewena, I've learned more on my own, like you have, through reading and studying and researching. Homeschooling my children also taught me more than my degree!
    My grandmother always felt "dumb" as she said b/c she didn't go to college, but she was a talented and creative woman, whom I loved dearly.
    That said, a college degree, or advanced degrees, certainly does open doors.
    On a side note, almost everyone on both sides of the family have masters or Ph.D.'s -- I'm one of the few with "only" a B.A.!
    Oh, and I love those vintage college clothes. Why have we gone so casual/ugly?!

  16. Wonderful topic! As a teacher, most people would expect me to say that a person needs to have a college degree. I don't, however, think that is true. I don't think that college prepared me for teaching--or any other job for that matter. I felt like I jumped through the required hoops to get the needed piece of paper so I could get my desired job. I didn't truly learn how to teach until I got my first job and THEN I got the education. :-)

    Some of the brightest, most interesting people I know don't have degrees. Instead, they have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a strong work ethic. In my books, they are the truly successful ones.

  17. This post had me thinking about football....I don't follow the pro games very much unless towards the end the Steelers are doing well and might get into the super bowl.
    But my boys were in football growing up and those games were always so exciting ! :) Now one of the grands is starting....and here we go again! :)

    As always you have such an interesting post here and I love the vintage pictures :)

  18. Oh look at the old fashioned cheerleaders and their fluffy pom!! I love the old fashioned clothes pictures...sure ladies still did dress that way. I love 1940s and 1950s clothing. Some 1960s.

  19. You had me at Anne Lindbergh! I love this post! I went to college right out of high school and loved every minute of it. I changed my major so many times, both because I was indecisive and because I wanted to explore as many different classes as I could. I ended up with a liberal arts degree, history/English, and it set me up for a job in the corporate world (today, it would require a more specialized degree) that allowed me to write, and there I met my husband. For me, the value of college was in learning how to think and study, and it taught me independence that I never had before. I was such a homebody all through high school. To this day, I love taking classes. I take online courses, offered free through our library. I love to read and write. I feel privileged to have gone to college (though I worked my way through, it was an expectation my parents had for us), I have met more people without degrees who could run circles around me for all the knowledge they have. I should add, that after meeting my husband and getting married, five years later we had kids and I stayed home, which was my desire all along! Loved being a homemaker.

  20. I enjoyed your football memories. :-)

    I have an Associates Degree in Accounting. I worked in Accounts Payable for 6 years. I got married and once we were blessed with our first son, I became a stay at home mom. xx oo
    I would like to earn the Master Gardner title or badge they have in our local community. I plan to take the course someday soon.

  21. I have my B.A. in British Literature but I would like to have a "do over." I didn't really know what I wanted then. I would still choose Brit Lit, but I would be a much more enthusiastic learner. I fell in love with history after my schooling was finished and lay part of the blame on my history teachers because they were boring. History isn't boring! While I do not feel that my degree is without value (in many ways it broadened my perspective) I feel that my post college education has been more valuable--reading books, visiting museums, traveling, meeting and hosting people of different cultures, and watching documentaries, educational programs and period pieces on television (yes, I said television).

    The best part of my early education was meeting Shakespeare and my husband.

  22. Thought provoking post, Dewena. Marcia and Doreen's comments mostly sum up my feelings on the subject of college. I don't have a degree and at 65 I'm perfectly fine with that. Always have been, actually. I was engaged my senior year of high school and got a secretarial job after graduating. A decade later I took evening business courses at a community college, paid for by my employer, to advance my career. I became an administrative services manager and made very good money. My late husband, although extremely bright and who made straight A's in school, had no desire to go to college. He worked with his hands and made a fine living doing what he loved. We had our son 8 years after marrying and I worked all through his growing up years. If I have any regrets, that's it. A career is nothing. Being a mother is everything. Those precious early childhood years of his are gone forever. I missed them all trying to get ahead. I wish I had settled for a simpler life and been a full-time mom. My daughter-in-law has done it right. She was a stay-at-home mom until the kids started school. Then she went to work as a teacher's aid and began online studies to get her teaching degree. I've been amazed at her fortitude. It's taken her 5 years but she's now student teaching this fall and will soon have her degree. But what's most amazing is what she has accomplished with her children. They are so smart and so well rounded. Responsible, polite, kind and industrious. They're both in advanced courses in their schools. My granddaughter plans to be a doctor, and I'm so proud of her. But if she decided not to go to school and to marry and stay home to raise her children, I'd be just as proud. Although I didn't have the full-time college experience, I'm happy with who I am and content with the life I've had. I've seen more and done far more than many of my high school friends who did get a degree. Now retired, I'm at home full-time. . .the place I love and have always loved the most. Hugs, Nancy

  23. You know it's a great post when you want to read all of the comments, too! I have a degree, and it served me well. That said, I don't think it is the only way to "learn" or to "succeed" (whatever that means). Yes, my degree opened doors to employment for me, but most of what I learned was not in a classroom. Anyone can have a fabulous education if they choose to learn from life. From friends, from books, from mentors, from nature, even from our kids. It's nice to be book-smart; it's important to be street-smart. Now, my son is about to embark upon the college application process. It infuriates me about what a game it is to even apply to college. And the irony is, that once these kids get out of school, most of them loaded with debt, many can't even find a job. It makes you wonder about the value of a degree. There are people I know who have big degrees from fancy schools and they are total jerks. There are people I know who have no degrees who are the smartest and most worldly people I know. As I tell my son, I'd rather he be a good person than a perfect student. In the end, that's the most important lesson I want him to learn.

  24. Dewena, it must be the season...tomorrow's post is a lot about AMLindburgh...and Gift From The Sea. It's almost autumn, counting the hours.
    I have 2 degrees...a B. S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism from a department that no longer exists at VCU and...the most important...a degree from the School of Hard Knocks which has served me better throughout life.
    I didn't get the B.S. degree because I went to University out of high school. I got it because I went to work right out of high school and, after ten years, needed a Break from the working world. I marched myself into the counselor's office and asked, "What's the easiest degree you've got?" He blinked, blinded again and gulped then said, "Recreation, Parks and Tourism". We never knew just how well suited I was for that particular field; have since taught in Russia, eastern Europe and all over the eastern USA.
    God has a plan!