Parlez-vous College?

Chloe came over for coffee yesterday wanting to know what the summers were like for the children in the neighborhood. They had not yet thought about joining the club and I knew Francis worked a great deal. I thought he might be trying to catch up with life after staying in the army so long after the war was over and most of the men had come home. Francis had stayed overseas and luckily stayed with Chloe until they could both move to the states. The girls had grown to really like each other, so I assured Chloe that Marie Claire was always welcome to join us on the days we went to swim. Chloe could have some alone time that way too. She thanked me and said that she would take me up on the offer.

Chloe still spoke occasionally in snippets of French, which always seemed so chic. None of us spoke anything but English, which made us seem a little less sophisticated. Chloe was concerned that Marie Claire was starting to lose her native language because they spoke mostly English at home now. Even in school, Marie Claire was using English all the time. There were a few weeks when she first went to school where she pretended not to understand the teachers until Chloe set the teacher straight at the first parent meeting. Most likely, Marie Claire just wanted some extra attention, so the teacher wisely let her teach the class some new French words each week. I thought it was a brilliant idea and the children started to have a secret language that the parents couldn’t understand.

I was still trying to decide what to do about school in the fall for myself. One class was manageable but a full class schedule would never work for me at this point. I was considering two classes, possibly meeting back to back, to best utilize my time. The classes would depend on what I wanted to major in and that was the bigger problem. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. There was never enough time before the war to think about it and after the war, the children came and I thought I would be satisfied with staying home with them every day. But now that they are in school, they really need me differently. My routine was pretty set and I worked as efficiently as possible to keep up the house, make the meals, run the errands, and care for everyone. Trouble is, like me, everyone was getting good at caring for themselves as they got older. I suppose I could always be a teacher; I liked learning. But I liked writing too. The choice was difficult. I called Lucy and asked if she had any suggestions. Luckily, she knew exactly what I should do. At the college, there was a whole office of people who helped with this type of thing, so I phoned and made an appointment to talk to a career counselor.

I hadn’t thought that what I was doing was creating a career. Nobody ever talked to me using such serious terms about work. Worse than that, I really hadn’t thought of myself as having a real career. There was no use in beating myself about it now, for sure, but once I figured out what I was going to be, I was going to start talking to the children, both of them, about what they were going to be when they grew up. And about college too. If Marie Claire’s teacher had the good sense to see how to use her special knowledge at her tender age, there was hope that the girls we were raising were going to take over the world.

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