After sitting down to dinner with my parents
at either head of the table, our Dad would ask
this question after we finished saying Grace
together before our shared meal. Memories
flooded my mind as I observed how silent
our neighborhood became because the
children had returned to school. I envisioned
dinner conversations at their tables. Exciting.
I don’t remember who started to answer our
Dad’s question nightly. Whoever had the most
urgent news I suppose. Results of a test in one
subject or how strict a teacher was. News.
Grumblings. Happy reports. Our parents were
genuinely interested in our answers. Education
was at the top of the list of importance. If we
had something negative to report, more questions
resulted until a resolution could be discerned.
Our parents were active participants in the
parent organizations both in Massachusetts
as well as in Colorado. Our Dad brought a
German guest to one of our high school
meetings: Herr (Mr.) Bode. Our Dad spoke
a little German, but his accent when he
introduced the gentleman was such
that people around shook the gentleman’s
hand while declaring “Glad to meet you,
Herb.” Mind you, that was not his first name
but the resulting German pronunciation!
Today in recalling such events, I am mildly
amused and no longer mortified by our
Dad’s German pronunciation. Our Dad’s declaration
to us repeated quite often over the years
was that he wanted to live long enough to
see all his daughters graduate from college.
After obtaining five degrees in German,
I surpassed his expectations. He passed
during my first Fulbright Year in Germany
but not before telling me how proud he
was of me and of all his daughters. His words
are forever engraved in my heart. Thanks, Dad.
Our Dad’s love and interest in our
education remains today and has been
passed on to our two children. My fervent
hope is for all parents to take an interest
in the education of their children and
to talk about it at the dinner table during
those formative years. From generation
to generation, the seed is thus planted.