This story from Mom's very first writing class in the fall of 1991. In it, she actually explains why these stories are here and why she took her classes.
The photo is from a family portrait from about 1991.
Kirkwood is a Community College. It is a college for all people. It is accredited, so if you wish, you can get a degree. If you need special help, such as reading help or writing help, there is a place for you. If you need to bring your grade point average up to qualify for something specific, the help is there. Or, if you are just looking for a push with a specialized career, and all you want is a few courses to help you, there is also a place for you.
I am 48 years old, and I have worked the same job for twenty years. I have this feeling inside that I want to write. I feel there are stories in me that I want to get out. I want to expand my horizons before I retire. I am handicapped and have worked very hard to get where I am. This disease process I have will continue to progress so that I may not be able to work this hard for long. Yet I feel there are some things I should still be able to do, even when I'm not able to get around very well.
Kirkwood is accessible. I walk with braces and crutches and have all my life. I've had all the struggles that go along with school. I wanted to take a class where I could park and get to the classroom easily on my own. Registration is also simple. Kirkwood caters to the adult students who want help keeping up their skills. It is inexpensive compared to the University.
I feel we have lived much over the years. I have lived through experiences as a handicapped child in a large farm family. The struggles as a student faced with ordinary obstacles like stairs, long walks to class and carrying books. Now as a mother of two, working in the real world, I want more. I want to be able to distinguish myself in some way. I want to become a real inspiration to someone. I want to help. I want to show that handicapped individuals are bright people worth knowing.
I also have this yearning to teach. For four years, I have taught a sewing class through the Community Education Department of Kirkwood. I started sewing when I was very young. I followed my sister, who was my mentor. Much of what I have learned didn't come from a book. Many of my students have told me to write it all down. My hope is to some day do just that. I want to put it down in plain language so people won't be frightened by the instructions.
I hope my time spent here in the classroom will help me achieve my goals, or tell me to forget them. I have the creative spirit. Now I need to learn the mechanics of writing. Some day people will know me more by what I'm doing, not what I can't do.
Connie, Nov. 4, 1991