Education was highly valued by my grandfather. He had watched his own father, who struggled to support his family as a railway mail clerk. My great-grandfather got a law degree by correspondence and finally achieved a level of financial comfort after years of hardship. Going to college was not a given when my grandfather graduated from Ranger high school as the valedictorian. He had scholarship money from the University of Texas, but had to work while attending school to make ends meet as his parents couldn't afford to give him anything.
So, in 1931, Howard had a diploma, a serious girlfriend (insert future grandmother here), and no prospect for a job. In his own words, "the world had gone flat." He picked cotton for a summer, hitchhiked with a college buddy to Chicago to see the World's Fair (that's a fun story), went back to school for a time. Then, more than 2 years after he had graduated, in 1933 he got a job. His first and his last. He worked his entire life for Humble Oil Co. (now Exxon).
His story - working through college, unable to find a job - wasn't unique then or now. But these things strengthen us. As I think about my oldest, who's about 4 years away from college (read TOP OF MIND), I have images of his intellectual and financial success. But I know to be careful what I wish for. He needs his own share of hiccups and hardships. He needs those challenges that will shape his character and mold him into the grandfather that someone will absolutely adore someday!