Who knew that growing up poor in the Midwest could be such an advantage! As a young person I quickly learned the value of hard work. That’s how I earned money for clothes and make-up and records (they came before cassettes and cds for any young people reading this column). I babysat and worked as a carhop at the root beer stand. Later I worked at the radio station. Having a summer job made me the envy of other teenagers! We felt so lucky that we didn’t call in sick, and were punctual and polite. Gratitude for a summer job that made college possible. I was also dependent on scholarships, grants, and loans to earn a four year degree. My mother couldn’t afford to help me pay for college, let alone bribe someone to get me into an exclusive college.
Later when I was a teacher in Caledonia, I had students who lived on farms. They did chores before and after school and still kept up their grades. Many of my students worked as waitresses and babysitters to earn money. No one thought working while going to school was unusual. It was just the way of life. If you wanted money, you had to earn it!
When my brother graduated with a degree in business from a college in Iowa (a state university without the prestige of Harvard or Yale), he headed to California. He applied for a job at Radio Shack and was hired on the spot when the manager noticed he was from the Midwest. The manager explained that people from the Midwest had a “work ethic.” My brother was surprised by that remark. He quickly advanced to management himself. Then when employees, not from the Midwest, were often late, didn’t bother to call in sick with an excuse, and sometimes “borrowed” merchandise; he understood that citizens of the “fly-over zone” did indeed have a work ethic! He started to hope for employees with that work ethic. Most often they were from the Midwest. Coincidence or luck?
Now I am not naive, so I suspected corruption in corporations and politics but not in college admissions. Rich, famous, and wealthy people feel a certain entitlement. They feel like royalty or sociopaths or spoiled children, that because they are so special they deserve whatever they want! Therefore, rules do not apply to them ortheir offspring. They are willing to pay someone to take tests for their children or lie about their participation in sports. Regular, poor people have to earn good grades, take tests themselves and practice and participate in sports. Life isn’t fair, but this is beyond belief!
This college admission scandal has made me realize how lucky I am. Money buys lots of wonderful things. It can’t buy integrity or a good work ethic, two values that open many doors in life. Once learned they become part of your character, personality, and lifestyle. Perhaps these wealthy, special parents should send their children to school in the Midwest to get an honest education!
Chocolate Truffle Torte
1/2 pkg. of Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter
12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
Melt the butter and pour it over the Oreo crumbs in a bowl. Mix them together and press into a 12 inch fluted torte pan with a false bottom. Melt the chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave for about l minute at a time until they mix together smoothly. Pour mixture over crumb crust and let it sit overnight. Top with fresh strawberries or raspberries and spray whipped cream.