Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life in Kent

The four years that we spent living in Kent were happy ones.  One good thing that came from having spent that time in the Navy was the GI Bill, which provided a monthly check to Joe as a full-time college student.  We became eligible for the in-state tuition rate and that helped, too.  During the time that Joe had been away, the School of Architecture underwent some changes, and he returned just in time to participate in a new program.  The professional architecture degree normally took five years to complete; it would take Joe longer than that because of having transferred from a lesser school.  However, the year that we returned we learned of an option:  The 5-year professional degree was still available.  So was a 4-year bachelor's degree followed by a 2-year master's.  Furthermore, the master's students would be eligible to teach in a brand new associate's program.  Joe enrolled in this new option right away.  It would take no longer than the original plan, and he would come out with an advanced degree.

He spent many, many hours at his studies and his projects, leaving me with many hours to fill.  The typing business was great; I was learning all kinds of unusual things and meeting interesting people.  I learned of a crisis intervention center, applied, and was accepted into the forty-hour volunteer training program, which was one of the most important things I've ever done.  HELP Line was a university-sponsored telephone crisis line, and we did suicide prevention, drug identification, and all kinds of other crisis work.  Our training was built on the active listening model and I loved every minute of it.  After a couple of years, HELP line merged with Townhall II, a walk-in crisis center supported, I believe, by the county.  It included a free medical clinic where I took additional training to be a volunteer intake person.  I learned to issue slides for possible veneral disease specimens, to help women who thought they may be pregnant, to run pregnancy tests (this was long before the do-it-yourself type of test) and to take blood pressures, among other things.  How I loved wearing that stethoscope!

Joe and I had wanted to start a family and there were some problems on my end.  The doctors I saw in the Navy weren't any help at all.  Our personal theory was that they were trained as podiatrists and assigned to gynecology service.  But in Kent I met a physician who took my case to heart, and three-quarters of the way through our time in that town, I ran a pregnancy test with a most marvelous result!

It was around that time that I had begun to feel uneasy in the law office.  Hank and Brad were nice enough guys ("If you ever want a divorce, we won't charge you for it!") but their unconventionality was beginning to worry me.  I didn't know for sure whether they kept drugs in the office, and I began looking for a change.  Soon after I became pregnant, a half-time position opened up in the president's office at the University and I worked there until just a week before Tom was born.

As a new mom, I didn't plan to return to work outside of the home.  The typing business was earning enough, and at this point we had the teaching stipend to rely on.  However, when my wonderful doctor asked me if I would like to come in to his office one evening per week and transcribe his dictated chart notes, I was happy to accept the offer.  I did that for nearly a year.

Soon it was time for Joe to graduate with his master's degree and we began making more frequent trips home to Philadelphia in search of a job for him.  But there was a recession at that time, and architecture firms weren't hiring.  Since I'd always had a fairly easy time finding a job and since Tom was weaned, we came up with the plan that we'd move to Philadelphia, I'd get a job, and Joe would stay home with Tom for a few months until things got better and he could find a job, at which time I'd return to staying at home.

It was a terrific plan and it nearly worked.


Nancy said...

I am really enjoying your story...can't wait to read about the snag...

Judi said... only "nearly" worked....

What happened next???


Micki said...

I can't wait to hear the rest of it...what a neat story!