A few years back I sold a short piece of writing to the Christian Science Monitor’s Home Forum page. It was about a blissful day I spent hanging out with nine-year-old Ben, my grandson. Well, Ben started college this week.
He’ll be living with his uncle in Rancho Cucamonga and attending Chaffey Community College a short mile and a half away. Since he doesn’t own a car quite yet, he’s planning on riding his bike up the hill to school. The day before classes started, my daughter organized a family bike ride so that we could all make the trip with him the first time.
Despite my heaving lungs, we made it up the road together (although they did have to wait for me a few times), then we rode around the campus to locate where his classes would be. At one point we stopped by the Language Arts building as I reminded my daughter of the semester years before when she was taking a psychology class next door to where I was teaching English 1A. Ah, the memories. You see, Ben’s mother went to Chaffey, too. Of course, that was before earning her dual bachelor’s degrees from Pitzer and her first master’s from Claremont Graduate University (all of which came before her MFA and her current status as Rock Star Poet). When she tells people she’s a Pitzer and CGU grad, she usually doesn’t add “but before that I went to Chaffey.” In the same way, when I’m asked where I earned my degree, I usually just say “UC Riverside,” without adding “but before that I went to Chaffey.” Because I, too, am a Chaffey alumnus.
Yesterday I took my granddaughter, Hali, to lunch at a local restaurant. One of my former students is a hostess there. When I asked where she was going to school, she replied, “Just Chaffey.” The preconceived notion is that if one is attending a community college, one is not yet ready for the higher levels of academia offered by a university. Hogwash. I had great classes of intense depth and rigor at Chaffey which prepared me well for the three-hour Bluebook exams in literature I would later sit for at UCR. Chaffey is a great school, and I think Ben—who was nine when I wrote that piece for CSM—will be well served as a student there.
And it just makes me happy that we have all come up this way.
While hanging out with Hali this week (who is currently the family’s resident singer), she told me of her plans to audition for X Factor. She said her mom would go with her and maybe she’d audition, too. I told her maybe I would go with them and also audition—or we could all three sing together and call ourselves Generations. “Or Generations3,” she replied. Ooooh, I like that.
To read the short piece in which I describe a nine-year-old’s experience of just being a boy, click here.
Me, The Daughter, The Grandson--at our school