A Year of Morning Thanks
Interesting that this little revelation should happen at a conference on history, which it did, a conference that looked exclusively at the history of Dutch communities in Wisconsin. What my mother discovered had absolutely no relationship to the conference, except that it too was about history. That's where she discovered the story.
A man she once knew--even taught to play piano--graduated with great honors from the local high school, years ago; and when he did, a relative of mine with a significant pocketbook and a litany of his own family problems asked him what he was going to do. The kid said he wished he could go to college, but he didn't think it possible--there was no bucks in the family till.
All of this, a man told my mother. Then came the revelation. The kid--who is no longer a kid because all of this happened decades ago--told my mother that this relative of mine, someone to whom she was very close, simply said he'd help significantly with the bill. And did. For four years. All the way through. Significantly.
And no one knew, at least no one in my family, certainly not my mother. The man who spoke to her, whose tuition was paid, is a fifty-something today; but he wanted my mother to know. He'd come to the conference on history, not really expecting to see my mother. They started talking, and he told her about how it was he'd received his education.
My mother, who is 90, had a good time at the conference, I'm sure. At the end of the day, she must have been tuckered out because when it was over, on top of everything else, we went out for dinner. It was a long day. But I don't know that she could have taken a greater blessing back to the home than she did, discovering something about history, something about her sibling, something she never knew before, an act of grace that never got a headline, much less a whisper.
Random acts of kindness, people call them. My uncle picked up a significant bill for a poor kid's college education: for my mother, that was the headline news of the whole conference.
My thanks, this morning, is that I learned some family history--but, even more, that my mother did. Her brother is gone now, but that news made the conference on history greatly worthwhile.