Friday, January 25, 2013

A Dose of Youth, by "Eighteen" from West Virginia, 1934

Ever since I was a little girl, people,--my teachers, friends, relatives--have talked college to me. We never did have much money but still it always seemed to us that when the time came I would go to college. Now I have been out of high school a year and we are practically certain I cannot go.

It is harder on Mother and Dad, I believe, than on me for people talk to them as if they should sacrifice everything just to give me an education. Goodness knows they have already sacrificed enough! And besides, I honestly do not believe that education is everything.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. That is why they advocate college so strongly. But there are heaps of things to write about--farm and village life, for example. I could not feel about a city as I do about our valley--a deep dish scalloped round with hills with the sky for a cover. I could not love city crowds the way I love Mrs. Brown who has five children and who wears a little blue hat she has worn for three years because her husband says "it matches her eyes," and because--well her husband hasn't been doing well.

When I get to thinking about the dreams I used to have (I thought being grown up would be heavenly!) it hurts, so I have to slip off to the haymow and cry a little, but I get over it. I think growing up must be hard any time. There are so many hurts and perplexities that one must hide. I would almost die before I would admit some of the things I think, or some of the funny little things that make me want to cry. It hurts to be young and uncertain. It is doubly hard to be young and want to so something--and not know what.

I have always wanted to be happy--and gallant. Maybe I can learn to be with all this time I am going to have.

There will still be the fun of putting on an old slicker and walking with my face upturned to the rain. It is easy to make Mother happy; I can think of loads of things to do for her. Dad is tickled pink when I am interested in the things he likes. This winter I am helping my sister with her lessons. I can still study people and imagine stories about them. If I just forget myself I think I can be happy. Perhaps I am just having a dose of Youth.