Sunday, September 30, 2007

School Days are Here Again

This is the post I’ve really wanted to write. Brandy is going back to school. Ok, to be fair she has been going to school all along since she graduated from high school. But school has been a side line for her for a long time. She has taken just two classes a semester for the past two or three semesters, and focused instead on her job and her photography. I paid a little more attention to school at her age, but I also eventually let work supersede my devotion to an education. I didn’t get back to school again seriously until my early thirties.

But Brandy never quit school as I did. And she knows how she wants to make her living. She has a major leg up on me.

Bonnie and I spent two family intensive days last weekend in Claremont California. My siblings were there as well as my aunts and uncles, and my cousins were there with their children. Brandy, as one of the oldest of that generation, was working and could not be there. I wish she had been. She would have loved seeing all that family. Next time, hopefully in another year or two, I’ll make sure she gets to the reunion.

This family get-together was in celebration of my long gone grandfather who would have been 100. The centerpiece was a retrospective of his art in a building named for him, at the Los Angeles County Fair Grounds (largest fair in the country) in Claremont. The show included perhaps 200 pieces of his art. Our family met en mass there a week ago and spent two or three hours enthralled in our shared heritage. Much has been made of my grandfather in my lifetime. Our family elders (now down to one uncle and one aunt) laud him and his accomplishments. We all pay homage. And with good reason, for he was an undeniable talent and force. But he was human too, with his own foibles. And I tend to diminish his genius rather than indulge in hero worship. But I can handle a love fest in his honor from time to time.

And Brandy deserves to enjoy that as well. My grandfather was especially fond of his grandchildren who exhibited artistic talent. At one time he thought highly of me as I made a feint into that career path.

It was in that atmosphere that I sat and talked and thought and pondered last weekend, missing Brandy and thinking about how much she would have grown in her life had she been there. Bonnie started telling me how she had finally managed to convince Brandy to check out this art school in town. She had spoken of it before and I had listened with half an ear. I knew Brandy couldn’t afford the school. Brandy blew her state lottery scholarship her first semester in college, and I guess we all had come to the conclusion that she was on her own now. To buttress this conclusion, Brandy has made a point of becoming financially self-sufficient these past two years.

Then it suddenly dawned on me; why shouldn’t we send her to art school? I know this should have been obvious. She is after all an only child. But our shared paradigm made this seem like a revelation. Bonnie and I discussed this and both instantly knew we were on to the right path. Brandy was scheduled to visit this college the following day, so I called her to ask how much it would mean to her to earn a bachelor’s degree in photography. Her response was what I expected; she would die for it but couldn’t possibly afford it. I let her know she could dispense with that impediment, and that she should make her visit to the school a serious effort toward fulfilling that goal.

Brandy followed up as one might expect. She will be starting her new school this coming January. Bonnie and I will be putting some plans and dreams on hold. I can’t think of a better reason to do so.

In fact I am envious of Brandy. She will now have a formal art education, with a practical career; photography.


Mindy said...

I am very excited for her -- she is truly so talented.

Brandy said...

Thank you daddy. That was a really sweet blog. And thank you Mindy for the kind words as well. Oh, and love love LOVING the song! Haha ;) So glad you have a daughter that shows you how put music up XD

Love ya!!