Donald made no comment. I went on, ‘In the mean time we must get transcripts and get you two into the city school system. Donald, what would you think of going to Westport High instead of Southwest? Say yes and we might find you a jalopy, four wheels of some sort, so that it would not be too difficult. I really don't want you in the same school as Priscilla. She hasn't any judgement, dear; I'm afraid she would get into fights with other girls over you. '
‘Yeah, she www.storebath.ru might. But, Mama, I don't need to go to Westport. '
‘I think you do. For the reasons I named. '
‘I don't need to go to high school. I graduated in June. '
I had lived-with children all my life; they had never ceased to surprise me.
‘Donald, how did I miss this? I had you tagged for next year, and I don't recall receiving an announcement'
‘I didn't send out any. .. and, yeah, I was classed as a junior this past year. But I've got the required hours and then some, because I took summer session last year to make sure I got all the maths they offered. Mama, I figured on being ready to go either way. .. didn't decide to graduate until May, when it was too late for the year book and all that jazz. Mr Hardecker - he's the principal - wasn't pleased. But he did check my record and agreed that I had the option of graduating at the end of my junior year if I wanted to. But he suggested that he just arrange to issue my diploma quietly and I should not attend graduation or try to convince the class of'52 that I was in their class since I wasn't in their year book and didn't wear their class ring and all the rest I agreed. Then he helped me apply for the schools I was interested in. The really good technical schools, I mean, like MIT and Case and CalTech and Rensselaer. I want to build rocketships. '
‘You sound like your brother Woodrow:
‘Not quite. He flies ‘em; I want to design them. '
‘Have you heard from any of your applications? '
‘Two. Case and CalTech. Turned me down. '
‘There may be good news waiting for you in Dallas. I'll check with your father - I must call him today anyhow; I have yet to tell him that you two wanderers showed up here. Donald, if you are turned down this year for the schools you have applied to, don't lose hope. '
‘I won't. I'll apply next year. '
Not quite what I meant. You should go to school this year. Dear, it is not necessary to go to one of the world's top technical schools for your lower division courses. Any liberal arts college with high scholastic standards is okay for lower division. Such as Claremont. Or any of the so-called Little Ivy League. Or Grinnell College. Lots of others. '
‘But this is August, Mama. It's too late to apply anywhere. '
‘Not quite. ' I thought hard. ‘Donald, I want you to let me promote you to eighteen; we'll start by getting you a Missouri driver's licence that shows that age for you, then we'll get you a delayed birth certificate when you need one. Not soon, unless you need a passport. Then you'll go to. .. Grinnell, I think'-one of the committee for my doctorate was now dean of admissions there and I had known him rather well-‘ for one or two years. Make up, your mind just which engineering school you want and we'll work on getting you into it next year or the year after. .. while you work hard for top grades. And -‘
‘Mama, what am I going to use for money? '
‘My dear son, I am ready to go to almost any expense to get you separated from your sister before you two get into real trouble. I won't pay for an abortion, but I will pay for your education over and above what you can earn yourself, working part time. Which you should do, for self-discipline and for your own self-respect. At Grinnell a male student can often wash dishes in a sorority house. '
I went on, ‘Those cornfed coeds are luscious; I've seen them. But you may not notice them too much as I want to submit your name to the Howard Foundation, and ask for the Iowa list of the youngest age group of girls. '
‘But, Mama, I'm not anxious to get married and I can't support a wife! '
‘You don't have to get married. But are you totally uninterested in meeting a select list of girls about your age, all of whom are healthy, all are long-lived - as you are - all desirable girls by all the usual criteria. .. and all of them guaranteed not to scream if you make a polite, respectful, but unmistakable pass at her? And won't get indignant - What kind of a girl do you think I am? - when it turns out you have a fishskin or a Rameses in your pocket.
Son, you do not have to do anything whatever about your Howard list. But if you get horny or lonely or both, shopping your Howard list surely beats hanging around bars or attending prayer meetings; all the preliminary work has been done for you. Because the Howard Foundation does indeed want Howards to marry Howards, and spends millions of dollars to that end. '
‘But, Mama, I can't possibly get married until I'm out of school. That's five years away, at least. I need an MS. A Ph. D. wouldn't hurt. '
‘You talked to your sister Susan yesterday. Did you wonder how Susan and Henry were able to go to college, straight from their wedding? Quit worrying, Donald. If you will just pick a college not too close to Kansas City, all your problems can be worked out. And your mother can quit worrying. '
Priscilla blew all her fuses when she learned that Donald was going to, go to school somewhere else. We kept her from knowing about it until the last minute; the day she registered at Southwest High was the day he left for Grinnell. Donald packed while his sister was at school, then waited until she got home to break the news. Then he left at once, driving a Chevrolet so old that it could not be used on a control road; it had no bug.
She threw a fit. She insisted that she was going with him. She made silly noises about suicide. ‘You're deserting me! I'll kill myself, I will! Then you'll be sorry you did this to me! '
Donald looked glum but he left. Priscilla went to bed. I ignored the fact. Threats of suicide are just another tantrum to me, blackmail to which I will not submit.
Besides, if a person wants to take his own life, it is (I think) his privilege. Also, if he is dead serious about it, no one can stop him.
(Yes, I am a cruel and heardess scoundrel. Stipulated. Now go play with your dolly somewhere else. )