Thursday, May 3, 2018

"Glow little glow-worm, Shy-mer, Shy-mer...."

In that place between sleep and wakefulness--a place I try to stay as long as possible--often images come to me.

This morning it was a back yard from my childhood full of lightening bugs. And with it came the song, "Glow little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer...."

Except in my barely conscious state, the words were 'shimer, shimer' and I woke up knowing exactly what that meant.

Shimer College--pronounced "shy-mer". A place I never visited but which changed my life forever and set me on a path I would have never trod had I not known about Shimer College. (Back then it was a college of 400 or so. Last year, residing on the grounds Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Shimer has 47 students. Dying, though it gave life to me in so many ways!)

It was pretty clear that I would attend West Virginia University after graduating from high School. But somehow (grace of God?) I found out about this "Great Books College" in New Carroll, Illinois. It appealed to me to simply read 'great books' for four years. Years later I tried to get Mimi to consider St. John's College in Annapolis, another 'Great Books College". But she was sold on Bennington instead.

Here's the thing--Shimer required at least one year of a foreign language. Our high school was so small there was only one language offered--Latin--taught by Mrs. Sargent. So, my Senior Year I signed up for Latin I. Most of the other students were freshmen and sophomores. One of which was a fresh-woman named Bernadine Pisano.

I'd never have taken that class if Shimer College hadn't crossed my mind and that was the only chance I would have had to meet Bern.

As I woke up this morning I realized if I'd never taken Latin I, Josh and Mimi would have never been born and there would have been no Morgan, Emma, Tegan and Eleanor.

This year, in September, Bern and I will have been married 48 years. And we gave life to the life we've shared and to Josh and Mmi and through them to four amazing granddaughters. None of whom would exist if it hadn't been that Shimer required a year of a language other than English.

I won't ponder for a moment what my life would have been like if it hadn't been for that tiny campus in the plains of the Mid-West and my thought that I would like to spend four years reading the Great Books.

Thank you from the bottom of my soul, Shimer College.

Shimer's motto is "to serve, not to be served". In this weird way, I was 'served' in ways that college never imagined....!

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.