The drive for Education
In the beginning of Her Mother’s Hope, Marta’s father tells her education is wasted on girls. This came from my grandmother’s story. She was taken out of school before high school and put to work. What she made was used to pay tuition for her brother. She wrote “I wanted to go desperately…” and “I never saw any money for my work, but almost every night I’d bring home a basket of vegetables and fruit which saved my parents some money as we had no garden…”
Grandma’s father was a tailor and her mother a dressmaker. Like Marta, my grandmother learned to sew, knit, crochet and embroider at an early age. I never remember a time when she wasn’t knitting or crocheting something. Before she passed away, she had made knitted slippers for everyone in the family and tucked them in a box under her bed.
Like Marta, my grandmother was sent to a housekeeping school in Berne. Her father believed the best occupation for a girl was to be a servant. Like Marta, upon graduation, Grandma was offered a job with a salary of 20 francs a month at Thun Castle. When she asked why so little pay, the manager told her “it is a great honor to work at the castle.” Grandma declared she couldn’t eat honor. I’m sure she said a few other things before turning her back and walking out the door.
All during my grandmother’s life, she sought to learn. She loved watching game shows and putting together 3000-5000 piece puzzles. In her later years, she attended community lectures and classes. She encouraged me to study, and go to college, though I wonder if she approved of my “liberal arts” major. Had Grandma been granted the same opportunities my parents gave me, I think she would have chosen to study business administration.
How does your family view education?