ARROW - 153. Chapter 153
School started, the older boys are seniors and now they began to focus on colleges. I noticed when we attended Ronnie’s football games some people were taking photos. Ronnie told me they were scouts and some were recording their plays.
“How do you know this?”
“Two of the scouts stopped and talked with me after the game. They were the ones taking a short movie. Dad, how would you feel is I went to a mid-west college?”
“I’d miss you” then remembering GG, “But the important thing is that besides football you get a good education. Have you given any thought about what you will study or do after football?”
“Yes, I’m going to teach at a high school. I talked with our coach about teaching and coaching football. He said to let him know when I was ready, he would retire. I think he was kidding.”
I was hoping maybe he wasn’t. That would be great if Ronnie taught at the high school. When I told Colin he said not to get my hopes up.
November, Geno and family came for a visit. It wasn’t Nonna but close enough. I thought it was too late to go fishing but I was wrong, Geno insisted and Colin obliged. But only the older boys went.
Ivan brought a basket of corn home from his garden at the Home for our dinner. I took some to the club and James cooked one for them. The rest of the corn, he removed the kernels and served corn fritters at the club.
Tommy started to make arrangements for Thanksgiving dinner at the Home. He invited a few teachers. When I asked why, he said they have asked about the Home and wanted to see it. “I thought if they saw it, they would support it and maybe they might adopt someone.”
I though that was a slight possibility but enough of a possibility I'd support him, just in case Pat wouldn’t like it.
We had another surprise, Marcel flew back for Thanksgiving and took Billy back with him. He did promise to be back for Christmas.
I always enjoyed eating at the Home. Although I never had a full meal, I always had someone to share my meal. Colin would laugh until I told one of the boys that Uncle Colin had a special dish. Then the boys would go to Colin and the girls would come to me. Colin doesn’t like certain vegetables and the kitchen knew. So he would get a serving of a different vegetable. I liked Brussel sprouts and the kitchen always gave me extra. He didn’t but he liked lima beans so he would get an extra helping of lima beans. The kitchen always served two vegetables, so there were times when he and I had the same, I still sent the kids to eat with him.
Alma, from the kitchen, suggested that she would give us an extra plate of vegetables to feed the children.
It was crazy, they wouldn’t eat the vegetables on their plate but would eat those vegetables from our plate. Colin said it was the human touch. Our vegetables tasted different.
Christmas we went to see Santa Claus. It was an interesting trip, antsy kids going and sleepy kids returning. I once asked Colin if he tried a different store, he said no. “I did try other stores when we first did this. Several didn’t want to open early for the children. One wanted a fee to cover their employee wages since they would be working an extra hour.
When I went to the store we go to, they jumped at the chance. Their employees volunteered their time, the children get a discount on the gifts they buy and the store wraps them free.”
“Why did they do this and the others didn’t?”
“Two reasons, publicity and a long term contract.”
“I could understand publicity but a long term contract?”
“The stores pay a lot of money for publicity particularly at Holidays. So when the newspapers show up and take pictures of the children, it is free publicity. As to the contract, I told them as long as they accommodated us we would not approached or accept offers from any other other stores.”
“Do you get offers? I would think after turning you down they wouldn’t have the nerve to come to you.”
“After that first year, they all came.”
Christmas at the Home is a two day affair for Colin and I. Only this year we had two extra guests, Ronnie and Richie invited two girls.
It was interesting to watch the couples. The girls pitched right in, they joined in the games with the kids and had them laughing.
“What do you think about the boys’s girlfriends.”
“I think they are great. I would expect that any girl friend of the boys would have to accept their attitude toward the Home.”
New Years, we went to the Goat’s ball park for fireworks. New Year’s day, the boys got out the grills and started to grill hot dogs. I thought it was too cold but they did it anyway.
I took several photos, I wanted to paint a picture of them barbecuing hot dogs in the snow.
With the new year, the boys became serious about schools. True to his word, Ronny got an invitation to visit three schools. One was the University of Alabama, one was the University of Michigan. The third one was the University of Notre Dame.
Now I wasn’t happy, but when Ronny wanted to discuss them, I was glad for him. We talked about each school, I’m not sure but the idea of being a Wolverine seemed to suit Ronnie. He told me that a wolverine was a dangerous animal and no one messed with them. GG said the team is made for him.
Ronnie didn’t answer any of his invitations right away. The high school coach told him to wait another week. Something about the schools had to have their letters sent out by a certain time. I didn’t understand that but if he wanted to be a wolverine, I would accept it.
“Colin, we need a helicopter and you need to learn ti fly it.”
He looked at me as if I was crazy. “Ronnie is going to Michigan and I’m not sure where the other boys are going. We need to bring them home when they have breaks and we need to go to the wolverine games." For me the matter was settled. If the boys are going to be away from home to attend college, we are going to visit them.
Colin, didn’t buy a plane or anything, but he did investigate private planes and costs.
We were discussing my desire to visit the boys and buying a plane or helicopter at dinner one evening when Richie made the comment it could be a write off.
I listen as Colin wanted to know how, “Pop, you could offer to take a client to a game.” That was all that was said when Colin got up from the table, went to Richie, grabbed him in a hug.
I guess we would be going to at least Ronnie’s games.
I waited for the other shoes to drop. Richie wanted to go to his dad’s school. I knew that but I didn’t know the name of the school. Since his dad married a woman from France, I was afraid Richie would want to go to a University in France.
Richie’s dad did his undergraduate work at Amherst University. I smiled. “Where would you go for your law degree?”
“Uncle Roger said I could go to Yale for that.” I knew Colin would be happy about that and so would I.
Ivan said he would go to Yale, he liked working with the guys on redoing the grounds of the old orphanage. He met and talked with some of the students who helped.
I was okay with that, he could walk to school. That left Tommy.
I knew Tommy would choose to follow Pat.
When the other boys discussed their choices over dinner, Tommy didn’t.
It was two days later, when Tommy came to me in my studio. “Dad, can we talk?”
“Sure Tommy, you know I am always ready to listen to you.”
“I want to be like Pat.” (The boys have called her Pat when they started high school) “She has laid out this program for me.” He handed me a sheet of paper. I looked at it, some where seminars. But one that caught my attention was Yale.
"What do you think, she has Yale on your list?”
“Yes, she said I should get a degree in child psychology and then to attend special classes at several universities.”
“I’d be glad if you attend Yale, but only if that is your choice. Once you get your degree, then you could attend these other seminars or even take a course at another university.”
“Tommy, Pop and I will always support you just as we do your brothers.”
I felt comfortable with their choices, the only one I was a little uncomfortable with was Ronnie’s.
GG said I did good. Don’t worry, they will do well and you will be proud of them.
The rest of the term, we visited Michigan and met the Wolverine coach. Then we visited Amherst, when Richie told then his dad had attended Amherst, they gave him a special tour. Showed him where his father’s dorm was and told him in the fall when he registered he could be assign to that dorm if he wanted.
While at Amherst, I picked up a catalogue of courses. There were a few that Tommy could take and even Ivan.
Except for Ronnie, I felt better about the boys choice of schools, Ronnie will be the furtherest away.
The boys graduated from high school in the upper 10 percentile. I was proud of them and so I planned a trip to Europe for 4 weeks, Greece for 1 week and Egypt for 1 week.
“We should have done this when we were only 6 now we are 13.”
“I wonder if Roger would like to go? He might be able to get Jean and Arnaud to go.”
“Arnaud has been to Greece so he could be our travel guide. I expect he has been to Egypt as well. I don’t think Roger has been anywhere except France.
“Let them know what our plans are and see what they say. You better get busy and sell more paintings. I don’d think Dad’s statement about you having more money then the banks is true.”
“As soon as we finalized our plans, I’ll let Roger know.”
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