What If: Vol 3-2
Monday, December 10, 1951
Looking up from her desk,
“Mrs. Harris,” I said,
“something happened over the weekend
and I’ve changed my mind about college.”
I want to go to R.I.T.:
the Rochester Institute of Technology.”
Peering at him over her glasses,
his class counselor said,
“wouldn’t you say it’s a bit late,
to say the least,
for you to be thinking of going to a university?”
I know, but I’ve got to do it,
so I’ll do anything to get in.
I know I’ll have to take an entrance exam
and I’m ready to go to Rochester to do it,
but I’ve got to know what I’ll need,
and I need you to find out
so I can get to work.”
“Work?” Mrs. Harris said.
Knowing his record,
she knew work was not one of
this young man’s better habits.
“You have no idea
how much work you’re going to have to do!”
“I don’t care!
I’ll do whatever I have to!”
I’ll check on the curriculum
and get back to you as soon as I find out.
Think you’d like a tutor?”
I’ll do whatever you think will help.”
“What I think is,
is that it’s too late.
But I’ll find out what you need.”
Coming from him,
she didn’t mind “Suzie.”
“Mitchie, you just called a half-hour ago.
Fingering my gold initial ring,
“Sue, I know we just met three days ago,
but I feel like I’ve known you all my life,
and I was afraid to ask yesterday
we’d only known each other one day,
Sue, I’d love to go steady with you!”
Thinking, Please, God!
Susan said excitedly,
“ I thought you’d never ask…
By mutual agreement,
seeing each other only on weekends,
he spent Saturday mornings in the Library with a tutor,
and during the week,
on evenings he didn’t work,
outside of one call right after school
he spent every minute
attempting to make up for
three and a half years of wasted time.
he gave Susan a gold and seed pearl bracelet.
Susan gave him the most beautiful gift he’d ever received:
butter-soft cashmere sweater
that immediately became his most prized possession.
Wearing a rented tuxedo,
I was invited to accompany Susan
and her parents to the New Year’s Eve
dinner and dance at Mister and Mrs. Friedman’s country club.
To be continued
©February 5, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman