A series of conversations about California history and my generations contributions to the economy have put me in the fast lane to the next phase of my life: getting a Masters degree in the history of my home state at Sacramento State College.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to explore.I make no excuses for my provincial views of my native State nd I’ve always wanted to know more about really transpired in the Gold camps throughout the state andat the Octopus’s secret meetings where Southern Pacific rail executives plotted tio steal every cent they could from Central Valley farmers.
But there is another topic I want to use a Masters program to explore: the contributions of VIetNam vets who went to college on the GI BIll to the state’s and nation’s economy.It’s this concept that 50 years of reporting is driving me towards.
When I first began noodling the idea of going back to school i was daunted by the idea of using student loans for tuition at this late stage of my life. I mentioned this to a veterans advocate the last time I was at the VA.
His reaction was “WHoa, changes to the educational benefits of the GI Bill could see you through a Master’s Degree?”
“Plus the benefit now includes a housing allowance.”
I remember saying “ No Shit? How much?. He told me it's around $800 a month.”
The decision to go to graduate school is getting simpler everyday. $800 a month means I can rent a room near Sac State and have enough money left over to avoid a one ramen cup a day diet.”
The more i think about it, the more i believe that My going to Sac State is kismet. It’s close to a large body of historical records, there’s a state VA coordinator who I can use to grease the weights into the VA I need to gather qualitative information on the number of my felo VietNam and recent service veterans who have gone to school “on the dole.”
The buttercream frosting on this cake is my love of fishing and this fact: Sacramento may be the only city on the West Coast where you can swap your slacks for jeans and felt -soled fishing shoes and slog out to the sandbar at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers and bag a two-fish King Salmon limit.
The logistics required for the transition to senior citizen graduate student are in place. My computers, tv, clothes and radios will all nestle tightly in my Kia Soul.I can buy a used mini fridge easily in Sacto but I still need to order a bespoke three piece corduroy suit from my tailor in Manila. The two tone brown saddle shoes and requisite upland bird ties can be found at Nordies Rack outlet stores, ANd I already have a Nording Freehand pe and some Douwe Egberts pipe tobacco.
The final peace in the equation is getting my Piaggio 400cc three wheel scooter up to Sacto, which will cost about $200, using a freelance moving service.
I've always wanted to live in sacto, and although I’ll miss my avocados, there’s always Raley's produce department. And Sacto may have the best minor league baseball franchise and stadium in all of California.
I’m excited by this life event ad confident I can get all my transcripts ready for the admissions process very quickly. Let’s see Cal Poly Pomona with 4.0 GPA work at Stanford, I’m trying not to be overly confident.
Look out, that crazed disabled Viet Vet returning to school on an outrageously funny motor scooter is headed for Sacramento State, fishing rod cradled in my stroke damaged left hand.
40 years of reporting and i want nothing more than to keep on learnin ansd may be write a definitive work onb how the GI Bill and common vets helped build the sixth largest economy, workdwide.
Don’t spend too much time looking in the rearview, the road continues to unfold in front of my bifocal constrained wide brown eyes.
I sure hope my neww housemates like Doobie brothers music.
Jim Forbes n 3/24/2018, writing an Ikea CHopin Liszt right now..