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It was my heart's desire as a child to have a huge Christmas tree, one that seemed to grow out of the floor "Nutcracker"-like, covered with ornaments and colored lights, that we would pick from a snow-covered hill, chop down, and carry home in a sleigh. But year after year my brother and sisters and I would pile in the car with my father and head for the YMCA tree lot.
Chirstmas tress and college degrees-making dreams come true
The routine was always the same: We kids would converge on the biggest, tallest trees, my father would hold them up, and we'd survey them critically, rejecting those that were too short or had loose needles, holes in the branches, crooked trunks, flat spots, or no center spike to hold the star. When we agreed on the one we wanted, we'd deal with my father. (Being nobody's fool, my mother stayed home.) With him, the sticking points were always price and size, and it took me a long time to figure out that they were linked. He seemed to view bargaining with the lot man as a life lesson for us. Usually we went home with 7- or 8-foot trees that looked perfect, if short.
One year, we found a 10-foot tree with a huge hole at about 5 feet, as if someone had pulled out a row of branches. To my Dad this was an opportunity, and he negotiated a price, telling us that he could fix it. And he did. He cut branches off the bottom, drilled holes in the trunk, and stuck them in. If memory serves, it worked pretty well.
As an adult in houses with 8-foot ceilings, I adjusted to reality, but when we added a room with a cathedral ceiling to our up-North cottage, I knew that at least once I was going to have a huge, tall, stunning tree, one that satisfied my Christmas tree dreams. Needless to say, my husband wasn't too thrilled by the sheer physical effort involved, but recognizing an obsession, he cooperated. We spent an hour tramping the hills of northern Michigan, checking blue spruce, Douglas fir, white pine, and Norway spruce, finally settling on a 14-foot white spruce that we could carry baled up. Happily we didn't feel like executioners. It didn't feel the same as picking the lobster out of the tank or pointing to the cow that would be a steak dinner.
In addition, ASL has become more visible nationwide as the Americans with Disabilities Act has required that programs, services, and activities be accessible to individuals with disabilities. One of the ways of fulfilling this requirement for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is to provide access to communication, for example, by providing qualified interpreters.
Our tree had a glass parrot on the top, and trimming it from 8-foot step ladders was an experience I don't want to repeat. But it was a sparkling masterpiece! It filled our eyes with beauty, our noses with the scent of evergreen, and our hearts with all the joy of the season. It was a Christmas dream come true. Best of all, we're in the market for a taller ladder.
This is a story about doing what many grown-ups do - make their childhood dreams come true. In the College we see many, many students whose dream is to graduate from a first-rate university. Because of the generosity and foresight of others, we have generations of students who can fulfill that dream and use their College experiences to build productive, successful, and happy lives.
>Thanks to a generous gift from Edward L. Hutton, BS'40, MS'41, LLD'92, in honor of his friend, D. Walter Robbins, BS'42, MS'43, students in the Liberal Arts and Management Program will be eligible for significant scholarship support.
>Janet Gray Hays, BA'48, earmarked funds to be used for scholarship support of students in the College with significant financial need and academic achievement and promise.
>Philip Fox, BS'55, MA'67, endowed two prizes: one in mathematics for an undergraduate or graduate student based on scholastic merit, financial need, and an intention to teach, named in honor of his aunt, Thelma Abell, BA'29, MS'36; and another in classical languages based on the same criteria, in honor of his mother, Alice Abell Fox, BA'26, MA'32.
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Last updated: June 10, 1999
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