Free at last of college tuition, and now for some poetry

by Rob Tiller

Last week we passed a sweet milestone:  writing the last college tuition check for the last child.  For more than two decades, the formidable challenge of paying for college has loomed ahead, always a vague worry and gradually a bigger and bigger worry.  As college costs steadily increased, it looked like a potential financial nightmare. Education of the young is a basic parental duty, and in bourgeois America it is — expensive.  How sweet it is to put down that burden.

I woke up around 1:00 a.m. on Thursday and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up to do some reading.  Not long after, I heard someone at the door, and then heard the door open.  I was glad it was Jocelyn, and not an unknown intruder, who caused a a serious burst of adrenalin.  She’d been out with friends at a downtown bar, and decided to spend the night with us.

Joc was in a jolly mood, and we had a great talk.  I was so happy to hear that she’d fallen in love with English poetry and gotten surprisingly knowledgeable about some of my own favorites, including Wordsworth and Keats.  We went over La Belle Dame Sans Merci to try, yet again, to understand what it means.  I recommended some Tennyson, and she promoted some Coleridge.  We shook our heads over the tragic early death of Keats, and I told her about Wilred Owen’s tragic early death in World War I.  We discussed Yeats as well, and especially Adam’s Curse.

We marveled that there is such beauty and sadness in the world.   I was delighted at her knowledge, sense of  humor, and sophistication.  She’s ready to launch.  The tuition was well spent.