(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
The morning after Beth’s exciting Greece news, we arrived at the Minneapolis airport early. John couldn’t miss more school, so he flew home to Ohio. Beth and I landed in Boston for Harvard’s weekend for admitted students.
We found our way to information sessions, welcoming with every detail. Enclosed within a tall wrought iron fence, Harvard Yard housed freshmen dorms, classroom buildings, libraries, grand offices, and the John Harvard statue, all brimming with historical significance.
Under a canopy of ancient trees, tourists speaking many languages flocked to the statue, rubbing a buckled shoe for luck.
Over in Harvard Square, to the south and east of the Yard, street musicians performed amid shops and restaurants. People had gathered there since 1630. We bought chocolate treats at Finale. We browsed at Mint Julep, a boutique destined to become Beth's favorite dress shop. The Square embodied interesting contrasts: a tattooed teenager with many piercings, a veiled tourist with only her eyes showing, an elderly Asian gentleman playing a simple string instrument, a man dressed for a yacht ride, a homeless woman with long dreadlocks, and a rich woman in diamonds and furs.
Beth and I were a world away from our small Ohio town.
We met with Harvard‘s director of disability services. She offered Beth accessible housing in a freshman dorm with a two-bedroom unit, the second one for a personal care assistant. Beth agreed to the plan for her first year and would return to Cambridge in the summer to interview prospects for the assistant position.
Ohio Rehabilitation Services wouldn’t help with Beth’s tuition for an out-of-state college. However, Harvard unveiled a new financial aid initiative to cover all college costs for students from low-income families. John and I both worked full-time and he had additional income from summer school, all reported on our tax forms, so the fact that we qualified surprised us. Our combined salaries met their criteria for low-income families. As a result, our money worries about Beth’s college expenses ended unexpectedly.
We felt incredibly thankful and fortunate—despite being poor by Harvard’s standards.
Next: Overseas Travel Plans!
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