Kansas University (KU) at Lawrence, Kansas 1959-1960

b2ap3_thumbnail_KansasHouse.jpgBefore we were married, Keith and I shared with each other our personal dreams for our lives.  Keith wanted to study brain and central nervous system function and I wanted to pursue music (especially piano music) and be able to share it with others to enrich their lives.  The time had arrived! Now, we could begin this newest journey. So, we returned to Kansas and we found a wonderful place to live for that year.  Keith would be studying at Kansas University in preparation to begin the Master's and Ph D degree programs at University of Illinois the following year and I would help him do this.  The GI Bill made it possible for us to achieve this goal, but it would mean that we would have to live very frugally.  A retired professor at KU, Miss Josephine Burnham, offered graduate students the opportunity to live at her house in Lawrnece, Kansas without cost in exchange for taking care of her and caring for her house during the time they lived with her.  The house was within walking distance of the University--a beautiful 3-story home with a yard complete with flowers and gooseberry bushes.  We put most of our belongings in storage and with just a small baby, a  large dog and the essential clothes and belongings, we moved to our new home on Mississppi Avenue in Lawrence, Kansas.  Our income consisted only of a small monthly government check (GI Bill) and a small income from a few piano students and occasional yard work jobs for Keith when he could find those opportunities.  But our expenses were small:  cost of food, personal supplies/medicine and a 5-cent Dairy Queen ice cream cone every Friday evening for a 'night out' treat.  

We soon developed a pattern that worked for us:  Keith studied and found yard work on weekends.  I cooked and cleaned and took care of Miss Burnham, Scott and the dog and I taught a few piano lessons.   We learned how to live economically by planning menus carefully and shopping for bargains.  We rationed our grocery money to $10 a week and we never exceeded that amount for groceries which was enough to feed 4 of us, a dog and even included a 5th person  during the summer when Keith's brother, Dale, stayed with us to attend summer classes at KU.  We attended a small EUB church in Lawrence and I played the piano for the choir.  Our families lived close enough now that we could go to see them and they could visit us from time to time....it was wonderful.  Our Christmas in Lawrence stands out in my memory as we struggled to find a way to celebrate this most special of seasons at very little cost.  I remember that our gift to each other that year was a package of gum that we could share, and we bought a "popcorn" popper push toy for Scott's gift.  But, we were living out the first step of our dream.  It was the beginning chapter of our life  journey.

Graduate Studies at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois 196...
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Elva Michal (website) on Monday, 22 February 2016 15:50

I am making progress. I hope to write Chapter 4 today.

I am making progress. I hope to write Chapter 4 today.