What a surprise in the teenager's eyes,
When the lady of
eighty sat down,
A smile on her face, yet fear in her heart.
gingerly looked all around.
A typical classroom with desks and chairs,
And text books
and charts and maps,
Though she was resigned, she felt out of line,
too late now to turn back.
She picked up her pad and her pencil,
And took voluminous
At first her hand trembled so much,
She could barely read what she
The print in the text books, too small,
too far away.
The teachers lectured too softly,
She couldn't hear what
they had to say.
But she spoke up in class discussions,
The essays she wrote
were quite grand,
But to write or recite from memory,
The poor lady was
all but damned.
She attacked her classes with fervor,
She selected subjects
Then somehow she grew exponentially,
This lady who dared to
She took English, Science, and History,
But she couldn't take Sex Education,
permission was nil.
But undaunted and full of spirit,
The lady with guts
toughed it out,
And, by hook or by crook, she made it,
Her senility never
Struggling, fighting all the way,
Head on, she faced every
And when at last her war was won,
She knew more than she had
The body may age, but not the heart,
And attitude's an
She grew younger by each class she took,
'Til she became
like sweet sixteen.
Her head held high; her shoulders back,
Her husband and
Her grandkids and the great-grands, too,
Oh such pride
in Grandma Anear!
Here's to the Class of 2003,
We ask blessings for Helen
She worked so hard to get that degree,
So maybe now she can get
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
This poem is dedicated to my friend and neighbor, Helen Anear,
who at the age of 80 received her high school diploma June 2003.
I am so very proud of you, Helen!