Taking a Vacation from My Vacation

cruiseship stamp fotolia

The past week was supposed to bring rest and rejuvenation, but, you know, best laid plans. The goal for today, therefore, is as simple as it is ambitious: shake off the past week, and return to business as usual. And so, I blog. This post won’t be especially elegant, nor will it prove especially inspiring. Honestly, this post isn’t for you. It’s for me.

Last week, I flew to South Florida to meet up with my mother and brother, with whom I was taking a four-day-long cruise to Mexico. This was our Christmas present, and—in my case—an early Spring Break. Seeing my family is always wonderful, and we were very excited for our vacation, but we also had a lot on our minds. There were many shoes in the air, so to speak, and waiting for them to drop cast something of a pall on the skies over the Liberty of the Seas.

Those shoes did indeed drop. And how.

On day three of the cruise—the day we docked in Cozumel—we came home from a wonderful day of sun, shopping, and dolphin encounters, only to find out that my paternal grandmother had died. She was ninety-seven, and had entered hospice earlier that week, so we were all prepared—indeed, anxious—for her passing. But, of course, being on a ship at the time of her death, we had almost no internet access, and no cell phone service. We couldn’t plan her memorial, we couldn’t notify relatives… we couldn’t do much of anything.

My Nana and I on my birthday, three years ago. She'd been in frighteningly good health--like, travelling cross-country alone and tap-dancing good health--until a fall at age 94. This picture was taken shortly after that fall, when my mother, my brother and I flew to Florida to surprise her at the rehab center.

My Nana and I on my birthday, three years ago. She’d been in frighteningly good health–like, travelling cross-country alone and tap-dancing good health–until a fall at age 94. This picture was taken shortly after that fall, when my mother, my brother and I flew to Florida to surprise her at the rehab center.

To be clear: I am glad my grandmother is gone. The past three years of her life have been challenging; this past year, well, it’s been simply awful. Her death is a blessing and a relief. While I’m not grieving my grandmother, it was difficult to be so utterly disconnected from the reality of her passing. So we sat there, in the casino, playing the slots and sipping on virgin piña coladas, because what the hell else were we going to do? It was a strange feeling, to put it mildly.

Our cruise ended yesterday. We disembarked in the morning and drove three hours back to our home, making calls to the nursing home, the hospice facility, etc. on the way. Things were getting back to normal. We picked up three ecstatic dogs—and one very grumpy cat—from the kennel. And then, when we got home, all hell broke loose.

Sadie was bleeding.

We used to always joke that Sadie acted more like a reindeer than a dog. In 2012, we made it official with a pair of ears. We thought it would freak her out, but she took to them immediately.

We used to always joke that Sadie acted more like a reindeer than a dog. In 2012, we made it official with a pair of ears. We thought it would freak her out, but she took to them immediately.

Sadie had cancer that, while not impacting her appetite or her sunny disposition, had badly disfigured her. She had a tumor (at least) the size of a softball on her leg, and another baseball-sized tumor on her stomach. We all considered it a miracle that she’d survived to celebrate Christmas with us again; it seemed like the only one who wasn’t holding their breath was Sadie. It’s a strange thing to see a dog who looks so sick dancing for her dinner, wiggling her stump, and running to the sliding-glass door to bark at passersby. We were always worried that we might let her go too long, that we’d miss a warning sign, that she’d be in pain and we’d inadvertently allow that pain to continue. We took her to the vet over and over again, only to hear the same thing over and over again: not yet.

When my mother and brother dropped her off last week, the tumor on her leg was oozing slightly, but all seemed well. She was still a happy dog. She was a happy dog when we picked her up. But by the time we got home with her yesterday, all was definitely not well. In the span of about thirty minutes, everything changed.

When she got out of the car, blood started spurting out of her tumor. Our garage was covered in droplets of blood. We looked at her leg, and realized the skin had finally ripped open. We tried to bandage her, but the shape of the tumor being what it was, the bandage came off within minutes. There was nothing we could do. Sadie didn’t seem terribly distressed by her condition, but we knew that it would only get worse. And so, within twenty minutes of arriving home with our menagerie, my mother and I packed Sadie into the car and returned to the vet. As my mom put it to me, it felt like we were playing a dirty trick on her, taking her back like that. Timing’s a bitch.

When we arrived at the vet’s office, we were met by a staff that seemed almost as devastated as we were. As one nurse put it to us “We knew this day was coming, but we’d all hoped she had a little while longer, because she’s such a special dog.” Dogs are tremendously empathetic, so it’s possible she was responding to the emotions flooding the room, but Sadie’s attitude gradually changed. Her usual vet-visit jitters seemed to melt away, replaced by resignation. After a lot of kisses and tears, Sadie laid herself down in-between my mother and I, and quietly, peacefully, passed away.

Sadie and her sister, Maya. We rescued them, and when we realized that adopting them out would mean splitting them up, we decided to keep them. Maya passed away a couple years ago. I can only imagine the fun they're having together right now.

Sadie and her sister, Maya. We rescued them back in 2004. When we realized that adopting them out would mean splitting them up, we decided to keep them. Maya passed away a couple years ago. I can only imagine the fun the girls are having together right now.

To summarize: I took a four day long vacation. In that time, I lost both my grandmother and my dog.

I would say that I was still numb, but I’m not numb at all. I wish I was numb. If I could get right back on that ship and sail away from this situation, I would. As every co-worker you’ve ever had has said at least once: I need a vacation from my vacation. The idea of getting back to my academic work—to steeping myself in other people’s loss—seems impossible. And yet, I desperately need to get back to my routine.

I shouldn’t feel bad about my lack of grief at my Nana’s passing, but—now that Sadie’s gone—I do feel bad about it. I’m struggling with the knowledge that I’ve cried, repeatedly, over Sadie, and not once for my grandmother. It actually makes a lot of sense that I feel that way. Sadie was happy and dancing on the day she died; if it weren’t for the giant bleeding tumor on her leg, she’d have had at least a few happy months ahead of her. My grandmother, on the other hand, was gone months before she died.

Feeling guilty about grief is as stupid as it is inevitable (in my case, anyway). The only way to make those feelings fade is to acknowledge them… to let them stretch out a little, announce themselves, and enjoy their moment.

That’s why I wrote this post. It’s for me, not for you. The guilt and sorrow I’m carrying right now is heavy, so I’m offloading it onto the Internet. Those feelings can run free all over my blog, but their time in my head has come to an end.

 

 “The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

A Tribute to My Favorite Bulldog

I didn’t grow up in a family with money. We never went hungry, and I never went without anything truly important, but—especially now that I’m a bill-paying adult myself—I know that almost every month was a major struggle. Despite our financial challenges though, my mother (who, as I’ve mentioned before, is a living saint) never compromised when it came to my education. My mom taught me to work hard and value knowledge, and the two of us worked our butts off to make sure I got the best education we could beg, borrow, and steal.

(Okay, we didn’t steal… but I could totally imagine my mom robbing a bank on my behalf. Never for herself, but for me? Hand over the ski mask.)

As a result of our combined efforts, I had the privilege (and it really was a privilege) of attending a college preparatory academy from 7th-12th grade, and spending four life-changing years at Bryn Mawr College. I walked away from two incredibly expensive institutions with almost no debt, thanks to a combination of financial aid, merit scholarships, and college tuition support provided by my mother’s (then) employer. And it’s a good thing, because—shockingly enough—doctoral degrees aren’t cheap. I have all the debt I can handle right now, thank you very much.

All of this is to say I know exactly how valuable my education was, and just how blessed I have been and continue to be. Sometimes, though, life decides to give you little reminders. Today has been one of those days.

I woke up this morning to an email informing me that my high school debate coach (we’ll call her Mrs. H) is battling leukemia. She was my English teacher in my senior year of high school, but I’ll always remember her as my coach, the woman under whose watchful eye I spent so many hours training, travelling, and competing.

The news that she is sick knocked me on my ass.

A la Susan Sontag, I really hate the use of military metaphors in discussions of the human body, a sentiment that I imagine Mrs. H would be proud of, as she’s devoted her life to helping young people develop critical thinking skills… and figure out what metaphors are. However, if anybody could be described as “battling” leukemia, I truly believe that it would be Mrs. H.

When I was in high school, I frequently referred to Mrs. H as a bulldog (behind her back, of course). She demanded commitment of energy and time that I wasn’t always prepared to give. She expected excellence, and didn’t give out participation trophies. Her debate kids went to nationals, and they placed. I…. was an alternate for nationals. Twice. She didn’t ever make me feel bad about it, but I knew that SHE knew I could have worked harder, given more time, been more successful, etc., had my heart been 100% in it.  I LIKED Mrs. H, but she was the teacher under whose critique I was most likely to whither. I’d heard from other students that she’d quit a very lucrative corporate job to become a teacher, and always assumed that her direct approach to dealing with her students was a holdover from the days when she commanded an army of employees.

It’s been almost ten years since I graduated high school, and oh how my perspective has changed.

Today, if you asked my students, I bet a great many of my students would describe ME as direct. I demand a commitment of energy and time that THEY aren’t always prepared to give. I expect excellence, and I do NOT give out participation trophies. I genuinely believe that most of my students like me, but I’m also sure some of them wither—or at least wilt a little—as a result of the ink I spill on their papers. I believe I am a good instructor, and change I see in my students after working with me seems to support that assertion. I also know that I can be a bit of a bulldog.

There are many reasons that I am the instructor I am today. Part of it is the fact that I know exactly how valuable an education is, and refuse to give my students anything less than my best effort. My sense of what one should expect of oneself academically is undeniably conditioned by the fact that I’ve never been in a learning environment that wasn’t incredibly rigorous. However, I’m also the instructor I am today because I learn by example.

For four years I watched Mrs. H turn shy kids into nationally-known orators. I watched her find and cultivate skills in students that they didn’t even know they had, through sheer force of her personality.  I watched her prove to students that YES, they had something to say, and YES, what they said mattered, and YES, that people were listening. She taught us to act like champions, and within a couple years of starting our school’s debate team, we needed another trophy case. If that’s what bulldogs do, I want to be a bulldog too.

Thank you Mrs. H. I don’t know who I’d be without you. You are loved immensely. Get well soon.

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

 

SMDS Listening List: History Podcasts

PART ONE OF THREE:

STUFF YOU MISSED IN HISTORY CLASS

I crawled out from under my rock and started listening to podcasts late in the game. When I decided to give podcasts a try a little over a year ago, Stuff You Missed in History Class was the first one I downloaded.

Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey are truly prolific. They come out with two episodes every week, each of which never fails to reflect a tremendous amount of research. The geographic and temporal range their episodes offer is both remarkable and refreshing. Graduate school is about mastering an incredibly specific topic, and every once in a while it’s nice to climb out of the bubble and learn about a place and time that I’m not required to lecture on. Biography driven episodes are where SYMIHC truly shines, and I especially enjoy listening to the podcast around Halloween, when they delve into spookier fare… historical haunted houses and the like.

I think—as is the case with most of the blogs coming out of HowStuffWorks.com—most listeners only play episodes of SYMIHC on topics they suspect they’ll enjoy. I think that’s a wrongheaded approach, and would instead encourage you to weather episodes on subjects you aren’t immediately inclined to. The podcast has surprised me more than once.

Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey. Learn more about them at missedinhistory.com!

Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey. Learn more about them at missedinhistory.com!

Some reviewers have complained about the podcaster’s voices, which—in addition to being rude—doesn’t really resonate with me. I’m from the South (as are the hosts), so I actually find their voices quite soothing, and sometimes put on old episodes when I’m having trouble sleeping. The only downside re: performance is a result of the sheer volume of information the hosts communicate within a single podcast. They have to read their notes, and with any presentation that’s read aloud, that can get dull from time to time. It’s not a big problem for me, but I’m an historian, so I have a really high threshold for the “reading aloud” voice. I’ve also listened to these two ladies talk for long enough that I kind of feel like I know them. Which isn’t creepy at all.

Check out the Stuff You Missed in History Class website by clicking on this image!

Check out the Stuff You Missed in History Class website by clicking on this image!

At the level of content, I have mixed feelings about SYMIHC. The podcast has run for many years, and its quality has varied as a result. Some of the previous hosts had me throwing my iPhone against the wall, but Holly and Tracy seem hip to the cultural turn, and don’t devote a ton of time to worshipping America’s old dead white men. All I’m saying is listen to back episodes at your own risk.

Even with competent and engaging hosts like Holly and Tracy, professional historians might be turned off by exactly same elements that make the podcast appealing to others. It is true that exceptionally few of the topics the podcast covers make it into the average history class curriculum, but I don’t think that the actual approach to history is so radically different from what you’d see in high school: the hosts communicate facts and anecdotes, but don’t do a tremendous amount in the way of analysis. The topics are rarely of a subversive nature, and only rarely does historiography enter the discussion. But that’s okay; SYMIHC isn’t a podcast targeted towards professional historians; in fact, there are more than a couple of precocious young children listening. So yes, listeners sacrifice analysis for thick description but—especially given the medium—I think that’s a feature, not a bug.

In short, I highly recommend tuning in to SYMIHC; as long as you understand exactly what it is Holly and Tracy are selling, you’ll be a happy buyer. (Not that you have to pay for the podcast. You can download it for free. You know what I mean).

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

Forced Fun is Still Fun

I’ve been scheduling fun since my freshman year of college, because I’m neurotic and thrive on work-related stress. I guess in some ways I respect deadlines more than I respect myself? I don’t know. The fact of the matter is, I have two natural speeds: two miles an hour, and 200 miles an hour. At both speeds, I’m pretty much incapable of enjoying myself. Accordingly, I put a lot of time and effort into finding balance. Those effort have taken different forms over the years, with varying results. This blog post is about a technique I’ve used over the past year that’s actually worked: forced fun.

My adoptive niece!

My adoptive niece!

This past year, a dear friend of mine had her first child. At the time, I was teaching my first course on my own (146H: Sex in U.S. History) and hadn’t found a good work rhythm. In practical terms, I doubt I was working more than the average instructor, but I was worrying about the class constantly. I was basically leading my students on a guided tour of my wheelhouse, but I found myself in a state of constant doubt. Instead of doing my own research, I kept, for example, reading books that I might, one day, assign to future students. “Applied imposter syndrome” was taking up all of my time, and the psychic stress it caused was seriously harshing the mellow that is summer in sunny Southern California.

Lucky for me, babies are magic. My friend called: did I want to meet her daughter? She’d delivered less than twelve hours previous. I walked into the hospital with a gift bag full of stuff, and—after a couple hours spent getting to know this amazing miniature person—walked out with a new perspective on things.

Instead of trying to find ways in which my syllabus was deficient, I started thinking about how I could schedule myself to see her more often. I started to believe that my best had to be good enough, because life is too short, and I never wanted my adoptive niece to forget what I looked like. I wanted to be an amazing teacher, but I also wanted to have a life defined first and foremost by love.

And I wanted to knit.

It had been years since I last picked up a set of needles. My beloved grandmother (who I wrote about extensively in a previous post) taught me how to knit in my teen years. Thing is, we were really casual about my “lessons,” and I was easily discouraged. I got to the point where I could do a basic knit stitch in my sleep, but the purl stitch (essentially the next level up) gave me fits. It was enough to make me throw my needles down in frustration. I was content with knitting 101 for the time being. Then my grandmother unexpectedly passed away.

When Granny died, I stopped knitting. Of course, that’s the opposite of what she would have wanted, but it somehow felt wrong to me to go on learning without my teacher. Every once in a while I’d knit a scarf or something—something that neither challenged me nor enhanced my skill set—but by and large my grandmother’s old knitting bag sat unused in my closet.

Thing is, babies don’t appreciate imaginary blankies.

My niece wearing the onesie I brought to the hospital on the day she was born. She grew into it devastatingly fast. Luckily, my pile of knitted squares has been growing right along with her.

My niece wearing the onesie I brought to the hospital on the day she was born. She grew into it devastatingly fast. Luckily, my pile of knitted squares has been growing right along with her.

I picked up knitting again, and discovered that (now that it was really important) I actually did know how to purl. I could do it… well enough, in fact, that I should be able to make something really lovely.

I wanted this blanket to be high quality—no experiments here—so, while it’s not terribly creative, I decided to replicate the same square over and over again. It would provide me the kind of practice I needed to get back in the game, and, realistically, the tiny baby wouldn’t know the difference.

I told myself that I would have a big baby quilt done by my adoptive niece’s first birthday. That deadline meant I was going to have to start knitting on the regular. And knit I have. I’m finishing the quilt this week, and sending it off to be put together (I’m not ready to attempt crochet yet). The next time I see the little angel, she’ll be both one AND the proud owner of a baby blanket.

Months later, the two of us blew off a Superbowl party to take a selfie in the kitchen and debate the merits of naptime.

Months later, the two of us blew off a Superbowl party to take a selfie in the kitchen and debate the merits of nap time.

Knitting is both relaxing and enjoyable for me. As a PhD student, I rarely come home at the end of the day with something concrete to show for the time and effort I’m putting in, so being able to sit down with some yarn and quietly create something is incredibly rewarding. Up until now, however, it’s also always been the first thing to go when I get busy.

Setting the first birthday deadline was not unlike scheduling fun. I made a promise to my friend and her infant daughter, and I keep my promises. I essentially forced myself to have a lot of fun this year, even when it didn’t feel like I had the time for it. The result? Not only have I finished my first truly major knitting project—a feat I’ve attempted several times since high school—I’ve gotten over the mental block that told me I could never improve without my grandmother here to teach me. I’ve made time in my life for personal enrichment, and learned how to use my neuroticism for good.

This picture happened almost a full two months ago now, which makes me sad, because the last time I saw her, she didn't have teeth! Another good reason to get back to California.

This picture happened almost a full two months ago now, which makes me sad, because the last time I saw her, she didn’t have teeth! Another good reason to get back to California.

What’s next? I’m going to teach myself a new stitch, and immediately set to work on a new blanket. I found a group that will assemble and donate what I send them. If there’s better motivation than knowing that somewhere out there a baby is cold, I don’t think I want to know about it.

So there you have it. I’m using my fear of letting people down to force myself into activities that I enjoy and wouldn’t otherwise make a priority. Because babies are magic.

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

Nude Models, Pot Brownies, and Frankenfoot: A Tribute to My Grandmother

I’m back in Florida with my family, decompressing after an incredibly productive and fun—but exceedingly stressful—week of archival work. Unlike previous trips, I am actually excited to keep researching. The one major impediment to continuing research is my present location, which is approximately 3,000 miles away from both my home and the majority of my archives. Thing is, I’m really happy here, and reluctant to leave. I’ve found that happy medium between work and family, and am loathe to give it up. That feeling is even stronger today, because today would have been my grandmother’s eighty first birthday.

The last photo I have of myself and Granny.

The last photo I have of myself and my grandmother.

My grandmother—I always called her “Granny,” which drove my mother up a wall—died seven years ago. She died in her sleep, the death she’d always wanted, at the age of 73. I was in college 800 miles away, attending Bryn Mawr. It was a matter of personal pride for her, because, despite growing up mere miles from the campus, she always told me she never would have gotten in, on account of being an Irish Catholic.

By the time she passed away she’d been living with my family for over a decade, and was equal parts my third parent and my responsibility. I drove her to her doctor’s appointments, she taught me how to knit. I brought her food when her foot got run over by a Buick (that actually happened… she broke six bones and developed a serious case of “Frankenfoot” as a result), and she laid in bed calmly agreeing with me whenever I needed to rant about something parent or high school related. I took her to the craft store, and she did my laundry. She told me I would “start an argument with a brick wall,” and I mocked her relentlessly. She was a fixture in my life, and—as is the case with most fixtures—I took her for granted. And then suddenly she was gone, and for the first time in my life I found myself besieged by grief.

I was besieged, but my grandmother had long ago been broken. Granny moved in with us shortly after the death of one of her three daughters, and was never the same. By that time she was also dealing with the early stages of dementia and other medical problems that limited her in ways I am only now able to understand. She had an incredibly difficult life, and given my age, I couldn’t really appreciate the gravity of her physical and psychological challenges.

In fairness—both to myself and to my grandmother’s memory—she was also totally cuckoo bananas. She was quite possibly the world’s worst driver: from a hit and run at the public library to the time she ran into our local Wachovia, every trip with her was a hair-raising adventure. She was a truly heinous cook who gave herself E. coli at least once. She got jelly on the newspaper every single morning. She had a cat named “Cooter.” She routinely told my brother and I to “bugger off, dear,” and taught me turns of phrase that to this day make me sound like I come from another era. I always described her to my friends as the eccentric old lady who lived in my basement, and to this day I stand by that description. What I didn’t fully appreciate then, and wish I could tell her now, is that she was so much more than that.

My grandmother being nutty as she was wont to do.

My grandmother being nutty, as she was wont to do.

My grandmother was basically the coolest person ever. This is a blog post, and Granny deserves a book, so to those of you who knew her, please excuse my brevity. For the rest of you, strap in. I’m about to list all the reasons that my granny was cooler than your granny:

  • Both of my grandmother’s parents were artists, and she used to talk to me about coming home from school—in the 1930’s and 1940’s—to nude models posing in the living room. Growing up with a bunch of artists, she never tried to compete in that arena, but as she got older she started to indulge her creative side. By the time she lived with me, she was remarkably crafty. Knitting, needlepoint, drawing, painting… you name it, she probably did it, and made sure to expose me to it. She made beautiful things, and by the end of her life was especially into quilting; I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention that she occasionally sewed pieces of fabric to her pants legs. Nobody’s perfect.
  • Granny dedicated herself to her studies and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English. She remains one of the most well-read people I’ve ever met, the type who’d re-read War and Peace over the course of two or three days, just because. She studied Elizabethan England and the Civil War in her free time, and introduced me to many of the best books I’ve ever read.
  • While in college, my Granny—an Irish Catholic girl from a suburb of Philadelphia—fell in love with an Indian man. My great grandparents told her they would never approve of a mixed marriage, but that they wouldn’t actively prevent the wedding from happening if she went to India and lived with his family for several months… their logic being that she’d never be able to stand living in such a dirty and barbarous country. Long story short, my grandfather had to drag her back to the United States, as she would have gladly spent the rest of her life in India if given the choice. She married my (brown) grandfather in Pennsylvania in the 1950’s, and she did it in a sari. Because she was a total badass.
    My grandmother and grandfather posing for a highly improbable wedding photo.

    My grandmother and grandfather posing for a highly improbable wedding photo.

    My granny, getting married her way.

    My granny, getting married her way.

  • Approximately a decade later, Granny ran off to Mexico to divorce my grandfather. She returned to the US a newly single woman determined to raise her three small (and half brown) children on her own. Imagine for a moment the kind of courage it would have taken to become a single mother of three biracial children in the early 1960’s. Granny had some serious ovaries.

    My grandmother and grandfather with the first of their three daughters.

    My grandmother and grandfather with the first of their three daughters.

  • During the “Mad Men” era, my grandmother started working in corporate/commercial real estate. She bought properties that companies used as tax shelters, which… doesn’t happen anymore. She was very good at her job, but as is so often the case, found herself making a lot of money for other people. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of a very complex industry, and managed to stay alive through decades of swimming with the sharks. Just as she rose to the top of the totem pole, tax shelters were eliminated and the industry in which she made her name disappeared.
  • In the days when she did have cash, my grandmother made good use of it. She and her best friend—also a successful, single business woman—took trips to faraway places like China, unaccompanied by men. Because why not? She was utterly unafraid of the unknown, because she’d kicked the unknown’s ass so many times already.
  • When my aunt became ill with a very rare disease, my grandmother became her caretaker. My aunt—who will have a blog post of her own someday soon, as she was a pretty cool lady too—had a fierce advocate in my grandmother. When my aunt was in chemotherapy so bad that it was almost worse than the disease she was battling, my grandmother did what it took to get her hands on some marijuana. She’d bake up pot brownies, and bring them to the hospital. Because she was amazing.
Granny with one of my cousins. Which one, I haven't the foggiest.

Granny with one of my cousins. Which one, I haven’t the foggiest.

So yeah, basically, Granny was the world’s coolest grandmother. She only spent seventy three years in this life, but what a life she had. Hell, she even died the way she wanted to… if that isn’t a mic drop I don’t know what is. The last conversation we had was about a summer internship I’d received; she told me she was proud of me. I’m proud of her too, and I really hope she knows it. Happy Birthday Granny.

 

“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.