As I sort of said before, Mom didn’t only believe in education, she believed in … people, especially her children. “I can’t,” I won’t,” “No” – these were words that simply didn’t exist in her vocabulary. I’d seen movies and read about doctors Tom Dooley and Albert Schweitzer and decided I too wanted to minister to the poor of the world. So I took an exam to obtain a N.H. State scholarship to become a nurse – and low and behold, I got one. When I announced this to my mom one day (as she stood perched atop a ladder in her antique shop) she turned around, and with a downward gaze from her elevated perch, simply said, “Why not become a doctor?”
Simply stated, the first step to applying to medical school is to take an extremely tough exam, the dreaded “MCAT.” I had neither studied nor paid for the test – and the date for application to it had come – and gone. My mother, as ever undaunted, obtained the telephone number of the main MCAT office and called. In credibly reaching the office during the secretary to the president’s lunch hour, she talked directly with — the president of the organization – gaining my entrance into the test, contingent upon their receipt of the rather steep fee. Every one of her friends in our apartment building chipped in. And so I took the MCAT. Thus began an odyssey which took me from Chicago (medical school), to Boston, Maryland (further training), St Louis and finally to Tucson.
Mom was never far behind – actually, it is more candid to say – she always led the way!