August 7, 1970
By the end of the week, my summer school commitments had come to an end. No more student teaching or seminars, and I was one step closer to official certification. Despite my initial bad attitude, I’d learned a great deal and was eager to try it all out on my kindergarteners when the school year kicked off after Labor Day.
Being hard-up for money helped make the decision. We still had hope that if he kept the paper route, many of his customers would eventually pay-up, allowing us to become solvent again. By now he was owed $500, a sizeable fortune.
And so he dropped one of his classes, a disappointment to him and also to me, since it meant his fall semester would be heavier. But dropping a class wouldn’t harm his record, and rather than doing poorly in both, it would be better to do well in one.
Since my schedule was being freed up, I took over his billing nightmare for the route, figuring out what each customer owed, writing out the envelopes, and putting them in order according to Nate’s 60-mile route. Because organizational chores were rock-bottom on my skill-set list, it took till 3:00 AM to get the job done the first time.
Nate kept pestering people to pay their bills and was gratified when any of them came forth with any amount at all. But by the end of the week we were still in debt for newspapers and rubber bands – a total wash for 5 weeks of labor.
At the end of the week we got word that Bervin, Mary, and my brother Tom were all coming to Champaign for my birthday (August 8). We loved having company and knew their visit would be a joy. Bervin had just secured his pilot’s license, so they planned to rent a plane and fly down – a thrilling development! We would be at the small Champaign airport to pick them up.
Nate’s family called too, saying they’d love to come for Nate’s birthday the following week (August 18) – his parents and brother Ken. So, with all these reasons to celebrate, we drove to nearby Lake of the Woods where the two of us picnicked, sunned, and swam, letting all the woes of the week wash away.
“Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)