when words fail me, which is often, I paint. When words work for me and are available on time, I am surprised.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fates Come Marching In

By the time my oldest son was a senior in high school, he had the credit equivalent of two university semesters. Wiley was a governors school student, he was in the top twenty of his class and if you are unfamiliar with this bureaucratic game, no worry, but the system worked for my sons. Wiley flourished in his senior year, he was happy and had a large circle of intelligent and funny friends. Most of his peers were accepted into their prospective University of choice. Wiley had his heart set on Virginia Tech. He would be a senior this year. We took a little road trip; four hours to Blacksburg to tour the campus and check out Norris Hall, that's the Engineering lab.

We went out to dinner, we had easy conversations and were both feeling very optimistic about the school move. I remember thinking that it had been sixteen years since we were alone; mother and son for twenty- four hours, since his brother was born. This college tour was one of those "forever" memories.

Green Engineering, that's what he's into. We saw hydrogen fuel car prototypes and found an administrator to give us a private tour of the automotive engineering lab.It was totally cool.

Wiley worked late nights as a busboy in town his entire senior year.
He was saving his money for school and worked as many shifts as he could get. He came home around midnight and left for school at six in the morning. His grades slipped, somehow he managed to maintain a C in Chemistry. Chemistry was his nemesis.

He's a hard worker; he was voted employee of the month twice.

"How am I going to be an Engineer if I can't pass Chemistry?"
I remember him starting to panic.
I think he had a feeling he was going to get the letter he didn't really want.

It came.

Thank you for your interest. . just that we've had SO MANY way more talented individuals than you, more creative and smarter than you, apply to our great school and well, hope that busboy thing works out for you kid, rejection letter. Of course it didn't really say that, but it may as well had.

I hid the letter from him for three days before he noticed his friends were getting their notices and he hadn't. I cried when I handed it to him, but I hid my face so he wouldn't see. He kept his chin up, smiled a weak smile and said, "it was probably too expensive anyway. I can go to community college for the first two years, don't worry. It's probably for the best."

This punk Cho, has been committed against his will to a mental institution. He stalked two women. His writing professor contacted authorities in personnel and the police department about his depraved writings. Of course this professor was a woman,the police probably assumed she was just being hysterical, like all major University female professors tend to be.I can only imagine his application essay; "I want to kill as many well adjusted, intelligent and optimistic people as I can. It would be an honor for me to attend your University , me and my semi automatic pistol friends, my only friends. I want to share a bath with your students, a blood bath. . .murder innocent kids in the prime of their lives, I am sick, a socio-path, but I come from the ethnic group of which you must fill your quota. . "

And the University admissions department, I can imagine them choosing this pathetic little murderer over my son, tough call as it may have been, to grace their institution halls.
When I heard the first reports of this whacked out Nazi going on his rampage, I cried. That's what I do. This thing struck close, those kids at that school are my kid. Their parents are as proud of and in awe of their college student children as I am of my sons. Those kids want to make this world a better place, they want to be teachers, scientists, veterinarians, contributors to society etc., they are not army combatants.

Wiley didn't get accepted to Virginia Tech four years ago; thank you fate. For once this decision makes sense to me. My son could have been there, in that engineering hall. He would be graduating this year. My heart would be welling over with pride and he would be bursting with anticipation for his next move in his prospective field.

And I could have been a mother burying her son and her soul today.

Thank you Virginia Tech admissions department, for not accepting my son, even though we now know, your standards leave something to be desired. Thank -you.


Matt said...

to a man, every student I saw interviewed on television was intelligent, affable and well-spoken. I guess you'd expect that.

Jerri said...

Is it just me, or can you hear Garth Brooks singing "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers" somewhere in the background?

I remain sad for those who were in that building and for their families and friends, but am now tremendously grateful that Wiley was not among them.


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Strange how sometimes we learn not only to accept decisions we don't agree with, but to appreciate them.

For your family's sake, I'm glad he wasn't accepted, too.

Stacy said...

Matt- that's not the point. I love all those kids. A murderer- sociopath was deemed to be a more desirable addition to the University than my son. I am thankful now for that, in a weird, twisted, personal way.

Thank you for understanding this sentiment, jerri and third worst.

Winter said...

Oh wow.