I hold a Master's Degree in Library Science from Vanderbilt University, earned in 1985. What a great time in my life that was and I'm very proud of my alma mater, one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the United States, located in colorful Nashville, Tennessee. One of my lifelong friendships was forged there and I treasure her, Pamela Jean Estes, of Arkansas and France and Boston. Life is better when our paths cross with wonderful, inspirational, life-affirming people and Pam and her exceptional parents, Bonnie and Jack Estes, are those people to me. Prior to their retirement, Jack was a French professor and Bonnie a social studies teacher. They treated me like family, and generously taught me many life lessons. Pam holds masters degrees in music, library science, and theology and has devoted her life to teaching and her ministry in Arkansas. Reading books, exploring the world, and having fun are also top contenders for our mutual interests. When my elderly paternal grandmother, Lena Belle Ellis, was hospitalized in far away Memphis, Tn, Pam would always visit her when she would be visiting her parishioners, and when I flew to Tennessee for Mama Crook's funeral, Pam met me there, helping me to bury my beloved elder.
I wasn't able to travel to Nashville for my graduation ceremony but one of my kind professors, Dr. Michael Rothacker, nabbed one of the program booklets for me and mailed it to me in North Dakota with a lovely handwritten note and I still have this in my keepsakes, along with memories of sitting on the lawn in front of the Peabody buildings sipping sherry with him and watching the renegade squirrels. We worked hard (I was a graduate assistant librarian at the Education Library), studied hard and played hard and always found time to read the Nashville Tennessean every single day before class or a shift at the reference desk. Thank you Vanderbilt University!