Monday, April 23, 2007

How to go from a migrant farm worker to Yale Law grad

Someone asked me, about my last post, how did my hubby wind up going to school so late in life that he was towing a wife and kids to internships and clerkships.

When I first met my husband he was 25 years old and parking cars for a living at a Vegas casino.

He had grown up in a family of migrant farm workers and worked fields himself with his grandfather. My mother-in law was a teen the first time she had running water and a real floor instead of dirt.

After my hubby graduated from high school he joined the army. Although, he spent many many hours reading and learning just for the joy of it (not for the grades-all the moving made him a poor student) college was not in his world at the time, it was something only for rich, spoiled kids who were afraid of work.

He became a para-trooper in the army, but that came to an end, when during a night jump into the forest, the branch of the tree he landed on (yes, on purpose-the drill was to land in trees, at night and rappel down) broke and he fell seven stories.

After the army he parked cars for a living and when I met him was getting very restless and really wanting to go to school.

We went down to the VA's office, where they told him that air conditioning repair school was the best choice for him.

He was adamant, he really wanted to go to a University. So after a battery of tests, they agreed he was "college material". But, of course, they would only send him to the community college, despite blazing through their tests.

After two years at the community college, while working full time, they allowed him to transfer to UNLV.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude, while serving as president of the poly-sci honor society, starting a poly-sci student journal; now in it's 9th year, organizing third party debates on campus and teaching rape prevention; Gracie jiu-jitsu style (we were students of Gracie jii-jitsu in '94). Also while working as a sculptor, doing commercial art for hotels. (At this time he was in his thirties and we had one baby-we lived in an apartment in the back of my mom's)

From there my hubby had law school stars in his eyes. -This also reminds me that he did all this after barely surviving a shooting accident in '91 that took his left eye.

He asked me if I was on board for another adventure; he's been watching this Rep. Ron Paul guy and really wanted to work for him for a year before law school. SO off to D.C. where baby two was born and back to Vegas.

No sooner did we return than my sister-in law had a bad headache that turned into a raging fever and just got worse. My hubby knew right away what it was as -Oh I forgot to mention he almost died from spinal meningitis while in the army (they told his mom not to get on a plane as he would be dead before she arrived-she went anyway).

She had meningitis.

From this she became severely brain injured. Hubby became her legal guardian and also co-guardian of her daughter. This whole thing caused quite a delay on our yellow brick road (shameless lynch ripoff). Happily, she is now %85-%90 recovered.

Hubby then applied to law school.

He applied to about a thousand.

He was accepted at every one.

He chose Yale.

It was not easy. We lived in place where the ceiling was collapsing on us and the flooring falling in. 600 Square feet and that is where baby three was born and the heat went out. So the midwife warmed rice in a pillow case to keep the baby warm.

At one point during a summer internship-in Miami, we were staying in a motel; big bed on one side, futon for three kids on the other, and a kitchenette in the corner. Hubby had to work on a paper that was due before the start of the next school year. He was sitting at the round, 70's style kitchen table, piled high-every inch with papers and books (oohh, the sticky tabs and post its) the kids were running circles around the table-and there was hubby; ear plugs in; typing away, only looking up to smile every now and then at the kids.

Graduation was in 2004 and as I said in the earlier post, it has been non-stop ever sense. I am looking forward to settling. Until it's my turn- but I'm going to Harvard.
-Tasha Adams Rhodes E. Stewart Rhodes III


Anonymous said...

This is even more amazing than the other post. Please tell me you will turn this story into a book.

ThatGirlTasha said...

Hey thanks for that-I'm always telling hubby how inspiring his story is and that he should do that. I think he'll have to be retired before he has the time.