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Old November 29th, 2019 #22
Jerry Abbott
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Jerry Abbott
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Divine Heritage, Chapter 2, section 8.

If Registration Day served an educational purpose, it was to teach us how to negotiate a bureaucratic maze. If you've never been through the process before, registration is an exercise in figuring out what had to be done first, what next, what after that, etcetera, while simultaneously finding out where all of the appropriate offices were. You went in to see your adviser first. In my case, that was Mr. Klang, who had arrived in the administrative building before Mrs. Klang came in with almost 200 girls, including myself, gathered around her. Since I was among the youngest students who were allowed to live on campus, nearly everyone else was taller than me.

We were told which room to go to, in order to sign up for sixth grade classes. We had to take three courses within the core curriculum, and we were allowed up to three electives, which could be more sixth grade core, or they could be seventh grade courses that ambitious girls could take for credit and get ahead on next year's workload. In my case, the electives would be college courses. I would be taking an honors course in combined differential and integral calculus, with analytic geometry. I probably wouldn't have any trouble with that. I wanted to take college physics, too.

But there was no evading those sixth grade core curriculum courses, so, before I left this building for the administration building on the college campus, I had to pick up my sixth grade course load. I ended up with History of the American Revolutionary War, English Composition 1, and (don't laugh) Algebra 1. Then I went from the registration room to the comptroller's office and showed a clerk which classes I was taking.

"Your name?"

"Brenda Jones."

The clerk looked at me quickly.

"Oh. You're her. Welcome to Brookstone, Miss Jones."

"Thank you." I didn't correct his grammar. My fame was starting to get tiresome, but I suppose that we all have our burdens to bear.

"Student ID number?"

"Five thirty-two eighty-eight."

Mr. Klang had written our student ID numbers on our student handbooks, underneath our names. He had not mentioned what this number was for, but I'd guessed. Ruby had confirmed my guess the previous night. I remembered the number because thirty-two is the fifth power of two, and if you can't remember what eighty-eight means, then shame on you.

"Thank you, Miss Jones. Brookstone School has just charged your account at Brookstone Bank by the sum of one thousand four hundred eighty dollars. That covers your tuition, your dorm fees, and your meal card, which you'll use at the cafeteria. It's use it or lose it, I'm afraid. You don't get a refund if you don't like the food there and decide to eat somewhere else, instead. But this payment does not cover the cost of your books, which are sold at additional expense to you. You'll buy your books at the bookstore. Be sure that you're choosing the right ones for your classes, as the bookstore usually has several titles on the same subject, and if you guess you might pick up the wrong book."

Now that was the most helpful bit of information I'd had yet. A school official had actually warned me, albeit obliquely, about part of the bookstore's quasi-scam. It wasn't illegal, of course, for the bookstore to sell supplemental books. But a student could easily overspend, thinking that she was buying necessary books, when in fact they weren't required.

"Thanks for your help, sir. I appreciate that advice."

"No problem, Miss Jones."

I made my way back to the sixth grade registration room to speak with one of the Deans Klang. I found the Mister.

"Mr. Klang?"

"Ah. Yes, Miss Jones. You're back from the comptroller's office, and I expect that you will be wanting to travel to the college campus at the first opportunity, so that you may complete your registration there, as well."

"Yes sir!" I was pleased that he was keeping track.

"There's someone here who has offered to take you there," said Mr. Klang. "I believe that you have met Ms. Emory?"

I hadn't recognized her until she turned around.

"Hello again, Brenda."

"Good to see you, Ms. Emory."

Mr. Klang nodded in satisfaction and went off to handle other problems. Ms. Emory and I left the administration building, walked to the parking lot, and got into her car. She had a reserved parking spot, I noticed. Executive privilege.

As Ms. Emory turned left at the exit of the grade school campus and began the drive toward the college campus, we chatted about the school's team sports. She wanted to know whether I played any.

"No, ma'am," I replied. "I do some track stuff, though."

"Yes, so I've heard. You surprised everyone in your old school in Atlanta by showing your previously unsuspected speed. Six minutes and six seconds is a very good time for a girl of eleven years to run the mile."

Inwardly, I laughed. But I was careful not to let my amusement show. She didn't know the half of it, and I wasn't going to tell her.

"I'd regarded the mile we had to run each morning as being only exercise," I said. "I didn't think of it as a race until two other girls decided to brag about how fast they were and that nobody else could catch them. So I decided to prove them wrong."

"Well, you certainly did that. As you get older, you'll become even faster, if you keep yourself in practice. Do you think you could compete in track-and-field events, say, as a member of Brookstone's team? We do compete with some of Georgia's other schools in mini-Olympics, which are held in the third quarter of each school year."

"I think I would like that," I said.

In fact, I would enjoy running competitively. Naturally, though, I'd keep quiet about my special advantages.

"Then I'll see that you are enrolled on the track team," said Ms. Emory. "Now, ordinarily this counts as one of your electives. It's a three credit-hour course, and you already have fifteen credit hours of sixth-grade core. You probably were hoping to take three college courses, bringing your total load to thirty credit hours. And then track-and-field would make that thirty-three hours. Ordinarily, twenty-five credit hours is considered a very heavy load. But, then, you aren't ordinary, are you?"

"Ms. Emory, I already know most of what they're going to teach me for my sixth-grade courses, except maybe regarding the history of the American Revolution. Algebra 1? Feh. English composition? Like as not, I'll end up teaching the teacher."

Ms. Emory barked a delighted laugh at my boast.

"I would certainly like to see that," she said.

"So history will be my only real task there. The other classes will be, I think, a matter of me showing up in class and passing the tests."

"That in itself can be difficult," warned Ms. Emory. "You can't be in two places at the same time."

Which was true. As fast as was, I could still be overtaxed by conflicting requirements about where I was supposed to be at any given moment. I nodded to show that I appreciated the fact. I'd have to be careful how I put my schedule together.

"I already know how to differentiate and integrate, and I know conic sections from my studies of celestial mechanics. I don't expect any problem with calculus."

"I think you're referring to 'Honors Calculus' that combines into one course what is usually spread out over three. Be aware that Dr. Roper, who teaches that course, has a reputation for giving diabolically difficult homework assignments. He's one of our more challenging instructors. There are others whom you will encounter, especially if you enroll as a physics major."

So she had remembered my interest in physics from our conversation on the bus.

I could see how travel between the two Brookstone campuses could become a major pain. So, regretfully, I decided that I'd better relinquish a third college course in order to compete in sports. Well, there would be time enough for college courses during the years ahead. I was getting a good enough head start on a bachelor's degree, or several of them, as it was.

We arrived at the college campus, where, I saw, another parking spot was reserved for "Vanessa Emory" right in front of the administration building. We went into the building and found the registration rooms. Ms. Emory took me into several of them and introduced me to some professors who were heads of their departments. I received their guarded approval for whatever courses I might wish to take either this quarter or in the future. Judging by their reserve, it seemed that having Ms. Emory standing nearby, evidently as my patron, was the deciding factor in getting this acceptance.

Then I registered for Honors Calculus and Physics 101, paid my fees, and then Ms. Emory took me to the college campus bookstore to buy my books. I'd been told which book was to be used in each class, by title and author, when I was registering for them. Having researched the prices of those books ahead of time, I was embarrassed, but not shocked speechless, by the fact that I had nowhere near enough money to buy either book, let alone both of them.

"Have you considered a student loan?" asked Ms. Emory.

There was no way I was going to beg the likes of the Weismans for any stinking usurious loan.

"Yes," I said. "But I have an even better idea."

"Buying a used book?"

"Right. Through the internet. I'll just copy the ISBN from the title pages, and later I'll search for the books on eBay and Amazon."