Join Date: Nov 2007
Divine Heritage, Chapter 2, section 9.
After returning with Ms. Emory from the college campus, I bought my sixth grade textbooks at the bookstore on the grade school campus. The total (with sales tax) came to just short of $700, which, I'm sure you'll agree, is plenty to pay for three lousy textbooks. It left me with hardly any money at all left in my account at Brookstone Bank. No doubt my father could wire more money into it, but it wouldn't do to ask. Explicitly, that is. I might not be as slick as Sarah Weisman, but I knew that the art of getting money out of one's father consists mostly of making him think that giving it to me had been his idea.
I was back in my dorm. It had been a wearing day, even with Ms. Emory's help. I was on eBay looking for my two college textbooks, but nobody was selling those particular titles just now. Ruby was watching over my shoulder as I turned the browser to Amazon. I typed the ISBN for my calculus book into the search window and watched the list of offers come up.
"Eight hundred dollars?" asked Ruby.
"It was almost twelve hundred in the college bookstore," I said, making sure that I was looking at the latest edition of the textbook. Another part of the college textbook scam involved the publishers constantly making trivial changes to the books and republishing them as a new edition, after which all of the professors would regard the previous edition as obsolete.
But I didn't even have eight hundred dollars, so I looked for used books. There was, I discovered, a paperback version of the book. While used hardcover copies were selling for around $500, the used paperback copies began ató
"Forty-nine cents." I laughed.
"Get that one!" Ruby urged.
"No," I said. "See the quality description. It's rated as 'acceptable,' which really means 'not acceptable.' Likewise 'good' means 'okay in a pinch,' and 'very good' really means 'acceptable.' I'm looking a little further down the list."
The store selling the first book was My Grandma's Goodies. Another book, selling for fifty cents, was rated at 'good,' and it was being offered by Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. Then came a listing by Belltower Books, at 'very good' condition, for ninty-nine cents. The next offer was from Alibris, a name I recognized, for a book in 'good' condition.
"I think I'll get the book offered by Belltower Books," I said. "They offer expedited shipping, too, which I'll take because I need to have the book as soon as possible."
"Still a bargain, considering the price tag on a new book at the bookstore."
I agreed. But there was another problem.
"What is my shipping address here?"
"Oh. If you don't have a mail box at the Student Union yet, then you get your mail in care of Norman Klang, Mathews Hall, Brookstone School GSC, Columbus, Georgia, three one nine oh four."
I typed that into Amazon as my shipping address, right below my name. I'd had the account with Amazon already, so it already had my credit card number. I found a similarly sweet deal on a copy of my physics textbook. Then I clicked on the check-out button and paid for my books, selecting the expedited shipping option, which cost me more than the books themselves had.
"Und now ve vait," said Ruby with a mock German accent.
I began writing an email to my parental units.
Dear Dad and Mom,
I'm writing now to give you my email address and to tell you my status. I've moved into Mathews Hall on Brookstone's grade school campus. I'm sharing room #107 with a very nice girl named Ruby Pierce. She's a year older than I am, is in seventh grade, and attended Brookstone last year. She's showing me the lay of the land, so to speak. You can send me packages in care of Norman Klang, Mathews Hall, Brookstone School GSC, Columbus GA 31904.
You targeted my funding very accurately, Dad. I paid my tuition, my housing fee, my cafeteria ticket, and I have bought all of my books. I should say, though, that the college textbooks cost rather more than they did when you were going to school, and I had to order used copies from various vendors through Amazon online. But they will arrive within a few days. It shouldn't be a problem. I bought the three required textbooks for the sixth grade courses at the GSC bookstore for $700. This quarter, those courses will be History of the American Revolution, Algebra 1, and English Composition 1.
I would have gotten out of taking the classes that I could already teach if it were permitted. But they don't let you CLEP the core curriculum here. However, they do permit me to take college courses in addition to the sixth grade ones, and I've been accepted by the college faculty for Physics 101 and for an 'honors' course in calculus that combines differential and integral calculus, and analytic geometry, into a single five-credit hour course.
I've also enrolled in some sort of track-and-field endeavor, though I'm not certain yet of the details. One of Brookstone's executives appears to have taken a personal interest in me, and she has acted on several occasions as my patron, opening doors for me that might otherwise have remained shut. I owe Ms. Vanessa Emory a great deal. I only wish that I knew why she's been such an avid champion for me.
Though expenses have left me broke, I'm in no immediate need of money.
I sent the email.
"Will that work?" asked Ruby, who had read what I wrote.
"It will work once," I said, grinning.
Classes would begin tomorrow. I had all of my sixth grade lessons in the morning, all in the same building here at GSC. Algebra (8:05-9:00), English (9:05-10:00), History (10:05-11:00) with five minutes slack between classes. I'd eat in the cafeteria from 11:30 to noon. Then I'd run from GSC to the college from 12:30 to 12:45. Two miles in fifteen minutes shouldn't be a problem for me. My calculus class began at one in the afternoon, followed by physics (2:15-3:15). At 3:30, I'd run back to GSC and join the track team out by the football field, where practice began at 4 o'clock. With all that running, my wind should be pretty darn good by the end of the quarter.
"That's a very heavy schedule," said Ruby. "You're going to run two miles, twice a day, carrying your books, and begin training for the track team the moment you finish that second two-mile run?"
Put that way, the schedule did look a bit difficult. I'd forgotten about having to carry my books.
"I'd better get a backpack," I said, and called up Amazon again.
"You'd better grow wings," said Ruby.