When I first went to college the last thing I cared about was learning to cook. Neither of my parents had a degree, and by the time I was in middle school it was clear to me that higher education was my only ticket to salvation.
I remember running errands with my mom one afternoon and seeing her bump into an old classmate she knew from high school. “Oh, hi! Wow, I haven’t seen you in 20 years.”
They exchanged pleasantries and parted ways. It was obvious the two of them had no real desire to keep up with each other and that they were just being polite for etiquette’s sake. We were all glad when it was over.
The school they both attended was only a few blocks down the street and I knew it would be my fate to go there as well. Class of ’97. Go Vanguards.
It didn’t take much for my brain to leap forward 24 years and imagine myself in her position, shopping at the same Albertson’s with my own children in tow, casually running into one of the mean kids who called me names and harassed me all year long when I was 14.
At the time I couldn’t imagine anything worse.
My fear of ending up in the same unhappy environment I grew up in became the driving …