Education Inspirational Story

by Marge Ellington



Sometimes in the beginning, a dream may be just a small stirring, a faint idea. The thought will come to mind again and again, always seemingly impossible. Something inside though will grow stronger, a force that will not let go. As you think about the idea, you will begin to see a way to make it happen. It will become a possibility and a desire will build inside until you see it come to pass. The idea will not go away. You will be reminded by something persistently leading you in that direction.

The Tragedy of Being Left Behind

As a child, the classroom was a magical place. I could hardly wait each day to be in my seat and hear what my teachers had to say. I loved learning. My education in the classroom, however, was cut short. Circumstances beyond my control got in the way and I found myself married at fourteen years of age.

On September 1st, the yellow school bus passed me by. I remember standing in the yard watching it go out of sight. It was an overwhelming disappointment. I recognized that perhaps I’d never step my foot in a classroom again. I had finished the eighth grade. As far as I could see in my future, a formal education was over and done with.

Feeling Left Out

I saw teenagers going on and graduating from high school and I knew something was terribly missing in my life.

Life has a way of pushing you on to the next level. I had begun a course I had to finish. The dream never left me to get a high school diploma and I knew my life was on a course I had to finish. I learned to daydream, by that I refer to imagining in your mind the dream becoming a reality. You can see it happening as you are going through the process.

I lived through the birth of two wonderful children and the end of a long, first marriage. Several years later I later found myself married again to a wonderful man, Buddy, and gave birth to a sweet baby girl. Shortly after, I was working in a dress factory making minimum wage when tragedy struck. I learned that my husband had a disease they thought was muscular dystrophy.

Although he was limited in his ability to work, he could drive a tractor. He farmed watermelons and raised cattle. With me working, he made a crop in the summer and we lived fairly well. It was during the month of June and my husband provided the daily care for our baby girl. He had 43 acres of land leased for watermelons and should have been plowing that day. I came home and saw he had not plowed that day. I asked our little four-year-old daughter, What is daddy doing? She said, He’s sleeping.

Tragedy Strikes

The next day, I made an appointment to see a cardiologist and we went at the scheduled time. After the test, Dr. Brown, I will never forget his name, asked me to come into his office. Without compassion nor any display of emotion, he said, Mrs. Boyd, your husband has six months to live, perhaps a year. My husband and I never spoke of it; there were no tears. Instead, an overwhelming determination came over me. As we left the office, I said to Buddy, I’ll make the watermelon crop.

The next day my husband took me to ten acres of sandy loam soil. We got on the tractor and he taught me how to turn the tractor around and I began to lay-off rows to plant watermelon seed. He and my little daughter would sit at the end of the rows and I would plow all day. These were the most wonderful days of my life as I spent them with my husband and our young daughter. Eventually we marketed over a million pounds of watermelons.

I heard about the GED (General Education Diploma) and so I took the test. With God as my witness, I scored above average on it. I could now go to a community college. In spite of the reality of our sad future bearing down upon me, I had no time to feel sorry for myself. I had a job to do. The dream (once seemingly impossible) was becoming a reality. I asked, Can I go to college? They said, Yes! They would support and encourage me all the way. I had dreamed for twenty four years of this becoming a reality; never did I imagine I would bypass high school and move into higher education.

Dare To Dream

Dare to dream the impossible dream. I am living proof it can and will happen. Don’t limit yourself and settle for too little. Many people say to themselves, It’s too hard! That’s a cop-out. If it wasn’t hard, it would not be worth it.

Now the fight- how did I do it? My family (especially my mother) began to discourage me with "You can’t leave a sick husband and little girl and be gone 3 days a week…besides, you never set a day in a high school classroom!"

God will make a way; ah yes He does and He did, but I had to put feet to my prayer and believe that I would find a way to do it.

I told my husband, All I need is your support and belief that I can do it. He told me to go that first semester and he would push me all the way. Each morning, he put his arms around me and held me before I went on my way. At night, I held my little girl and dreamed my way through those years. I would not allow myself to think that I could fail. I would visualize myself as a teacher with my daughter and I having the same vacation, being with her every day. I knew I had missed much during the first four years of her life. I had no choice but to work and help support us. My incredible older daughter took up the slack and helped care for her little sister. She was fourteen-and-half years older. She was faithful to help and deserves applause for supporting us on our way to becoming who we are today.

The first semester I was on the Dean’s list. Though my family and I suffered hardships, we experienced the joy and excitement of a dream coming true. I enrolled in a music class and we were able to buy a piano. My young daughter would sit beside me when I practiced. She would listen as her daddy and I would play the old Bob Wills’ fiddle tunes like San Antonio Rose. While he played a wonderful country fiddle, we loved and lived as I had dreamed. In four years, I walked out of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree with an endorsement to teach Kindergarten.

My husband lived two more years and saw me teach almost a year before he went to be with the Lord. I taught over twenty years in elementary school. I completed many hours towards a Master’s Degree in elementary education.

Our Little Girl

My daughter had her struggles along the way but learned to dream also. She graduated from high school, got a Bachelor of Arts in piano pedagogy and a Master of Education in counseling. She also passed the state exams in special education, school counseling and Spanish. She worked four years as a teacher and became a school counselor. She is happily married and raising my two beautiful granddaughters.

Do dreams come true? Bet your life on it! Dare to dream. It can come true.

Marge Boyd Ellington

This is a true story as I have lived it. I am now 80 years old.

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