“I want to get better so you can go to law school”

I just finished my four-week jump start program for law school. It was exciting and fun. I looked forward to each and every day. I liked all the people. I even enjoyed taking tests. In the realm of law students however, I believe I am the proverbial village idiot. Every village needs one after all. Talking about grades is a no-no so let’s just say that out of ten students, I seriously doubt I am #1. We don’t even know two of our scores for another week, and I really don’t care what I got. I learned what I needed to learn from this program, and to me it was not making grades.

My main problem is shifting how I have learned during the last almost 58 years to a learning style so alien it’s no wonder there are so many jokes about lawyers. “What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?   A good start.” Okay……so that brings me back to the rule of C=DVM. It’s no different in law school. C=JD. My goal in vet school was not to get any Ds. Goal met. My other goal is to shoot a hole in one. Pending.

I did learn that you teach yourself the law. You learn the ‘black letter law,’ and with hypothetical examples given (hypos) you are given a test question with a fact pattern that you have learned from a different hypo, and apply the law to it. I get it. I can’t do it yet, but I get it. I had memory problems. In the past, memorization was my best thing when learning. It doesn’t serve one well to just memorize the law, but you do have to get some things down cold, word for word. I wonder if it was from lack of any cerebral activity since my retirement from teaching four years ago, the hip fracture drama six years ago with a year, more or less, on some of the most powerful narcotics on the planet, or the grief that is still very strong from Earl’s death 14 months ago, and maybe the fact that I had mercury toxicity. That in itself can nuke your brain. How many law school wannabes have had MRIs done? I’ve had 3, one with the, oh yeah, heavy metal IV dye for contrast.

Living here in West Texas has been lovely. The weather is gorgeous, as is the countryside. No mountains, so I am disoriented with regard to direction because there are no mountains on the west, but it is very pretty here. I love my new home, one totally mine that I chose, bought and fixed up for myself and the cats with the mindset that I was ‘flipping’ it to sell when I get a horse property wherever I end up. No more being a ‘renter’ to a family who told me the instant Earl died that I lived free for 27 years, after I went into my marriage with a house of my own, paid for even. My neighbors are kind, the neighborhood is safe, and we look out for each other. I think this climate plus the lack of toxins in my previous home have made me feel better physically. I’m no longer allergic to anything but mesquite, and no longer require allergy shots. I do think the old house and my JHS classroom were toxic.

I’ve taken a few road trips to see parts of Texas. I went to San Antonio for a vet conference antiquing my way down in the little towns along the way. I found an Eastlake table with a marble top. I am fond of Eastlake furniture. When I came back, I had a stunning new marble top made for it. During the coming week before orientation begins, I will drive around the area looking at towns like Idalou and Floydada-gotta love those names! I was going to go to Tucson to ride Scoot and the Baby, but the weather there is monsoon season. My sister told me how to simulate it: Put some wet towels into the dryer. Turn on. Wait. Turn off the dryer and stick your head in.

I am staying here and going to the Hispanic Law Association’s Boot Camp. It’s supposed to be wonderful. I also have some things yet to get in order, like the evil Intent to Practice Law in Texas. I don’t know if I’m going to practice in Texas, but I will take the bar. Last summer, I was getting together a packet for my Texas vet license. Same hoops. I asked the Dean of Students if I could just transfer some materials over. Of course not-the departments don’t communicate. Duh, that would be too easy.

I had some 3 meltdowns during the four weeks of class; not due to stress but frustration of not knowing how to do something. Luckily, it clicked for me the Thursday of the third week, and I was able to do some work. The ‘grief monster’ that triggers the meltdowns is always paralyzing, but when it passes, I can get some serious work done. It doesn’t take much to set off the monster, and at least it only happens at home. The last week, I didn’t have the monster visit, but my computer was doing some weird gymnastics when I had a memo due at 10pm. I took a pillow, so as not to scare the boys, and screamed into it. Then I got back to work, sending my memo in with two hours to spare.

I think about Earl all the time. He was so ill from April to his death in June last year. In his misery he told me, “I want to get better so you can go to law school.” I tried three times to get in. I even was wait listed one year at Wyoming, my first choice, only to be rejected at the speed of light the next cycle. The first time I applied to my school I was admitted via the summer program. Earl was so very ill I had to defer. I was committed to taking care of him to the point that I would forego school entirely, because had he recovered, he couldn’t have his wife in another state.

While I have the angst everyone has about starting law school, I have had four exciting weeks that gave me a taste of what it will be like. I uprooted my entire life, shipped my beloved horses to Margo, and became a Texan (Coloradans supposedly don’t like Texans.) I’m going to give it the “old college try.” If the law school says I’m too stupid, I’ll go quietly (by the way, all the deans and staff I’ve talked to say the same thing, “hang in there”) If it’s not my cup of tea, it’s no shame to browse on. I am, after all, retired with an income, and  an active veterinarian in two states. I am committed to learning some very interesting material that will apply to my other careers, teaching and vet med. I owe it all to Earl, who always gave me confidence and who did get better so I could go to law school. He died. G-d bless my best friend and life partner. I know he is riding Marcie with Keli and Tipper running alongside. I will always love you, Dear. I hope to make you proud.

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