Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Ann Cannon: Mom proves age doesn’t have to hold you back

By Ann Cannon

| Tribune Columnist

First Published May 06 2014 08:38 am • Last Updated May 07 2014 04:13 pm

My mother left college after her freshman year.


Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Because when she tried out for the Sponsor Corps at Utah State, one of the judges, a sophomore boy, liked the way she could twirl a rifle. Also, he was smitten with her snappy salute. So he asked her out, and even though my mother mistakenly introduced him as LaDell Andersen (not his actual name) to everyone they met that night, those two Aggies hit it off and were married the following summer. She was 19. He was 20.


They were so young, in fact, that when they applied for a marriage license at the county clerk’s office, my father was told he had to get his mother’s permission. But since his mother wasn’t around, whereas my mother’s mother was, my mother’s mother pretended to be my father’s mother and my mother (apparently) pretended to be an orphan.

But that’s another story.

The point is this: My mother left school after her freshman year — and then spent the next four decades regretting her decision. So when she was 60 — 60! — she went back to school. And eventually she graduated. When she walked across the stage to pick up her diploma, my brothers, our families and I turned into those people. We tossed decorum out the window and cheered wildly for her because girl deserved some very serious noise.

I was proud of her then, of course. Really and truly proud. But now that I’m getting closer to the age she was when she went back to school, I’m flat-out in awe of her achievement. Here’s the thing. At this age, I frankly don’t have the energy I used to. For the first time in my life, naps seem like a good idea. MEMO TO THE GUY WHO INVENTED NAPS: Thank you. I love you. I love you so much I want to marry you.

Also (and I hate to admit this) I often suffer from an Enthusiasm Deficiency. Too often when I’m presented with the opportunity to do something these days, my reaction is all "been there, done that." Even if I haven’t actually been there. Or done that.

But somehow my mother found the energy and the enthusiasm to give college the old college try one more time.

story continues below
story continues below

What finally made her go back? I asked her this the other day. She thought about my question for a minute and then told me she didn’t want to have any regrets. She didn’t want to make excuses for herself or blame circumstances for standing in the way of something she’d always wanted to do.

What was the hardest part about going back?

"I worried I’d be intimidated by all those young kids and everything," she said. "But I wasn’t. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Because of my age, I didn’t have to worry about the things other students have to — keeping scholarships, finding a job after graduating. I could just relax and learn."

And learn she did. She took history classes. Humanities classes. Science and math classes. Even a stats class. Every single scrap of information she acquired was sweet to her. Meanwhile I learned this from her: Age doesn’t have to hold you back. Not always. And that information has become sweet to me.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.