The Plan was to get my new husband through a year and a half of undergraduate school at UCLA, four years of medical school, two years of internship, and two years of residency. That was all right. I had just turned 22, so I’d be a little over 32 when I could stop being the breadwinner and begin a family. I didn’t care where this adventure took us. As a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, I was sure I could get a job anywhere.
Then Pete applied to the California College of Medicine, which began life as the Pacific College of Osteopathy in 1896. His reasoning was that a third-tier medical school would be sure to accept him. It didn’t. I don’t remember the rejection letter, but it must have mentioned the fact that his undergraduate major was English literature and his grades in physics and physical chemistry were abysmal.
I think I was more upset than he was. After all, The Plan now seemed to be in smoking ruins. What were we going to do? What was Plan B?
With characteristic bravado, he wiped the frown from his face, smiled as he crumpled the letter and threw it on the floor, and said, “Well, that means we’ll have to sail around the world.”
“What?!” I was used to Pete’s non sequiturs, but this was more than I could follow.
“Yeah!” he exclaimed with growing excitement. “Now we’re free. We can do anything we want to do.”
I could feel the weight drop from him, as if he’d just shed 50 pounds. He had been carrying his father’s admonition, “You will become a doctor; I am a surgeon; my father was a doctor; you will become a doctor,” around his neck for more than 20 years.
In my mind I could hear him exult, “Dad, I couldn’t get in to medical school. I’ll have to do something else with my life.”
“But…” I said, still speechless.
Plan B sounded more exciting than anything I could come up with, and way more exciting than slogging through nearly 10 more years of school and job prep. Despite hearing my parents’ voices in my head saying, “But wait a minute. What about buying a house? What about having children?” I answered them silently, “This is my chance for fun and excitement. This is my chance for a Great Adventure.”
And so the preparation began. Little did I realize the magical and life-threatening experiences awaiting me. Curious? I tell it all in my memoir, How the Winds Laughed, released by Fuze Publishing. (www.fuzepublishing.com)