When I was a junior in Montgomery Blair High School, my teacher, Mrs. F., asked us if we thought America lived up to its promises by having so much of a struggle over integrating the schools. (Remember this was 1961.) I raised my hand and said, "That’s the kind of question a Communist would ask."
Little did I know that Mrs. F. had been a card-carrying Communist and had lost several jobs over it. I was just trying to have a conversation.
Mrs. F. sent me to the Vice-Principal’s office and then blackballed me for the Junior Honor Society. My mother raised hell about it and sped the day when Mrs. F. was sent packing.
Now, fate being what fate is, Mrs. F. probably kept me from getting into Harvard.
I went to Columbia instead and had a fabulous time there, especially with my girlfriend, Mary, and my frat house, Alpha Delta Phi.
I also had the best teachers anyone could ask for, especially C. Lowell Harriss, genius economist, and Milton Friedman, mega-genius who was there on a sabbatical.
That’s not my point. My point is that my mother (and it’s Mother’s Day) knew I would be lonely and homesick and sent me a letter every single day I was at Columbia. That’s devotion. Every day.
When I graduated from law school, I was the graduation speaker and gave a highly inflammatory speech about how Yale had failed us.
In retrospect, I see I was wrong.
Yale treated us like kings and queens.
My mother went up to the dean, Mr. Pollak, after the ceremony, and said, "Don’t mind anything Benjy says. He’s a born trouble maker."
She was totally right.
That’s devotion of another kind.
To read Ben Stein's full article, please visit The American Spectator.
Ben Stein is a writer, an actor, and a lawyer who served as a speechwriter in the Nixon administration as the Watergate scandal unfolded. He began his unlikely road to stardom when director John Hughes as the numbingly dull economics teacher in the urban comedy, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Read more more reports from Ben Stein — Click Here Now.
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